Friday, 13 July 2012

Rain, rain and more rain

Slug enjoying a strawberry
It's been very very wet this season. We've lost many crops due to the invasion of hundreds of snails and slugs. The case for ducks and/or chickens is growing. Being organic we would rather not use any form of chemical based pesticides. Despite the slugs and snails taking many of our crops we were still able to harvest quite a bit of produce. The berries are flourishing, and we harvested some of our first crop of potatoes and beetroot. We also have onions, garlics and chives and the apples are now staring to add a bit of colour to them. The sun has been making it's presence felt a bit more over the past few days and many of the crops are now showing their appreciation.
May Project Gardens Stall at NT's
Green Day Out
Tow major activities we had going on in the past weeks were the National Trusts' Green Day Out held at Morden Hall park where we were a participant with stalls displaying and advertising the goings on at May Project Gardens. It was wet but very exciting. Despite the wet weather peoples came out in support of their local community projects. We had a D.I.Y solar panel workshop on the go (weather put a stop that later on in the day), seedling transplanting sessions, Indian head massages, and a talk on mushrooms given by Kalindi Idy.
Kayleigh Doughty with her lovely
pen art work
Kalindi Idy talks about edible
and medicinal mushrooms
There was a fair bit of activities going on on the day with many local and regional projects attending to showcase their efforts to build and/or promote a green future. We had a lovely young lady doing a bit of live pen painting art. The resulting piece of art was later erected at the May Project Gardens site.The other major activity we had going on at the May Project Gardens was the laying of the foundation for our new communal space. We were generously donated some funds to complete the first stage of our communal space. We bought and laid some decking on gravel. This was done by our volunteers during one of out volunteer open days. We had lots of fun constructing the base and we were all happy with the results. 
Wooden decking foundation for
new communal space
The next stage would be sourcing some poles for the construction of the walls and roof. We also had our first Permaculture course delivered to our volunteers at the May Project Gardens site. It was a great success and judging from the feedback, everyone gained something as a result of the day. So all in all it has been a very busy and eventful few weeks. 
While all these activities were going on we had to keep on top of the gardening side of things. The rain fell and kept falling and falling and falling. we had a few thunder storms and the pond had regularly overflowing. The frogs are loving the wet weather as are the mature trees, but the soft fruits and most vegetables are struggling as a result of slugs and snails not giving them a chance to get going. Also the wet and humid atmosphere have been causing rot and diseases but luckily the straw we put down as mulch earlier this year has helped keep this to a minimum. We have finally been able to harvest some strawberries but due to the lack of sun they weren't as sweet as last years' harvest.
This year we have had some new additions to our soft fruits harvest. Our black current and red current bushes have fruited this season and have been very productive. The little experiment we had going with the 2m x 2m polyculture bed is going very well. Again the only major issue is with slugs and snails. All the beans have been eaten and the cucumbers have not been given the best start due to both slugs and snails and the limited sun we have had so far this season. But overall the polyculture bed has been very successful and I would urge everyone to have a go at incorporating one into their gardens. It's a very efficient use of space and because it is a small space it is very easy to manage.
Black Currents
The only space in the garden that has not been too affected by the slug and snail population explosion is the polytunnel. There has been some damage but because the moisture levels under the polytunnel can be easily managed their numbers are greatly reduced compared to outdoors. We have peppers, aubergines, tomatoes, and melons so far in the polytunnel and lots of seeds and seedlings coming up in the nursery. The new sites we have acquired are slowly coming together. I will attempt to get some pictures and share in the next post. Until then enjoy the weather regardless of what it may bring and happy gardening.