Monday, 25 May 2015

The Community Garden in pictures

Preparing the beds outside

Last week I went to the garden with my camera and took some photos - it's all grow grow grow outside and in the polytunnel. We have several new members from all nationalities - US, UK and other European countries. We work in harmony only waging war to garden pests and horsetail, which has reared its 'ugly head' in beds and in the wooded area. We had to start another drowning bin to throw it into.

As we worked, we drank in the peaceful silence, only interrupted by birdsong and the buzzing of the mower.

Our staging in the polytunnel

Our very own climbable tree
and a volunteer's dog

Invasive horsetail

On watering duty

Sunday, 17 May 2015

May jobs in the garden

There's a saying here among UK gardeners that it's safe to plant outside after the Chelsea Flower Show, occurring this year on 19-23 May, which is when the threat of sudden frosts has gone. It's true, a friend planted her squashes in the ground two weeks ago and they were not only savaged by snails but also suffered cold damage.

The weather has been alternating between sunny warm days and chilly windy ones. However, spring has arrived to stay and summer is not far away. May jobs in the garden include:

  • controlling weeds, the rain we had in April and early May has given them a big boost. Keep a dandelion watch - you can eat leaves in salads if you don't mind their bitter taste
  • remove excess pond weeds 
  • keep an eye for pests and diseases - spray your roses now
  • mow the lawn often
  • water newly planted trees and shrubs
  • if you are weeding out areas with nettles, keep young leaves for omelettes/soups and throw the rest in the compost bin as they aid composting. There is a variety of nettles that does not sting, which is a nice addition to salads. This variety has white flowers in bunches among the leaves.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Planting is go, go!

Planting potatoes outdoors

Preparing seedlings for the polytunnel

There are now lots of little plants in the polytunnel that need watering, and seeds and seedlings in the outside beds too, so Charlotte has started a watering rota.

We are also planning to plant beans before they get pot bound. There is a mystery batch in the polytunnel and the 'uncheerful' but delicious Trails of tearsWe are going  to stake the beans with hazel poles, which have been saved for this very job. Mangetout peas will be sown in the polytunnel as they are super delicious to pigeons, slugs and pheasants.

A crop rotation plan has been created, so we know what goes where and when. There are other less 'exciting jobs' than growing such as tidying up bricks, slates and paving slaves that we acquired for future projects and of course weeding - the weeds are growing fast and thick now that it's warmer.

We are recycling plastic bottles to make plant shelters (bells) and yogurt pots to cut into plant labels. We welcome donations of these.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Welcome to the Merry Month of May

Happy May Sunday!

Right now it is raining cats and dogs here in Cambridge, which is bad if you planned a barbecue for the Bank Holiday Weekend but good news for the garden. A volunteer prepared a lovely portrait/update of the Community Garden, which also appeals for more volunteers. We have a trusty core group already but it's a big space and kid friendly too, so join us to share some exciting times now the weather is improving (not today particularly but it's getting warmer). Please click on the image below to enlarge it.

Did you know that yesterday was the first World Naked Garden Day? The movement has a website too, click here. As we gather on Sundays, we have missed this opportunity to be 'au naturel'. Still it's not something we'd recommend in a wild garden, aside being illegal and offending somebody's sensitivity (the garden is overlooked by a busy cycling/walking path) there are hazards to it: think nettles, thorny branches and biting ants (yes, we have some in Cambridge).