After a very unsure future for the garden after the initial lockdown, slowly a plan was formulated as to how we could begin to initiate gardening and planting activities safely and to comply with government restrictions.
Subsequently after some virtual meetings between committee members, staff and volunteers, it was agreed that a rota would be set up which would allow small numbers of people (2-3) to come back to the garden.
The rota was set up thus:
- All of the beds were allocated a number on a line up and down the garden by Margaret and Jessie and the number was marked on the bed.
- Each grouping of volunteers was allocated a certain bed(s) or area within a 2hour time slot.
- Each bed or area was given a certain crop and the preparation work required was identified. All of this information was then set out on a spread sheet and distributed to volunteers by Ali.
- Each bed/area was given a polypocket containing an instruction sheet and a packet of seeds , this was organised by Jessie.
The seed potatoes were clustered into egg boxes with their individual labels denoting variety etc. (20 varieties this year)
The rota by its very nature was unprecedented and set up during difficult circumstances whilst we all had to adjust to our new situations, consequently there was always going to subject to ad hoc changes and tweakings! This was again managed fairly well through video meetings.
Also, since I was able to visit the garden to ‘orchestrate’ the progress, there were inevitably other tasks appeared which needed to be attended to, these included pricking off seedlings sowing other summer crops and potting on young plants. Due to the mostly favourable weather, this was mostly achievable outdoors at socially distanced work stations.
Other jobs which arose with time included putting up pea and bean supports, planting and protecting Brassica crops, preparing the pumpkin patch and mulching the fruit hedge (ongoing!).
So in summary, in spite of what looked like a very unsure future for operations at the garden, there has been a wonderful effort by all the participants to do what can be done safely under the circumstances, the reward will surely be a fantastic sense of achievement by all…oh, and some yummy new tatties in about two weeks time! We will be giving some of them away at our next garden gate grow and share stall on 31st of May.