On Monday 10th January a few of us gathered at Foxy’s Deli to talk about plans for the plot at West House. Here’s what we decided our focus for this growing season will be.
Our lovely Terry, who’s been taking care of watering the beds up until now, is off to pastures new at Easter, we’ll miss him! He’s contributed so much to our project and taught us so much about lettuce, no dig and compost. Thank you Terry. We wish you well in your new garden.
We will need to bring together a group of ‘watering friends’, people who live close by who can pop in to water once a week and cover holidays. We will need around 8 or 9 people on a rota to make this happen. If you are able to help, do get in touch.
Accessing raised beds
We have trouble with accessing the crops in the centre of the raised beds, because of their size. We talked about options, and seems the best thing to do is grow a row of short crops, red clover or creeping thyme for instance, across the centre of the beds. Then we can lay the scaffold plank across when it’s time to tend and harvest.
The fruit trees (apples and pears) along the wall at the back of the site need to be espaliered. We have arranged an open session for this on 29th January. All welcome. See the event on Facebook for more info.
Composting is such a vital component for us as it gives us good organic matter to add as a mulch to the raised beds and wild bed. We are continuing our soil building efforts here. The soil is very light and sandy. There are a few patches of dandelions around the site that we will harvest regularly to add to the compost. Dandelions are a mineral accumulator – they have a very long tap root that reaches deep into the ground and brings essential minerals up into their leaves. When we compost them, it makes those nutrients available for other plants in the form of a mulch.
We have lots of seeds, so we are looking forward to sowing a good range of annual and perennial veg to grow in the beds. Plus flowers and other edibles for the wild bed area. We want to focus on companion planting to create natural pest and disease resistance. For example planting onions next to the carrot to deter carrot root fly, and nasturtiums by the broad beans to distract the black fly. We’ve got some interesting perennials to try this year too, salsify, scorzonera, burdock.
Wild bed pathway
We’d like to create a winding pathway through the wild bed, so we can access the plants to tend and harvest. We’ve got some ideas about materials to use, but we will likely see what’s available for free from things people are giving away, or that we find, when we are ready to do it.
Open sessions will resume from Monday 14th February, 10 -12. We will make a start on seed sowing.
Seed & Plant Exchange
We will install a permanent exchange box at West House this year. More on this soon.
Open to All
We want to encourage more people to come into the garden to enjoy it and benefit from the share of the crop. We will paint a note on the sign saying ‘Open To All’ and use our social media to draw attention to the garden. As well as having more events and workshops there this year.
Greenhouse and planters
The greenhouse is in need of a bit of a refurb. When the weather gets warmer we will give it a coat of paint, in bright colours to match the green and purple planters. We will also add a gutter to the roof to collect the rainwater into the water butt. The planters also need some TLC – let’s see what we find available when we come to it.
We’d like to host more plant sales this season. If you think you’ve got space to put on some plants to donate to support our project, get in touch.
Thank you all for your ongoing support with tending this beautiful garden in the heart of our town. Here’s to the 2022 growing season and all the time together and lovely food to share it brings!