Edible Gardens group planning early spring

March 30th, 2010 by J-P Leave a reply »

Last Saturday Witney’s Edible Gardens group met for the second time to discuss local grow-your-own issues and to provide a place for information, advice and opinion over tea and cake. Yesterday was the start of Grow Your Own Week so it was quite timely.

Several people there had started growing seeds indoors, so we discussed how they could be transplanted outside. Tomatoes can be buried right up to the first set of leaves, and peas can be initially planted in either guttering—sweep the seedlings off into the drill—or flimsier toilet-roll tubes which will rot down. We also talked about planting in raised beds: some of us are fixing up beds, so we discussed how you can make them more stable, and how they can end up over-engineered—especially the expensive kits you can buy. We also touched on growing potatoes in tyres (it doesn’t work very well!) and planting things like marigolds alongside legumes to deter pests such as blackfly.

There was also talk of composting, including using a tumbling composter to accelerate the breakdown of tricky compost ingredients like chicken manure, or rotting comfrey with nettles to produce a potent but smelly liquid fertilizer. Finally this week’s forecast of snow led us to talk about plant hardiness: how fleece could be used to protect from frost (but beware it getting waterlogged and crushing stems); and how you should waft tomato seedlings with cardboard or your hand to toughen them up every now and again, and prepare them for the outdoors.

There’s a few events coming up we’re planning to attend. A few members will be helping out a new gardener with their garden on April 10, and there are rare plant fairs in Quenington on Sunday 18 April and Kingston Bagpuize on Sat 29 May. If you’re interested in coming along then there’ll probably be spare seats in cars, so email Brenda at brenda.woods@ntlworld.com, or give her a ring on 01993 700715 to see if there’s space left. At some point we also want to arrange a trip to Ryton-on-Dunsmore, an organic garden centre where the site is divided up into allotment- and garden-sized plots to inspire and provide ideas for gardeners. Again, if you’re interested, let Brenda know and we can firm up a date.

Interested in the next meeting of Edible Gardens? If so, put Saturday 17 April in your diary. It’ll start at 3pm, at Daphne and Dave’s rather than Brenda’s: so if you want to come along and aren’t sure where that is then get in touch with Brenda as above.

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