COMMUNITY GARDENER TRUSTEES’ REPORT MARCH – early MAY 2018 by Cat Stevens Community Gardener.
There has been a lot of tidying around site in recent months with better use of the open sheds.
The massive brush wood pile besides the education shed in now processed in to bags and half has been chipped and put on paths around the site.
Soil, leaf litter and bags of clay have been removed from against the UGH walls to expose the brickwork.
The decking in the lower garden is almost complete and hopefully due to be ready for the May Fete on Saturday 12th May.
New irrigation systems are up and running in the lower four crop and are nearing completion in the upper four crop.
Better Fridays (therapeutic horticulture group) group has got off to a good start with the result that Fridays are now busy days in the garden.
THE GARDEN AREA BY AREA.
Propagation is going well.
Under glass we are sowing a range of vegetables including chillis, tomatoes, herbs, beans, squashes, courgettes marrows, melons. Also a range of ornamentals, many for sales purposes. All are growing well and we keep on running out of propagation space in the UGH!
Plants are selling well. For example last Sunday, 6th May we sold £80 worth of plants front of house.
At the centre of the seating circle we have created a woven willow spiral that has been planted up with herbs for making teas.
A group of young people were the main creators of this woven structure.
Perennial veg bed.
Rhubarb is being regularly harvested and frequently cooked by the Better Fridays group and used as an ingredient in their shared meals.
Oca tubers have been planted at the front of the bed.
Asparagus is now emerging and ready for harvesting. These are 3 year old plants now well enough established to be cropped.
The leaky hose irrigation is still to be aded to this bed.
UPPER FOUR CROP
Leaky hose are laid in four of the deep beds. Still to complete the manifolds and connect to water supply, due to be done in the next week or two.
Roots bed has onions developing well.
Legumes bed, the peas are sown.
Shallower beds are sown with spinach and chard. Seedlings developing well.
This area is looking very attractive and on sunny days is all a buzz with pollinating bees going about their business amongst the woodland flowers. The shade plants are getting well established, an unusual range of snowdrops, wood anemones, pulmonarias, english bluebells, foxgloves, and variegated arum lilies. All are doing well at attracting pollinating insets.
The sort fruit bushes are setting fruit, gooseberries and currents, and the ‘fruit wall’ of logan berries and raspberries that are trained along the perimeter fence are growing well.
The bug hotel has hand a new roof put on. The old one was falling apart. The new roof has been planted up with succulents.
The sign about the meadow has been repainted in bright colours by the Better Fridays group. (We have some talented calligraphers in this group.) Meadow plants are now emerging and growing fast.
POND AND NEIGHBOURING BOG GARDEN AREA
The bog garden has been weeded and a fence put around to protect the area from being used as a short cut to the pond. Attractive spring flowers have emerged.
Work on competing the staging by the pond is into its final stage. The concrete base almost complete.
We are planning to have a raised bed aquatic planter for insectivorous plants situated at the end of the decking. One oft told metal bath tubs onsite will provide the container for this.
Work on weeding and clearing the paths around the periphery completed. Over half the beds have now been carefully weeded. Gravel added to front bed to give an attractive finish. We will work our way across all the beds adding gravel to make it look more attractive, increase the drainage of the soil and make the area easier to weed.
The box hedging (Buxus sempervirens) has been careful dug up from the lower stock bed (which has not been transformed into an ornamental bed.)
We plan to use the box bushes in the herb garden to make an ornamental knot design this summer.
Verenna is working on the design with Cat.
The strawberry area beside apricot tree is looking good.
The sensory bed is due to be planted up with scented sweet peas up the willow supports at the back of the bed.
The iron barrel in corner of the herb garden beside the dye bed has been cleaned out and fresh rainwater put in. This corner is starting to look more attractive. We hope later to be able to put a bench in this shady corner.
Wooden vertical supports for the coming year’s bottle gourd display are in place UGH, tidied and swept. Nicotiana tabacum and mourning glory plants have been planted inside the greenhouse to help attract moths to pollinate the gourds after in the season.
Wheelchair access cleared beside the back of the UGH. Large concrete slabs moved and stored beside the nissan hut.
Ornamental boarder opposite the decking area now planted up and coming along nicely. The plants are establishing and the whole area looks more attractive.
The hot boarder is also developing well.
The solar panel is in place, the new large planter installed and filled with soil.
Planting of melons due to take place soon.
Doug has given one talk on the workings and principles adhered to by the passive house. More talks so follow.
LOWER FOUR CROP BEDS
Leaky hose irrigation installed and working.
Legumes bed in the process of being planted up with broad beans, runners and french beans.
Roots bed sown with carrots, parsnips and beetroot.
Potatoes planted and brassica bed full. Last of spring cabbage being harvested.
Work on the decking area behind the cob oven almost complete. Final push this week to have it ready for Saturday May fete. Planters made for this area, but still to be filled and placed on the decking and panted up.
The botany workshops:- March 9 participants, willow weaving on Easter Sunday 4 participants, flowers on 29th April, 5 participants.
Green woodworking workshops.
A great deal of interest is being generated in relation to these.
The Gorgeous gourds workshop is progressing with preparing the LGH for planting bottle gourds later in the year.
The border workshop is working on border displays.
Better Friday group.
This is the new therapeutic horticulture group set up an run by Cat and Cathy.
Cathy and me originally asked if we could have a closed site for this group. This continues to be something that we both think would benefit the group. As it stands presently we keep on having to manage members of the public, sales, etc. In addition I have to set up garden activities for lead volunteers for the morning’s general gardening session and then again before I leave at 2pm for the afternoon session. This keeps on encroaching into the time I have with Cathy to plan the sessions each week and makes it difficult for me to stay focussed on gout members during the sessions because of the many other demands on my attention. I think the Better Fridays group much more focussed and potentially could develop into a larger group if we had a closed site until 12.30pm. Maybe this something to discuss at the next trustees meeting?
The group has seen good attendance and new members coming week after week. It has now been running for 7 weeks and we have around 12-14 regular members. Each week we get around 4 apologies from people who can’t make it on that particular day.
23rd March – 7 people
30th March – 5 people
6th April (Good Friday ) – 4 people and 5 apologies
13th April – 8 people and 3 apologies
20th April – 9 people
27th April – 9 people and 4 apologies
4th May – 10 people and 3 apologies
Fridays and Sundays are now probably our busiest volunteer days. I thin it is safe to say that the increased numbers of Fridays is directly to do with the Better Fridays group.
Our first plant sale at Hernhill Market for this year was very productive, with us taking about £200 in sales!