It’s a sunny morning and the land looks clear of weeds and ready for a new spring season. A friendly group of people enjoy our regular gardening sessions at Phipps Bridge Community Garden. About ten people a week have joined us, even in the cold months of December and January.
This winter we found less need for the hard work of digging and weeding. This was because last year we set aside some beds, for the first time, to try the 'No Dig' method.
To do this, we put down layers of cardboard and then covered them with a layer of our allotment-made compost. We then cut small holes in the cardboard to sow pumpkin, squash and courgette seedlings. It worked well, with a bumper crop in the autumn and now in January, to our great satisfaction, there is still no sign of weeds. So we are extending the area for the ‘No Dig ‘ method for this year.
It is also lovely to see that the broad beans, planted in November, have survived the cold. The little plants look really healthy and will grow to about three feet in height, ready to harvest in June.
The autumn-planted Brussels sprouts look enticing and ready to eat, for those who like them. They’ve been well protected from the pigeons by netting and we’ve been harvesting them these past two weeks.
Also some kind people have donated Raspberry plants. The canes that produced fruit last autumn are still intact. Normally we’d cut these low to encourage fresh new canes to grow and produce fruit next autumn. But apparently, if left alone, we are told that the old canes can fruit for a second time before that, this next summer.
We have cleared the large polytunnel to await new seedlings and now is the time to order from the plant catalogues. Meanwhile the onion sets are all planted out and seem mainly undisturbed by the birds.
The seed potatoes have all been bought and they will soon be put in trays in a light but frost free shed. This allows for chitting (the growth of up to 2 cm shoots) over the next few weeks, before planting them in March and April.
But now, importantly, it’s time for the well-earned tea and cake!
Do be in touch if you would like to join us one Wednesday.
Blog by Gillian
Community Gardening Volunteer