GIY- Greenhouse for Fairhill Lodge, Dungloe, Co Donegal

The residents of Fairhill Lodge have had a community growing initiative for the past two years which has been very successful.  However one of the initial problems encountered was the lack of early cultivation of some plant and vegetable seedlings.

When the Respond Waterford-based allotment programme aired on RTE ‘Nationwide’ it inspired Respond residents in Dungloe to explore alternative methods of cultivation and to investigate new initiatives available to them.

A group of Respond residents from the Dungloe area with Respond Resident Support Workers organised a number of meetings and an agreed plan was discussed and adopted.  Residents decided, with the assistance of support workers, to apply through the Grow It Yourself (GIY) fund for a Greenhouse. Both residents and staff jointly agreed that a propagator (greenhouse) was the most suitable to their need as a poly tunnel would be a huge amount of work and monitoring and general upkeep is painstaking.  Having been successfully awarded and receiving the grant residents and staff set about sourcing (Birr Co Offaly), ordering (Carriage from England), purchasing (via postal order) and erecting (which took 2 days) a 10ft x 6ft Greenhouse.  We are very grateful to both GIY and Birr Co Offaly for their assistance and generosity.

The greenhouse was placed beside an existing wall for shelter and safety. The greenhouse itself has toughened glass and strong aluminium / steel base and finishing, 4 roof vents, sliding door entrance and extra head space.

When installation was complete, the residents set about building free-standing shelves, with the guidance of Respond staff, who assisted in sourcing materials and costing for other aspects of this new growing initiative. Raised growing-bed frames, topsoil and reorganising space were needed, ordered, worked-on, by willing participants, and installed.

Now cultivation is happening.  It’s at an early stage yet, with training course and presentations from professionals currently being organised to ensure the green house is utilised to its fullest capacity all year round. Already new fruit and flower varieties are being sown and grown, which without the greenhouse could not have happened in early Spring. Well done to all involved.

Posted by Alan Mc Menamin, Respond Resident Support Worker – April 2014