Spring is here and there has been lots of barefoot, no waterproofs or jumpers time out in the garden which has been lovely. We have been busy working on our garden projects and well… digging holes for finding/rehoming worms and making bogs in previously bog/hole free herbaceous borders!
Extending our veggie patch
The biggest project has been working out how to make the concrete area by our sheds more productive and try to introduce some semblance of biodiversity. To begin with we dismantled some pallets to make two big deep beds to extend our veggie patch. We will continue to make changes to ensure there is something for the birds and insects to enjoy as well as human tummies. Jessie has put together a great guide on how to build a bed out of two pallets (we needed to use a different design as it was on concrete). We were fortunate enough to have some straw and lots of home-made compost and well-rotted horse manure to fill some of the beds with. The rest of the volume we were able to fill with topsoil from a friend’s garden in Cupar. We are starting a no-dig policy (well I am, I doubt the children will adhere to it) so this layering approach will hopefully give the beds a great start allowing the plants the nutrients they need and over time good soil structure.
As usual we love art jobs we can link to the outdoors and we have made some great new veg bed labels from the offcuts from one of the pallets. This was a fun way to practice writing and will help going forward with reading.
A home for toy diggers
To limit the digging in certain areas by the under 5`s in the house, I decided to extend the “children`s garden”. It had been a bit of a weedy patch with some taller grasses in next to the playhouse. After an exciting play date in a friend’s garden in Tayport, we decided to copy their gravel area where toy diggers could do their thing. We took up some turf to make more space, made a boundary with rocks, laid gravel (stolen from our drive) moved the steppingstones and a couple of the grasses and made a mini sand pit out of an old tyre. It has been popular so far so work can begin on fixing my precious flower beds! Next steps will be putting some flowers into the area (maybe on the playhouse side in some old guttering we have) to encourage those all-important insects and there have been requests to make a fairy village on the top of the cable reel. I had initially thought that using gravel wasn`t brilliant as it seems a bit bare ecosystem wise, but during the gravel harvesting on the driveway, I realised some of the sheltered areas near our wall housed a lot of spiders and insects so I felt less guilty in the end.
Pond life and Tayport audio tour
During the same visit to our friends in Tayport we were able to see the pond they built last year which has attracted 9 frogs and is now home to lot of frogspawn. It has encouraged me to do something about our mini butler sink pond which is needing a bit of work. It hasn`t attracted anywhere near as much wildlife as I had hoped since I made it two years ago. I think a bit of research and re-design is needed as there isn`t much open water with an explosion of plant growth and a lot more stones added by the children. It will need to be minor works due to the time of year but in the Autumn I can address things further once any life in there is less active.
Before we returned home we walked a couple of stops on the Taking Care of our Tayport Home audio tour. It would fill a wonderful few hours to do in full but can also be done in chunks for those who would struggle to do it all in one go. We really enjoyed the salt marsh area and headed towards the meadows (photos at the top of the post).
Bird watching breakfast
We had breakfast outside the other morning and decided to do a quick bird watch. We managed to spot blackbirds, a wood pigeon, sparrows, 2 blue tits, 3 pied wagtails and a robin. Eddie also spotted a birdtimbler (?!). As we took our bowls inside to wash up we spotted a goldfinch out of the kitchen window. Later on the children spotted starlings and crows feasting in a newly ploughed field, a buzzard on a fence post as we drove to the beach and some birds in the flooded marshy fields near our village (yet to be identified but possibly great crested grebes). There are some great resources on the RSPB website for schools, families and other groups and really helps slow down and focus children on the world around them.