29th February

A few problems when we got back to the plot. The cloche had blown away in the winter winds, and scattered round the garden. The Moss House had an even tougher time:

Moss & Fern House

Collapsed Moss & Fern House

We also found the pigeons have been at the kale..

Plenty of flowers to be seen around the garden..

Bird of Paradise Flowers

Heather

And of course, there was the usual digging and planting.

Digging

Digging

– Col

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Last sessions of 2011

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We got the old coldframe cleared, and used the potting compost to pot up some blackcurrants and rosemary – quite a lot of a rosemary! We also cut the wildflower area back, including digging out some ash and willow trees that had invaded. We put a cloche over the peas, which hopefully will turn out to be windproof.

Then after finishing early on our last session on the 14th of December, we ate mince pies and had fun putting together a shopping list. We had requests for blueberries and pumpkins. We are considering lots of unusual varieties of familiar fruit and veg. And we hope to grow some more unusual things like tomatilloes and watermelons too!

– Col

Go bananas!

Real Manchester grown bananas, ready in November! It seemed they had decided they’d had all the sun they were going to get, and finally turned colour. As you can see when they are put in scale – they were quite little, and it was interesting to see they had wisps of the blossom they formed from at their ends. A nice bonus to have with our tea and biscuits after another round of digging!

– Col

On Wednesday 30th November we planted lots of ‘Aquadolce’ broad beans, and the first half of a double row of ‘Meteor’ peas. These varieties can grow through the winter, to give the earliest crops – especially with the help of a closh, which we will be making on the 7th of December.

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With the veg beds nearly finished we have just a couple of sessions before the winter break. Hopefully we will include:

  • work on preparing coldframes
  • taking cuttings of herbs and berry plants
  • do some fruit tree grafting

Potatoes up, winter veg down

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Winter planting is now into full swing!

Harvesting the potatoes opened up a nice well turned area to plant nitrogen-fixing peas and beans into, that will help restore the soil and give us tasty early crops.

We decided to take the risk of planting garlic amongst the kale already planted. The kale should be ready about 2 months after it was planted out, where the garlic  will take around 4-5 months – though we weren’t sure of that at the time!

We have also planted shallots and onions, parsnips and turnips. We have one more section for planting, which we will use for broad beans, and other crops to be decided. Why not come down and help us choose?

We discussed tasks for the winter, when the ground may be too cold to dig. There are some substantial cold-frames, now rather overgrown, that we should be able to prepare for propagating. That should mean we will have some plants to give to the community, maybe as soon as next spring – and also teach those involved how to get your own plants for free!

Plan of the veg plot at the botanical gardens Here is the plan of what we’ve planted as of 9th of November 2011.

19th of Oct – new winter veg bed

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Student Action team hard at work

This week we got stuck in, clearing some of the former wildflower area. We cut back the grass (sadly not using scythes!), and started cutting the turfs.  We also planted some ‘Aquadolce’ winter broad beans, which should give a nice early harvest next year.

The plan for the new area is to plant it with garlic, shallots, winter peas, kale, and more winter broad beans. Abundant compost should give them as good a start as the potatoes have had.

If theres anything you are especially keen to learn how to grow, why not come down and see if we can include it in the future?