Home Grown is a brand new 7-part series which celebrates the Irish Horticulture industry, presented by Kitty Scully and Colm O’Driscoll.
Kitty and Colm travel all over Ireland in search of stories that celebrate Irish Horticulture and growing in all its variety, from sports turf for the hallowed ground of Croke Park, to potatoes, carrots, trees and shrubs. What about ‘Growing in the dark’ - Ireland is a world leader in mushroom production, and innovation is key. There’s cut foliage growing for the high end floristry sector at home and abroad, fascinating stories of overcoming adversity and bringing new innovations to growing lettuce. Travel from meeting Irish Seed Savers who are saving Ireland’s heritage seeds to the world’s largest seed bank – Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway. Learn about the multi-faceted world of the humble potato and a surprising by product that’s being produced from the ugly ones not accepted for the supermarket shelves. Most of all meet the dedicated growers who bring fresh produce and ornamental plants to your homes.
As well as stories about the different growers and producers, and recognising the surge in interest in gardening, there are visits to inspirational gardens which are open to the public, as well as insights into the many uses of plants.
You’ll be surprised at how diverse, fascinating and surprising horticulture is.
Monday 7th November – 8:00pm
(1) Croke Park - Sportsturf
(2) James Costello – Irish Green Guys – Cut Foliage
(3) Leo Dunne Ltd. - Carrots
(4) Inspirational Garden: National Botanic Gardens Kilmacurragh
Monday 14th November – 8:00pm
In Episode 2 Colm visits a third-generation tomato grower to see the latest growing technology in action. Kitty heads to County Clare and the Irish Seed Savers Association to see how they preserve our heirloom and indigenous seeds. Annaveigh Plants in Tipperary is a tree nursery where young trees are planted and looked after for between 5 and 20 years before they are ready for sale. The inspirational garden this week is Ardán Gardens in Howth, Co Dublin, created from a scrubby hillside patch and now one of the country’s most admired gardens. Mushrooms are Ireland’s most important horticultural export, and Kitty travels to Monaghan to discover the science and innovation behind this success.
(1) Flynn Tomatoes
(2) Irish Seed Savers
(3) Annaveigh Plants
(4) Inspirational Garden: Ardán Gardens, Howth
(5) Monaghan (Mushrooms)
Monday 21st November – 8:00pm
Episode 3 sees Kitty visit Enrich.ie in Co. Meath to see how valuable compost is made from green waste products. Colm meets Apple grower David Llewellyn who also grows grapes on his farm in Lusk, from which he produces wine. Just down the road, in Rush, Kitty sees how technology is changing the way lettuce is grown by the McCann family at Morning Fresh Farm. Growing turf for lawns has become a big business and Colm travels to Summerhill Lawns in Co Meath, one of the country’s largest turfgrass growers to see how they grow, and mow, acres and acres of lawn.
(2) Luska Wine
(3) Morning Fresh Farms - Lettuce Grower
(4) Summerhill Lawns
Monday 28th November – 8:00pm
Episode 4 is dedicated to the potato. Potato farmers need ‘seed potatoes’ to grow their crop. Colm visits David Loughran who grows seed potatoes for potato farmers to grow on for the table. The presenters visit the World Potato Congress took place this year in at the RDS, Dublin, where they met some of the world experts in potatoes. What can you do with misshapen potatoes that are rejected by the supermarkets? A potato farmer in Wexford decided to find a way to utilise these and has created Jackford’s Gin.
The fascinating story of how Potatoes for chips have to be low in sugar as otherwise the chips turn brown when cooked as the sugar caramelises, and Irish consumers prefer pale, yellow chips. Traditionally, these potatoes came from the UK but this is changing as a group of Irish producers, packers and distributors collaborate in a project to supply home grown potatoes to Irish chip shops. Finally, Colm heads to Muckross Traditional Farm in Killarney National Park to see how potatoes were grown in times past, and hears about another potato by-product, poteen.
(1) Seed Potatoes, David Loughran
(2) World Potato Congress
(3) Jackford’s Gin
(4) O’Shea Farms - Chipping Potatoes
(5) Lazy Beds: growing potatoes the traditional way
The Strawberry growing season in Ireland now extends to 9 months of the year, Colm visits grower Jimmy Kearns to hear more. Each year the Rare and Special Plant Fair is held in a different location and in 2022 it took place in Fota House and Gardens in Co Cork, where Kitty went to meet some of the nurserymen and women who grow these unusual plants. Colm studied at the Amenity College at the National Botanic Gardens and he revisits the college to see how horticulture is being taught to today’s students. Kitty meets apple grower Con Trass in Tipperary and is amazed to learn that more than 90% of the apples we eat in Ireland are imported. Tully Nurseries is one of the nurseries which supply the country’s garden centres and other retailers with plants, and Colm visits to meet two generations of the family at the glasshouses where the plants are grown.
