Growing Wild

With Dr Catherine Keena

Teagasc Countryside Management Specialist

Look out for common knapweed – one of our later flowering plants. Many of the deep purple compact flowerheads have turned into the black seedheads which remain on their hard branched stems and last throughout winter, while occasional flowerheads stand out at this time of year. Because of the black seedheads it is also known as black knapweed or blackheads.

With many insects using the seedheads and others feeding on its leaves and stems, knapweed may be supporting over 50 invertebrates in a complex foodweb, with many of the gall flies, gall midges and small moths feeding on knapweed in turn being preyed on by predatory flies. Common knapweed is part of our native Irish biodiversity.

Letter to the editor

Hello Janine,

Reading your editorial and the article on Katie Gleeson in Irish Country Living on 23 September brought me back to my early days on our farm.

I too did not come from a farming background. I did however, grow up in a very rural Ireland.

I worked in an office. Liked to dress up and would never have worn Wellington boots.

Then I met a farmer and four years later we got married.

I would lie if I said I fell in love with the farming way of life straight away. But over a couple of years it grew on me.

There was and is the two of us to do the work. It has always been our source of income. My husband has always been a hard worker. So alongside him I stumbled my way through the first few years.

There is no teaching I believe, can compare to hands-on learning and that is what I got. The good and the bad days that are a part of every farm.

And then I discovered I liked, maybe even loved this way of life.

Some years ago I became involved in IFA. It has given me a great insight into farming and there is nothing better than sharing our experiences of our day-to-day work.

I, like Katie Gleeson, will be making my way to the ‘Women & Agriculture Conference’ as I have for a number of years. I have met some wonderful women there, all with a story to tell.

Looking forward to meeting old friends and new and all the wonderful Irish Country Living team on 25 October at the Lyrath Estate Kilkenny.

Regards, Marian Dalton

Number of the week: 5
The number of wedding invitations Katherine O’Leary received this year.

Picture of the week

Ten-year-old Maccey loves to help around the farm. She has 35 young calves, which she named

herself, and wants to be a vet when she grows up. The picture was from her book day in school where she dressed up as Fern Arable from Charlotte’s Web. \ submitted by John Hegarty. Co Donegal

Quote of the week

Regardless of what Johann Strauss had to say on the subject, the Danube was a dull olive green colour, but I felt a quiet thrill in the knowledge that we were cruising down one of the great rivers of Europe.” Living Life Travel - Liam Clancy

Online Pick of the Week

The Merry Mill, who graced the cover of Irish Country Living just a few weeks ago, won Best Organic Food Processing Small and Medium Sized Enterprise at the EU Organic Awards on 25 September.

Kevin Scully of The Merry Mill.

Consumer Tip

Do you know what LTV means in the mortgage world? It means Loan to Value Ratio and it shows how much you owe on your mortgage relative to how much your land is worth.

According to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), increasing property prices can have a positive effect on those looking to switch mortgage providers because over the years you have been paying your current mortgage rate, the value of your home could have increased which would in effect lower your mortgage interest rate.

It’s a good idea to check out different mortgage providers to see if it’s worth the switch. You can find plenty of mortgage advice on