In spite of the weather the Garden has begun to wake up after its winter snooze. The Garden stood up to Storm Eunice (who rudely rushed in, popped the glass out of the greenhouse and threw some empty barrels about) and the rain in March, which turned the pathways into muddy quagmires. Suddenly, the snowdrops have bloomed and dropped their petals, the primroses are in full flower, the hazels are dripping with catkins, the seeds we planted are bursting out of their little pots and the grass in the orchard looks like it could do with a hair-cut! The soil is warming, ready for those growing seedlings. We have to spring into action too with some serious nettle and bramble snipping before they take over where we don’t want them, potting on the seedlings, planting out some hardy plants and potatoes, checking on light, warmth and water levels and making space for the tomatoes, chilies and aubergines that are quickly growing into sturdy little plants on window sills and in propagators. We need to carry on sowing, sowing, sowing both into pots and soon straight into the ground. As well as all that there will be compost to sieve and put into tubs and boxes, woodchips to collect to put down onto the muddy paths, benches to paint, sheds to tidy and tools to clean and sharpen. There will be veg beds to weed, rabbit barriers to put up, mouse-proof boxes to sort out, wildflower seeds to spread about and many seedlings to plant out and care for. We are just coming into the busiest, most interesting and most hopeful time of the year. It quickly feels like we are constantly playing catch-up as there is a lot of work ahead but it is very important to look back and appreciate how much we have done over the winter. The list is long! We have completely replaced 3 of the 9 large raised beds with new planking and built a 10th with reclaimed timbers, now planted with raspberries. Another raised bed was built in the Top p/t, doubling the growing space there. We have upgraded the water system so that we now have over 6000litres of water in storage and a much more efficient system of catchment barrels. Each of which needed firm foundations. The large wooden compost bays have been rebuilt with pallets and look much more sturdy. The last of the small, collapsing raised boxes in the orchard have been replaced. More tyres of flowers have been set up along the pathway from the gate. The whole Garden is looking well cared for and ready for the growing season. We couldn’t have done any of this without the help of our dedicated and enthusiastic garden team. Alongside all this practical work we have been amazed at the generosity of donations which have come in during the winter – over £500! The positive feedback and support we got from the excellent write-up on DevonLive and the E&E is very heartening and I have had many conversations with passers by who comment on how well the Garden is looking right now. The many individuals and groups who use the Garden have said how they feel a real connection with our green space and a connection to our whole Garden Community. Thank you to everyone!! Here’s hoping that all that hard work yields some fine crops for us all to share and a beautiful green space to enjoy in our 10th Anniversary year!!
NB DON’T FORGET OUR 10TH ANNIVERSARY PARTY ON JUNE 8TH 2022!!
Jobs to do in March and April:
Prepare for our Anniversary Party:
Get sowing and planting out flowers and veg to be ready by June!
Massive tidy up!!
Painting banners and signs.
Get the Lower p\t ready for the growing season:
Wood preserver on the benches and then take them outside,
Fill the crates and boxes with soil and compost,
Fix metal poles in the rafters for the twine to support the tomatoes,
Set up a seed sowing area,
Tidy, sort, store and label all those ‘useful’ items in the p/t, Plant tomatoes, chilies, aubergines, cucumbers etc.
Prepare Top p\t for the growing season
Lightly fork over the raised beds,
Plant seeding salads – rocket, mustard, chard, cos lettuce, Plant tomatoes, aubergines, chili, peppers, cucumber and courgette,
Sow salads and herbs, Spring Onions, carrots,
Set up seed bed and seedling rack.
Set up Philippa’s medicinal herb bed,
Dig out bed 5 and replace with good top soil, manure and compost,
Plant out potatoes, broad beans, peas, salad and brassicas,
Sow carrots between garlic rows,
Sow flowers – calendula, sweet peas, night scented stocks,
Plant out calendula, pinks and violas into herb bed,
Set up deer proof mesh around blackcurrant bushes and Elephant Garlic,
Make more mesh arcs – bigger ones for covering the growing plants,
Sow wildflower seeds and plug plants,
Sort and tidy Observatory shed, and
Clean, oil and sharpen tools ……
That will do to be going along with!!
Come and join us and help us grow!!