We are getting right back into the swing of things after the Christmas break, planning, buying seeds and preparing the Garden for the growing season. Peter and Jenny have even been joined by a few brave volunteer souls with apparently no fear of the cold weather – so good to have your help as always!
The Garden should look absolutely fabulous in the spring with all the bulbs we have just finished planting – and all of them free. First, there were 25kg of Narcissus Pheasant eye which Peter managed to procure through J.Parker’s giveaway competition. Those were planted into the dredged soil along the burn before Christmas. They will make a nice addition to the yellow daffodils already in that area. And this week we finally managed to put in the ‘recycled’ tulip bulbs donated to PLANT by the council last autumn. Although it’s late for bulbs to go in, they are looking healthy and should make a nice late display along the main path as a part of the second sensory border.
Our pre-Christmas veg sales were a success but our bucket of parsnips and oca seems to be bottomless – there are still plenty left. We also have Brussel sprouts, kale, purple sprouting broccoli, silverbeet. Come by the Garden during our opening hours to pick some up for your dinner. And help yourself to free strawberry plants at the gate.
Despite the cold there is some impressive growing going on. The winter cabbages and Calabrese are coming along nicely in the beds outside. The garlic in the onion bed is sprouting nicely, despite being pushed out from the ground by the frost and having to be replanted. Unfortunately, pigeons have discovered the un-netted Brassicas and have done quite a lot of nibbly damage to the leaves so we are quite glad we’ve covered most of them up. In the polytunnel, the broad beans we’d sown in November have germinated, and the cauliflowers are on the way. The winter/spring salads are also growing slowly – they should really take off when it gets a bit warmer. We’ll be doing more sowing over the next couple of weeks.
Everyone’s been working hard on ground preparation. The second border along the main path is now sorted out and planted up with bulbs. We have been working on removing nails from the wood reclaimed from the Tayport Community Trust’s Community Hub site and it is being used for edging the new beds. Compost has been spread across as many of the empty beds as possible. The rooted willow cuttings were moved away from the salad bed near the main gate in preparation for combining it with the neighbouring beds into a single one to reduce path area and increase cropping surface.
We have put in a seed order for the year too. And Peter’s made a personal pilgrimage to the seed potato Mecca at Bridgend Garden Centre to procure some first earlies to plant in the polytunnel in hope of replicating last year’s success with our super early polytunnel potatoes. This year we will be sticking to those which worked best in the past: Epicure (Jenny’s favourite), Red Duke, Sharpes Express, Home Guard and Arran Pilot. Last year they were already in the ground by 18th of January so we are running a bit late! Here are Peter’s tips from last year if you’d like to try it growing super earlies at home.
And last but not least – Jenny’s been perfecting the method for creating mosaic stepping stones for the willow tunnel. We think the latest trial has worked a treat!
That’s enough writing for now – must go back to getting ready for the upcoming workshops and events. Our January and February calendar is full up – starting with RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch next Sunday, 28th of January, 1pm. Come and join us!