Saturday, 2 April 2011

Gardening Lesson Number 2

Today I’ve been to our second gardening lesson at the allotment, we looked at what we could be planting and sowing now, jobs that need doing and any problems we are having. We had our lesson in the new marquee.
Marquee from orchard

 We started on a fruit bed last week; we were given some autumn raspberries and bought summer raspberries, blackcurrants, gooseberries, strawberries and blueberries. We didn’t realise that blueberries require acid soil so we have not planted them yet. Joyce, our teacher suggests we can add sulphur, leaf mould and pine needles. As there are many pine trees near to me I will collect needles to line a trench to plant the blueberries in.
Barry waters the fruit plants

Planting onion sets
 At this time we can plant outside broad beans, asparagus, early carrots, parsnips, peas, radish, spinach beet, turnips and onion sets. On our plot we have planted early and second early potatoes, peas and broad beans, lettuce and today we planted red and white onion sets. We became interested in asparagus and have decided to dedicate a quarter of our permanent crop to it. We can’t eat any spears this year, can take only one third of what comes up next year and can eat what we want the year after and the crowns can last up to twenty years.
Peas and beans with our homemade bird scarers

 We can sow in trays baby beets, sprouts, kohl rabi, early cabbage, summer cabbage, early cauliflower, tomatoes, lettuce, spring onions and leeks. We can also start to prepare a compost trench ready for runner beans, kitchen waste and newspaper can be put in to line the trench.
 Everyone’s biggest problem was couch grass, I have brought some roots home today as I think “waste not want not” really. Sarah previously directed me to a website here about couch grass as it can be used for bladder infections, cystitis, bronchitis, sore throats and laryngitis. It is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, diuretic, demulcent and an expectorant. The roots are used fresh or dried to make a tea, decoction or tincture so I have brought some home with me to try it out.
 The orchard looks stunning with blossom and spring bulbs and has a new delivery, a bee hive has arrived and we are waiting for a bee keeper to bring in a swarm.  I am hoping I will be able to acquire some honey and beeswax for my herbal remedies if the trust is able to sell some.
A bee hive has been delivered - just waiting for bees

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