Weekly Reports for August 2020

27 August 2020

We’ve hit the time of year when harvesting for produce merges with harvesting for seed. This will be another test of our organisational skills as varieties – beans, peas, sweet peas, borage, lettuce, nasturtiums, garlic –  are boxed or bagged up and labelled in a variety of ways as the task is picked up by people over the working week. We learn as we go – and we are grateful that John and Gil, Keith and Anne are visiting regularly to give us a steer. As Jenny Uglow, author of A Little History of British Gardening, says: ‘We may think we are nurturing our garden, but of course, it’s our garden that is really nurturing us.’

Alongside crop cultivation, we’re paying special attention to soil improvement this year, looking to be self sufficient in composting, working on using all available space for suitable plants and mixing industrial quantities of growing medium for filling more tubs and ton bags. We also rejoice in our own earth-mover – Mikey, who has rejoined the volunteer force, fitting us in between fitness classes at the Leisure Centre.

20 August

Garden life continues peacefully within Serpentine Walks and across members’ dispersed gardens. A letter from the Heritage Seed Library to Seed Guardians provided a little excitement: the tomato Veepro Paste orphan seeds shared with us for cultivation were part of a rogue batch producing fruits inconsistent with the descriptor for the variety. We’re changing the labels – a shame as it’s such a memorable name – to ‘Unknown Variety’. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet?  We hope that the tomatoes are delicious whatever.

13 August 2020

We lifted the potato crop this week: twenty bags of beautifully thin-skinned spuds from eighteen seed potatoes. We’ve kept back two bags for Janette who went on holiday just as the trenches she’d lovingly tended yielded their produce. The rest of the harvest has been picked up by volunteers and passers-by in Serpentine Walks in return for donations.

We’re grateful to the Working Men’s Club for a special donation:  a gallon of Worthington and Guinness drawn off before the regular line wash and rinse. We resisted a taste test and our slugs have been well treated. Fresh supplies every ten days or so will keep them that way – and away from our tender plants.

As a new charity and as a community venture focused on growing plants and people we are being alerted to more opportunities for support as funding bodies focus on green shoot recovery from the impact of Covid-19. There are great opportunities – but also a danger that we try for everything, get it and get over-stretched. Not a bad problem but we have to get the balance right. We invite volunteers to consider helping with our own support services – social media, website, networking and learning from other groups, project planning, finance … Please let us know if you’d like to join the team.

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