Sustainable Farmer/Surfer

Editor’s Note: These pieces are intended to offer a deeper look into each episode of surfer Fergal Smith‘s Line9 series, Growing, a new clip published every two weeks. The series is a year in the life of Smith and his brother. With a new clip published every two weeks, the series follows them as they take a step back from the rat race while spending days tending to a sustainable garden and surfing the readily available Irish slab.

Author’s Note: My main reason for doing this series is for showing the what else I’m passionate about — aside from surfing — and to try to promote all the good, positive things that people are doing. 

This clip is a big one for me. It may not look too exciting especially from a surfing point of view, but this is what I have been doing all year. We started in the field back in January. The very kind business man Antoin O’Looney said we could use 14-year-old raised beds beside his hotel called Moy House. That seemed like a manageable task, but then he also offered us an acre field right next to the raised beds and that is when things started getting busy. With the help from our three amazing pigs, great friends, and a whole bunch of people from the community, we somehow managed to make it a reality.

It may not look like too much, but for the first year I am very proud of what we managed to achieve. It really shows what a bit of hard work can do. We have feed a lot of people this summer. We had three harvests a week (Monday, Wed, Friday) when people came to the community garden to pick up there vegetables and leave donations, donations which all goes back into the garden to buy tools, building materials, etc. to keep this garden rocking. We had a weekly cookout every Friday evening throughout the summer, and it has been great fun cooking up the food we have all helped grow and sit down together and enjoying it.

With it being only the first year many of us are spending our day-to-day in the field, we didn’t know what to expect with the soil, or how certain crops would grow. It’s been a massive learning year. Until now, I never fully got that nature is our best teacher, but after this year I truly believe it. If you are on the ground everyday and patiently watch how nature responds to this and that, you will be told everything you need to know. I already have lots of ideas for next year and things we can improve on. The main one for our garden is we are low in potassium and guess where we get lots of that from seaweed! So we will be collecting lots from now on and leaving it break down over the winter.

One of the main goals — along with it being a working garden — is to make it a place people can come and learn how to grow their own food. We want to grow lots of food, of course, but more importantly I want others to share in what we are learning. We have lots of plans on how to involve people but if anyone wants to please do get in touch. We are going to be working on sorting accommodation over the winter so we can hopefully house at least 6 people next year. If anyone would like to get involved you can contact the Moy Hill Community Garden Facebook page. It’s so exciting to see what we got done in one year and I can’t wait to see what the next year will bring. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped make the garden a reality. Here’s to a bright vegetable future…

Now the summer is over, and we have enough food to last us through the long nights, it’s time to start surfing more again. It’s such and natural cycle of gardening in the down time of waves and now the garden is going to sleep the waves are arriving at our doorstep again. There has been some great little swells already and it feels all the better this winter after working hard in the garden you feel like you really have earned those nice waves.

Enjoy the winter everyone!



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