On 27th April, fifteen volunteers braved the grey windy weather for an energetic morning’s work at Phipps Bridge Community Garden as part of the Big Dig Day - a national campaign run by Capital Growth to celebrate community gardening and the start of the new growing season.
It was great to welcome 8 new faces as well as several of the Wednesday workday regulars. We decided to focus all our efforts on getting an experimental No Dig plot underway. Counterintuitively this meant doing a bit of digging to clear off the existing weeds, particularly our big enemies couch grass and bindweed. These “bad weeds” get drowned in a bin of water, while the “good weeds” were fed to our all important compost heap.
Next we laid down some big sheets of cardboard, making sure there was no plastic tape still sticking to them (thank you Vera!). After we had chased down a few pieces of flying cardboard we weighted it all down with tools to prevent further escapes in the wind. A two person team started digging out compost from last year’s heap, now turned into a rich dark mix. Others barrowed the compost into a deep layer on top of the cardboard.
The Wednesday team will now plant seedlings into the compost. The cardboard will prevent weeds invading the plot, by depriving them on light, and will also retain some extra water for the plants. We can hoe off any wind-born weed seeds which germinate. Next year we’ll add another layer of compost for the next generation of vegetables. We’ll report back how this goes.
The addictive nature of gardening and the pleasure at seeing the impact of our labours kept us there for well over the advertised time and there were a few tears when the youngest member of our team - just 4 years old - had to go home.
Big thanks to everyone who came! We’re looking forward to a very productive growing season.