This morning 16+ volunteers of all ages descended on the garden (all fully masked by the way) and continued getting things under way. We planted 30 beautiful tomato plants kindly grown for us and donated by a couple of town youngsters – Elrik and Egan Armas – and a long row of onions went in as well. Pole bean seeds have been sown at the foot of the pole towers.
Irrigation is working also. Our next work party will be on Wednesday morning starting around 9am.
This morning some 25 members of the community of all ages came together at the garden to make a start on opening it for the summer 2021 season. Huge THANKS to everyone who appeared – with your contributions we got much further ahead than we expected. Thye tomato stakes are in place and the ground cover laid, weeds were removed from the edges and compost spread. A start was made to setting out the irrigation system.
The next work party will be on Wednesday from 9am when further work will be done on the irrigation and our climbing bean towers will be erected.
Mike from the Mac Farm came with his tractor this afternoon and tilled the garden. We don’t actually plough the land, that goes far too deep and brings up clay, but till the top few inches to give a good with for planting.
We also found that a sheet of “geotex”, the felted variety, on top of the stack from last fall had been used as the site for a cosy mouse nest over winter and in turn – as is commonly the case – a couple of gentle bumble bee queens had moved in and were converting it to their needs. The nest was gently moved and relocated leaving the bees a little confused but not at all aggressive. Rather a shame as bumble bees need all the help they can get but it’s early enough in the year for them to take up residence somewhere else.’
It looks like the gods are smiling and we will be able to open the garden on Saturday 15 May
First thing – we will be observing the basic covid health protocols.
Bring a mask to wear if you cannot avoid getting too close to other volunteers.
Try to observe the usual social distancing procedure we are all used to now.
Consider having hand sanitiser just in case.
Now to the gardening. The garden is planted in three rotating strips – tomatoes to the east, beans, aubergines, peppers and onions in the middle and assorted squash and courgettes on the west. We will be concentrating on the following:
Removing any weed roots that have escaped the earlier attempts to get them under control and the tilling.
Setting out the main irrigation hoses and sprinklers
Laying geotex sheets and strips for paths between planting rows and nailing them to the ground with anchor nails
Setting up the support poles for the tomatoes.
You should bring –
Basic tools for any weeding that has to be done
A heavy hammer (if possible) for fixing the geotex nails
Stout footwear and gardening gloves, sunhat etc
We will start work at 9am. Please park along Stafford. We will have a quick question and introduction session and then get down to work. We will finish round about noon or thereabouts though nobody is going to stop you working longer if you wish.
Anything we are unable to finish on Saturday morning we will try to complete on the following Wednesday – 9am start again. Planting will be done once the weather is warm enough and the seedlings stout enough.
One day this week the tractor from the campus farm will arrive to plough and till the land ready for us to move in next Saturday. But the creeping charley and the dandelions and their friends are invading already and it would good if as few of them as possible could be removed so there are few roots left after the ploughing to re-sprout and cause mischief.
PLEASE feel free to drop down and do some freelance lifting of weeds any time from today (Sunday) onwards. There are wheelbarrows in the north-west corner to help. Bring a spade or digging fork to make to job go fast.
Every little will help and as the ground is very soft the job should be easy. Thanks.
** Any changes to the schedule, need for additional jobs on other days etc will be published here and on our Facebook page. Major news items will also be distributed by email to those on our address list.
The 2019 season was a huge success with a 26% increase in the weight of produce over 2018 … which itself was a record.
We have written an illustrated summary of the seasn if you would like to know more – the summary also includes information abot the new Orchard at Fritz which we are now looking after. Click on the image/link below.
2018 proved to have been the best harvest since the garden started. Our backs certainly feel as if that is the case …
In particular the various cucurbitae (squash, cucumbers, courgettes) were increased by almost 90% despite the presence of various insect pests that we have not seen in previous years … and the squirrels found some of the ripening fruits. Beans were up by 55% … we had increased the number of rows planted this season and we also had a longer picking season than in earlier years as a result of the weather. Tomatoes, as usual, were our biggest crop.