Congratulations to the volunteers at the Slades Farm Community Garden, who worked hard on Sunday 1st April on a beautiful sunny day. We extended the perimeter bank, planted more hedgerow, opened up some keyhole beds and planted potatoes and jerusalem artichokes. We also watered the plants put in on our previous work day. At one point a buzzard flew lazily overhead.
Among the trees planted were alder buckthorn, which is the only food-plant for the catarpillars of the brimstone butterfly, that now rare harbinger of Spring. We also planted some sweet chestnuts. Chestnuts are good to eat, very nourishing, easy to preserve, and can be made into a flour. The timber is also very useful as it is very long-lasting (like cedar), and it can be coppiced.
The keyhole beds are designed to provide access to the growing area from all sides without stepping on and compressing the soil. They are also designed to maximise the edge of the bed, where the edges are typically most productive and biodiverse.
Our next work date is a Saturday, on April 21st, from 10:00 – 12:00. We still have a bit more bank to create (cutting down trees for the inner timber and brush sections, providing bulk and long-term nutrition), a little more hedgerow planting, compost bays to make, lots more potatoes and onions to plant, and quite a bit more watering to do !