Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Spring has finally sprung

Spring is finally here. So the cold snap has finally broken. Well sort of. We have had a full two weeks of very sunny weather and the odd day that's been quite warm. Many of the plants are well on there way now. Earlier on this month we hosted a workshop on starting an organic vegetable patch which went really well. During which we created a new grow bed and planted up out some potatoes, sowed some beans, garlic and calendulas, all in the same bed. This was to demonstrate and explain companion planting and the interconnections of plants in nature. It was a damp grey day but everyone braved the weather and got stuck in. The results were amazing and I like to think that everyone took something valuable away with them.

Digging trenches for slow release
nutrient substrate ('horse poop').
Digging in and covering up manure
Covering the bed with mulch ('spoilt straw')
Planting out chitted potatoes
Salad bed
Now that it has warmed up we have been planting out many of our more sensitive summer crops. Our salad bed is now beginning to look very productive with two types of lettuce, chinese mustard (mazuna), spinach, rocket and onions (for their leaves). Behind the salads we have some purple sprouting broccoli, kale and garlic. Late on in the season we hope to have some squash, pumpkins of other vine crops growing up along the fence. We've already had a pretty good harvest of rocket from the polytunnel. The forest garden has also sprung to life with all of the fruit trees and bushes in bloom. We hope to get the first crop from the trees this season. 
The food forest is really filling in quite nicely. Plums apples and pears will make up the canopy, while black, red and white currants will fill out the shrub layer and below them we have nettles, mint, lemon balm and strawberry as ground cover. We also have comfrey, forget-me-not, and calendula to help with adding nutrients, pollinator attraction and pest control.
The young food forest
It's been so cold this spring that it took awhile for our friend who dominate the pond to make their presence felt (or heard). Their croaking can be heard from a long way off and the evidence of their rhythmic songs can clearly be seen in the shallows of the pond.
The May pond in spring
One of the activities we did over the winter months was to prune back the currant bushes. We saved a few cuttings and potted them up. They all seem to have taken and we hope to be filling the green spaces in our community with fruit for all to enjoy. 
Black and red currant cuttings
A very recent addition to the garden is a log shelter. We have built a small gazebo type structure made from large branches of a tree that was felled in the park just down the road from us.
The amazing log shelter. 
With an equally amazing view.
We've also been working on making a new pond which will greet visitors to the site. 
The new pond

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