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County Carlow, located in the southeast of Ireland, combines the dual attractions of a beautiful natural environment with a thriving contemporary culture. The county seat of Carlow is an architecture lover’s paradise, while the traditional villages nestled close to the Blackstairs or Wicklow Mountains are charming locations for relaxing day trips or a quiet stay. County Carlow is within easy reach of Dublin airport by bus, train, or car.

Carlow Town

A visit to the town of Carlow is a must for any tourist coming to this beautiful county. The Carlow Town Heritage Trail winds through the streets, allowing tourists to take in the historical sites on their own self-guided walking tour. In the evening, the city comes to life, with live music and a thriving pub culture. Carlow is home to the award-winning bar Dinn Ri, where revellers can eat and drink in a leafy terraced garden or enjoy live entertainment in the split level Tower Live venue.

Carlow Garden Trail

If you are visiting Carlow in the spring or summer, then the Carlow Garden Trail is one of the county’s top attractions. Travelling around the county to visit beautifully cultivated young gardens, lovingly restored estates, and natural forest parks will give you a glimpse into the thriving horticultural heritage and natural landscape of Country Carlow.

Carlow County Museum

To understand the history and culture of Carlow, a visit to Carlow County Museum is highly recommended. Here adults and children can learn about famous residents of this beautiful county, including John Tyndall, whose study of atmospheric physics paved the way for our modern understanding of the greenhouse effect that threatens all life on Earth. Delve further back into Ireland’s history and discover an archaeological treasure trove with relics dating back to the stone age.

Waterways of County Carlow

One of the best ways to see the green and pleasant county of Carlow is to travel along the waterways. Barge holidays are popular in Ireland, thanks to the unspoilt beauty of the landscape and the country’s network of canals. Newcomers to the water will enjoy a sedate cruise along the Grand Canal, which runs through County Carlow, connecting the great River Shannon to Dublin and the Irish Sea. A more adventurous journey can be had on the lively waters of the River Barrow, which snakes through the lush Barrow Valley, passing many welcoming local country pubs on the way. These uncrowded waters are a haven for wildlife, particularly waterfowl, and provide ample opportunities for trout and salmon fishing.

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The No-Till Farm: Too Good to Be True?

When it comes to gardening or even small-scale farming, it’s hard to imagine that we can actually grow more by doing less. But, when we work in alignment with the principles of Mother Nature, she gladly rewards our dedicated efforts. And, that’s what no-till practices are all about!

“No-Till” describes an age-old agricultural practice that leaves the tractor behind. Conventional farming methods often rely on a plow-based approach to prepare beds for planting, disturbing the beneficial microorganisms deep within the soil and leaving the topsoil susceptible to erosion, threatening the sustainability of our lands. On the other hand, no-till farms count on a few basic, minimally-invasive hand tools, and the natural processes of decomposition to provide long-lasting benefits to the land (and, your pockets!) for decades to come. So, how exactly does no-till work and why should you integrate this practice into your own garden or farm?

Better Soil, Better Everything!

All good farmers know that the basis for a bountiful harvest rests in healthy soil, high in organic matter and nutrients. Using plow-based methods to turn over beds aerates, or oxygenates, the soil, leading to the overproduction of certain bacteria in the soil microbiota, disrupting the natural balance of the soil ecosystem. This disruption leads to heightened destruction of organic matter and the release of carbon in the soil overtime. Through the no-till process, crop residue following a harvest remains on the surface of the soil, providing a necessary food source for worms, fungi, and other beneficial insects to properly restore organic material to the soil. Thus, the higher the organic matter, the higher the crop yields with fewer soil amendments! Who can deny more nutritious vegetables for you, your family, and your community?!

While You’re At It, Save the Planet

As farmers rebuild the soil with no-till, today’s farmers are also thinking ahead. A result of no-till is the accumulation of crop residue protecting topsoil from the leading cause of agricultural degradation and desertification today, wind and water erosion. No-till also acts as method for water conservation as the increased organic matter holds moisture in the soil for longer periods, preventing water evaporation and reducing your time (and, money!) spent watering.

Need Even More Convincing?

No-till farming practices are becoming increasingly popular amongst small, organic market gardeners not just for its sustainability but also for its ability to drive market profits and lessen labor costs. Of course nutrient-dense soil allows for intensive crop spacing and high-yields, maximizing what you bring to the market. But, what about the endless hours spent weeding your freshly planted beds? Once no-till is in place, most farmers see a dramatic decrease in time spent in weed removal (time that most farmers just don’t have!) as weed seed is no longer resurfacing with plowing methods.

So, although no-till may seem too good to be true, what have you got to lose? Give no-till a try in your own garden or farm, and start saving your soil, your time, and your planet, too!

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