(1) Jimmy Kearns – Strawberry grower
(2) The Rare & Special Plant Fair at Fota
(3) Teagasc College of Amenity Horticulture, Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin
(4) The Apple Farm, Con Trass - Apple Orchards –
(5) Tully Nurseries
In Episode 6 Colm meets Broadcaster Darragh McCullough who is well-known to viewers as a co-presenter of Ear to the Ground, but he’s also one of the country’s largest daffodil growers. Kitty visits Bord Bia Bloom, the largest food, drink & horticulture festival in Ireland, to see what’s on offer to the newest generation of garden enthusiasts. Colm heads west to Galway to meet an organic farmer whose ambition 20 years ago was to turn Ireland fully organic. Although the target hasn’t been met, he’s still optimistic, and still growing organic vegetables commercially. Kitty used to be the Head Gardener at the Airfield Estate (a job also held until recently by Colm) and she returns there to tell us about the legacy left by the Overend Sisters: Airfield is a charitable trust dedicated to education, and is Dublin city’s only working farm open to visitors.
(1) ElmGrove Farm, Daffodils – Darragh McCullough
(2) Bord Bia Bloom – featuring Mike Neary, Carol Marks, Fiann O’Nuailann & more.
(3) Beechlawn Organic Farm
(4) Airfield Estate & Gardens
For the final programme in the series, Kitty travelled to Clonakilty to meet Réidín Beattie who grows and dries her own plants and uses them to make skincare products. Colm headed to Wexford & Kilkenny to meet Pat Fitzgerald from Beotanics who has managed to grow wasabi in Ireland, a real achievement as it’s one of the hardest plants to grow. His high-tech company is creating the next generation of super nutrient foods.
And as it’s Christmas time on HOME GROWN we see Kitty to Wicklow, to visit Kavanagh Christmas tree farm and find out how they are grown while Colm chats to one of Ireland’s largest growers of Poinsettias to see how huge numbers of poinsettias are grown in glasshouses, timed to meet the seasonal demand.
The inspirational garden in this episode is the extraordinary and dramatic Kells Bay Gardens in Co Kerry, well-known for its sub-tropical tree ferns
(1) Réidín Beattie - skin care from plants
(2) Beotanics – Pat Fitzgerald
(3) Kavanagh Christmas Trees
(4) Uniplumo - Poinsettias
(5) Kells Bay Gardens, Billy Alexander – Inspirational Garden.
“Home Grown” is sponsored by Bord Bia and will be broadcast Monday nights at 8:00pm
RTÉ One from the 7th November 2022
‘Home Grown is produced by InProduction TV & Scéal Creative Ltd.
Notes on Ireland’s Horticulture Industry
Horticulture is the science and technology of plant cultivation.
The horticulture industry in Ireland encompasses both food production, and production of ornamental plants and trees. The horticulture industry is an important sector economically in Ireland, with an estimated 6,600 employed full time in primary production activity, and a further 11,000 employed in value added and downstream businesses such as wholesale, retail, distribution, landscape and garden design and construction as well as local authority and county councils and parks and landscaping services.
DAFM estimate that the Horticulture industry farmgate value in 2021 was worth €521m. This places the industry as the 4th largest sector in terms of gross agriculture commodity output value. Of the €521m total output, Edible Horticulture production represented €423m and Ornamental Horticulture €98m.
A wide range of crops are grown in Ireland, and are classified by the sector into various categories which includes Field Veg (cabbage, carrots, broccoli, swedes, cauliflower and parsnips), Potatoes, Protected Crops (Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Lettuce, Herbs, Strawberries), soft fruit (raspberries, blueberries), top fruit (Apples/Pears) and Mushrooms. The market for these products include supermarkets, local shops, farmer's markets, restaurants and direct sale via the farm shop.
Ornamental plants grown under protection include bedding, pot plants, while hardy nursery stock includes field grown and containerised trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials. The main sales channels for this sector are garden centres, DIY stores and landscaping via garden designers, landscape architects, Landscape contractors and public bodies such as local authorities and county councils.
Ireland has developed a solid reputation for the production of high quality Firs for both the domestic and Export Christmas Tree market. Production is mainly concentrated in counties Wexford, Carlow, Wicklow, Tipperary and Cork where soils and climate combine to produce high yields. It takes seven to ten years to produce a 2-metre-tall tree, and this means year round care for the life of the tree, including weed control and pruning and shaping by growers on their plantations to produce the best tree possible.
Cut foliage describes the decorative branches cut from Eucalyptus, Pittosporum and many other ornamental plants and forest trees for use in bouquets and other flower arrangements.
Fresh Produce Retail Market
The Retail Fresh Produce Market was worth €1.65bn for the 52 weeks to June 22nd 2022 with Vegetables accounting for €605m Fruit €811m and Potatoes €232m. The retail value of prepared Fruit and Vegetables combined was €137m.
Food Service Market 
The Fresh Produce Food Service Market was worth €307 million at wholesale prices in 2021, equating to a consumer value of €921m.
Amenity (ornamental) Retail Market
The Retail Amenity Market was worth €1.5 billion in the measure from January to December 2021, which represented an increase of 26% on the comparable figure from 2020, and the highest ever since the Celtic Tiger era. Outdoor & Flowering Plants €271m, Fresh Cut Flowers €132m, and Indoor Potted Plants €51m. Consumer spend on Landscaping Services saw an increase of 63% with a value of €268m.
Amenity (ornamental) Service Market (Landscaping/county council/local authority)
The commercial services market was measured at circa €250m at the last measure in 2018.
 DAFM 2021 Provisional Estimates
 Kantar Worldpanel - Data 12th June 2022
 Bord Bia 2021 Irish Foodservice Market Insights page 95
 Ipsos MRBI Value of the Garden Market Study for Bord Bia –2021