Community Garden – unseasonal warmth prompts a winter growth spurt

A photo of Spring LadybirdThe weather has been relatively benign since the frosty start of the year, although the temperatures over the last few days have been well above the seasonal norm, yet another episode of unusual meteorological conditions, probably due to climate change. It’s certainly bringing out signs of spring early – we have spotted bumblebees and tortoisehell butterflies emerging from hibernation over the last week or so!

Earlier this year, the polytunnel beds were topped up and the super early new potatoes were planted. The varieties are Abbot, Accord, Arran Pilot, Epicure, Foremost, Home Guard, Maris Bard, Ulster Prince, and Swift. Hopefully this warm weather will get the seed tatties moving so we can have new tatties at the end of May. We also took a steal on the season by sowing broad beans last November which have now been planted out.

Much to Lewis’s delight (see his update below) the four new raised beds were constructed recently in the area at the top end of the garden, many thanks to the building team especially Steve who provided professional help and made the job much easier. We are currently filling the beds up with a mix of farm yard manure (again thanks Steve) top soil gratefully received from Jim Robertson and green waste compost sourced by Helena, thanks to you too. I also started preparing ingredients for this year’s compost, by shredding all of the last year’s dried hard stems – there will be a video on composting coming out soon.

Volunteers from the Wednesday Alzheimer’s group have been helping over the winter months with planting pots of Spring bulbs and flowers and propagating plants which will be for sale later in the season. We have also had some amazing help from Bill, Jan, Matthew, Kathleen, Ian, Jessie, Lewis, Craig and others who come out to the Garden be it snow or shine. And let’s not forget Will whose most recent project was an installation of a solar-powered light in the large the tool shed – very handy indeed.

The garlic, Japanese onion sets and shallots which were planted before Christmas have benefited from the mild weather and are growing away nicely. We have a small selection of produce still available in the garden such as Jerusalem artichokes, spring onions, some spinach and kale, the purple sprouting broccoli will soon be ready too. You can pop by during any open session to pick some up for your tea.

We’re preparing for the growing season ahead by organising the tunnel and sowing the crops such as leeks, tomatoes, chillies, aubergines and peppers.

A photo of Lewis, Craig and Peter at the Garden
Lewis helping me order gravel for the bottom of the new raised beds for improved drainage.

Let me end with a short update from Lewis:

We got ahead of schedule because we have had very nice weather. We managed to quite a lot over the last coulple of weeks. I have been trying to get more stuff done for the garden, even selling Tayport Apple Juice in my own time. In the last two weeks we made around £40 from the juice sales! It all started when I took some home before Christmas together with some potatoes and I managed to sell all those and I have carried on selling Apple Juice now.

My favourite thing to do at the moment is moving stuff up and down the Garden in my trailer. I have been moving soil and horse manure to fill in the new beds and fill gaps in the old beds. I got my dad to help with building the new beds and he had them all done before lunchtime. Craig and I came in last week on our day off to fill in one of the beds with soil. And this week I will doing the same thing and also taking gravel delivery to put at the bottom of the beds for drainage.

Here’s hoping that the rest of the winter and spring will be as benign as it has been so far!

It’s going all hands on deck from now on so don’t forget to pay the garden a visit and wear your gardening clothes!

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