Volunteers out of hibernation and back in the garden!

working bee 1

working bee 2

It was such a pleasure to have a good turnout last wednesday for our first spring working bee, the smell of freshly cut grass , the birdsong, the warm spring sunshine and some cheerful conversations helped us achieve some good progress in the garden that afternoon.

espelier pruning

Alan (Grampa G) Adamson and Ra have pruned all the fruit trees in readiness for the rising of the sap.

Granpa G’s grafting workshop part 2 is planned for the end of this month so keep ears open for that.

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Gordon and Ra have been sowing seeds and pricking out seedlings busily to get some early plantings in the soil.

garlic

Broad beans and Garlic are growing strongly.. its a pleasure to see things coming up in the garden again.

irrigation

Thanks to the great help of Waterforce, the gardens now has a wonderful new irrigation system, and the council has attached a new water connection so we have good pressure, Yay! No more struggling through drought with only enough pressure for one sprinkler.

Wintering down

Abundant herb harvesting has resulted in  a lovely collection of herb teas for our education hub
The last of the Autumn harvest is being pickled and preserved. How lucky we are to live in such an abundant region.

 

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Turning your garden beds now will allow the frost to do the hard work of breaking up the soil for you . Come spring when you turn again or add compost the clods will break up easily to create the smooth even textured soil that is ideal for seed sowing.

 

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Thankfully we have had a good dose of rain before the frosts really set in. Shrubs and trees that are overly dry find coping with the frost very difficult and may even die.

Autumn is upon us

 

 

 

Interesting aspects of our autumn harvest so far..

Oh magical nature
Oh magical nature

 

 

south american painted corn, this is the first time it has been grown at the gardens.  It formed alot more quickly than our familiar sweet corn..
south american painted corn, this is the first time it has been grown at the gardens. It formed alot more quickly than our familiar sweet corn..

 

 

resulting in a fascinating cross pollination
resulting in a fascinating cross pollination

 

 

 

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Abundant herb harvesting has resulted in a lovely collection of herb teas for our education hub
Abundant herb harvesting has provided us with  a lovely collection of herb teas for our education hub

Black Gold!

A well constructed and brewed compost is an essential aspect of successful food growing. To create a mix ready for the garden takes about 6 months so now is the time to get started on a fresh batch in order to be in time for spring planting.

 

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A key component is freshly

cut grass clippings.

20160224_132157  Thinly layered with diced up, unseeded weeds and greens cleared from beds

 

 

 

 

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Sawdust or woodchips

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Spray free manure, cow if possible.

 

 

 

 

Be sure to dampen the layers as you go, ensuring that no one layer is too thick other wise it can clog.

The pile should heat up considerably for a week or so. the pile should be turned twice, after 2 and 4 months.

 

20160224_140417When it comes time to add to the finished compost to the garden its is ideal to sift it to ensure a smooth combining with the soil. Add about 3 to 5 cms to the surface of the bed and scratch in slightly.

And abundance shall be yours!

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Harvest begins in earnest

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The obvious way to know whether your apples are ready to harvest is to observe whether the birds are interested in them.. you may notice they are falling from the tree so another easy test is to cut in half and if the seeds are black the fruit is ready.. if white it needs more time

 

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Bergamot.. a popular flavour in earl grey tea. The leaves may be used sparingly in salads. Medicinally used primarily to relieve nausea, vomiting and menstrual pain.. But truely a delightful pink flamingo of the garden and the blossoms seem to last a satisfyingly long time

 

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The first apples to ripen in the garden this year

 

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The herb garden in full bloom and going to seed

 

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The same garden shortly after. Many herbs are invasive so must be cut down mid summer before they form seed.. the lovely bonus is that they will quickly regrow and you will enjoy a longer flowering in the late autumn

Early summer at the gardens

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Time to harvest herbs.. cut your herbs right back now but be sure to water to ensure a vigorous regrowth
Did you know that unlike the standard garlic.. jumbo garlic goes to seed before creating the bulb.. so don't despair! If you have jumbo garlic going to seed it is doing exactly the right thing
Did you know that unlike the standard garlic.. jumbo garlic goes to seed before creating the bulb.. so don’t despair! If you have jumbo garlic going to seed it is doing exactly the right thing
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considering the tricky conditions we have had a good seed strike this year.. it all comes down to a well prepared bed and consistent water.
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Mexican painted corn.. an experimental crop of seed that was in danger of becoming homogenised in south america.. fingers crossed we get a good seed crop in this enviroment uncluttered by other corn