Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Quick Update

Just a quick update on the May Project Gardens. The kitchen garden is doing very well, the majority of the salad crops and herbs have started to show their shoot leaves. We've got about six different varieties of lettuces and salad leaves, some chives, basil, rocket and parsley growing in this space scattered among each other. The weather has been nice to us, not too hot or dry for too long during the day and not too cold and windy at night.

    New shoots, salads and herbs

Also in the kitchen garden we have some spinach growing and they too have just started forcing up leaves.

Baby Spinach

Plants in the main crop garden which are now visible are broad bean and garlic. A few onions have started showing their tips but it's still very difficult to see from a distance.

Broad bean and Garlic

Under the polytunnel, though there is not much going on in the ground, plants-wise, there is a number of young-lings growing up in the mini green houses. Soon most of these will be planted on, plants such as tomatoes, aubergines, peppers, melons, onions, and more will share the polytunnels' beds as their home for the summer.

   The Nursery

The forest garden too is doing well. Two of the trees have started showing leaves, apple and pear, and the others have got new buds on them. The bushes have also started producing new growth.

It's Aliveeee....

Last but not least, the wildlife garden. This has the makings of something great. The pond is alive with both plants and other organisms we are just about to introduce some very small cold water fish. We have yet to complete planting up the banks.

 A wildlife haven

That's the updates so far. I will be heading down to Brighton and Essex next weekend and will hopefully be able to find and collect some wild pond plants and creatures to bring back. See you soon and enjoy the rest of spring 2011.

Thursday, 17 March 2011


The fruit tress and bushes are all finally in, it's been just over a week since we planted them and they are holding up pretty well. The mini food forest is quickly taking shape and it's now all down to being patient and waiting for the trees and bushes to begin bearing fruit. So exciting, the forest garden space is based on a low maintenance design and will be jammed packed with perennial food plants. A forest garden is designed to incorporate layers, we have just planted the canopy layer, which constitutes the large fruit trees, and the shrub layer, which consist of fruit bushes. Once these are well established we will be adding the climbing layer and ground cover layer.  
The newly planted food forest

Shrub level, fruit bushes

I know it doesn't look like much now but check back in a couple of years and we'll be overwhelmed by both fruits and vegetables.
The kitchen garden has also been planted up this week. This space is home to most of the salad plants like lettuce, spinach, rockets, and also cooking herbs. This space is the closest bed to the house and this is so we will be able to keep an eye in the more delicate plants and also to make it easy and convenient to harvest regularly used crops like cut and come again salad leaves. 
The kitchen garden site

Our little perennial herb garden

The main crop garden is slowly being planted up to capacity. We have had to add another bed to allow for more main crops. At the moment we have planted broad beans, garlics, onions, carrots and potatoes in their final positions and have alot more crops brewing in the green houses.
Partially planted bed (L-R; broad beans, potatoes, garlics)

New bed extension (onions and carrots at far end)

We were graced with the presence of our youngest volunteer this week. A very keen individual who took a real liking to the art of gardening. No such thing as too young to garden.
The next generation of gardeners

The wild life garden is also beginning to take shape. We managed to acquire some pond plants and they have taken well to their new home. We have also had more guests checking into our insect hotel. We have not seen any frogs, toads, or newts yet but we are hopeful, it's still early days and we have built a small rockery and log pile to try and encourage these creatures to the space, time will tell. The area around the pond has been fenced off in the spirit of health and safety. 
  The ever changing wildlife garden space

We have got a lot of seeds propagating inside the mini green houses under our polytunnel. We have got tomatoes, sweet and chilli peppers, melons, onions, and aubergines. Most are just beginning to break the surface and will soon be ready for transferring to their final growing positions.
Propagation taking place inside the polytunnel 

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Fruits and more

Hello all, just wanted to give a little update on what's going on at the May Project Gardens site. Spring is finally here. It may not feel like it to us but the plants flowers can tell and most of them have started springing back to life. We have been holding open work days at the site but they have been very poorly attended, hopefully when the weather warms up we will have a lot more people interested in the work we are doing here. A bit of good news, we have been accepted to participate in the open garden squares weekend being held in June we are very excited about that. So now we have stepped up a gear to try and have the garden ready for any visitors that might grace us with their presence. We are also in the process of designing a logo for the project (top right) let us know what you think. It is to represent unity, strength, and love for nature.  
On site we had our fruit trees and bushes arrived a few days ago and will be planting them very soon. We have got black currents, red currents and white currents for fruit bushes and we also managed to get a native green alder which is a nitrogen fixer, that simply means that it adds nitrogen to the soil as it grows.
Fruit Bushes and Green Alder

We also got some standard sized fruit trees, apple, pear, cherry, and plums. We can't wait to plant them. It will be so nice to have some larger trees in the garden later on down the line. When we received the plants both bushes and trees we were advised to leave them sitting in a large bucket of water for a few days before planting this I think is to help the roots get a feel for growing again after the stress of being ripped out of the ground.
Fruit Trees soaking in water 

One other thing we did this week was to plant out some garlic and the first set of broad beans, we also planted some potatoes. When we conducted our site survey we observed that very string winds were coming into the site from the south-west. The forest garden site would be left exposed to these sometimes very strong winds and we did not want out trees to suffer being blown over or rocked out of place so we got in some reed panels and made a temporary wind break.
  Wind Break protecting the forest garden site

Well that's all the news I have for you at the moment. This week we should be planting all the fruits so I will post the process on carrying out that activity. Thanks to all those who have commented and shown interest in the blog and project as a whole and please continue to spread the word, and do come down for a visit if and when you are capable.