Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Summer is here but it's a mixed bag!

Getting a bed ready!
We are having a stop and go summer, the sun is warm but it's raining now and then. Still it's not as bad as in other counties, which have been flooded! Here is a pictorial update about the garden. I have a big backlog of photos, so watch this space! Thanks to all volunteers for sending these pics.

Strawberry beds - late April 2016
Grassy square - late April 2016
Outdoor beds - late April 2016

Central Circle - late April 2016

Enjoying the garden - late April 2016
Hazel copse and hugelkultur - late April 2016

Two poems/riddles by Michela, 9, who was inspired by the Garden... Leave your answer in the comments - solutions will be posted next time!

What am I?
I begin with w
I end with d
I am a flower with no pollen
I get no love from thee
I get no visits from bees
I come from all of the continents around the sea
What am I?

What am I?
I come to visit the flowers

That belong to thee
I don't come from the desert, nor the sea
I come from different varieties
I am more beautiful than faries
I don't end with an e
What am I?
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Polytunnel - late April 2016

A new bed - May 2016

Glorious May blooms

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Busy bees in the garden...

Insects are getting busy in the garden - and volunteers too! I am posting last month's updates and some information on the Soil Health Talk that was delivered at the Garden on 8 May by Charlotte. The blog itself is thriving as we get readers from all over the world and have started to get spam comments, which I am removing. We are not here to advertise business ventures. This shows that we are faring well with SEO or spammers would not bother us. If you want to leave a genuine comment to advertise a similar, non-profit group, feel free... or to share your knowledge and experiences... or your gardening blog (provided it is not commercial in nature).

Comfrey was cut in May to make liquid fertiliser. On the right you can see a green manure crop called  Phacelia that should have been dug in but is just too pretty and too loved by the bees for anyone to bring themselves to do it. This green manure is growing on the community garden's Hugelkultur bed, which has plenty of rotting logs and organic matter at its heart.

Composting in May
Importing organic matter, May 2016

Soil Health talk - 8 May 2016
On Sunday 8th May, Charlotte gave a talk on Soil Health as a part of Transition Cambridge: "Eleven people turned up and we shared lunch before the talk and tour of the garden. The talk covered a brief overview of the desperate problems we have with our soil worldwide and also how we came to destroy them to such an extent. Examples of agricultural soil, a neighbouring orchard and new woodland all planted on the same land and within 30 yards of each other really highlighted the extent to which even 'good' agricultural land had removed the organic matter from our soils and destroyed its life and structure. The talk then covered soil structure, soil life and how plants and soil life interact. Lots of interdependence and symbiotic relationships were revealed, which really emphasised how compromised our agricultural soil had become. We then discussed how to improve our soil and look after our own plots of land with a tour showing what we are doing at Empty Common. It was a lovely day, with lots of input from everyone there and  people seemed to really enjoy it."

Here is feedback sent by one of the attendees: "I thought your talk was fantastic - full of interesting facts & insights - you've really inspired me to start gardening more."

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

It's nearly summer

June has arrived with a mix of weather but right now it's very warm and the watering rota has been re-established after a rainy period. Here is a collection of photos sent by our volunteers. We have a big backlog of pictures, thank you all for contributing.

Our wildlife habitats - Feb 2016
Mary wrote: "We planted the Wildflower seeds received from the UK's GROW WILD project today with sand and ribbons and lots of helping hands. The children put the bee houses together and we hung them in the garden. The packets included common knapweed, cornflower, corn chamomile, corn cockle, corn marigold, corn poppy, hedge bedstraw, meadow buttercup, oxeye daisy, red champion, ribwort plantains and viper's bugloss and yarrow.  Additional mixed seeds of foxglove, nigella, poppy, columbine and other flower seeds donated by members were added for good measure! Let there be flowers and bees!"

April 2016: Planting the Grow Wild seeds
We received seeds and bee house kits from Kew

Gardening for all ages and abilities - you are welcome to join us!

Picnic at Empty Common Garden (April 16)
Our child-friendly tree
Having a chat by the wheelbarrow (April 16)
Who said you cannot garden in style?

The beds are on standby for planting (April 16)

Charlotte wrote: "On Sunday May 8th we hosted a Transition Cambridge event, with me giving a talk on healthy soils. We finished returning the vegetable beds to their original size. The grass was definitely taking over, some are at least a third bigger now - so more room for all our polytunnel seedlings."