Weekly reports for January 2020

26 January 2020

This time last year we were working in four inches of snow so we have been making the most of better conditions, though on the other hand the mild weather meant we “caught” our first caterpillar of the year. We were also excited to sow our first seeds of the year – seven different varieties of sweet peas in fibre pots so they can be planted straight out when ready. The new raised bed is now filled and has meant a lot of re-organising of where planters are positioned. Several ton bags have been upgraded with a deeper fill for fruit trees and bushes. Odd corners have been cleared ready for sowing “wild” seeds. Our “corpse flower” produced seed for the first time last year – we now have a tray full of seedlings. Not sure what to do next so we will wait. The last two weeks have both recorded over 50 volunteer hours, all productively used. Very impressive.

19 January 2020

Since the last report, we have had a steady stream of valuable deliveries, large and small. Thanks to volunteers, we have received 14 sacks of horse manure, bags of coffee grounds, bags of sawdust and assorted planting modules. Funded by grant money, we have had six cubic metres of high-quality enhanced topsoil delivered and the team have already substantially filled the new raised bed and developed plans for topping up existing beds and filling empty planters and additional ton bags. Getting ready for spring included mulching several beds with soil improver and preparing fibre, plastic-free pots for our first sowings of the year – sweet peas – next week. The kitchen area has been refreshed with the removal of the old and damp carpet. One of those days where, wherever you turned, there was great work being done by enthusiastic people. The access road walk showed the mahonia in bloom and the dead pigeon on the driveway confirmed “our” sparrow hawk has visited. We are part of the natural community too.

12 January 2020

Although our volunteers had a festive break, we hosted two working parties from the Community Payback Team each side of Christmas. The teams worked hard, efficiently and willingly and delivered great results. As a result of their work, we have an additional 19 foot raised bed, two metal arches erected and painted, an abandoned field gate starting a new life as a safety barrier for children, posts creating a base for a further ten metres of dry boundary hedge and several areas that are considerably tidier than they were. We very much appreciate their contribution to our community endeavour.

Back to normal this week and tidying and sorting has been the main focus together with pruning – apple trees, kiwi and blackberries. The site is looking good and loved and we welcomed some new volunteers and started to put detail round our plans for 2020. This time last year, our records show we were working with lying snow across the site. This year we watched, on both days, skeins of about 100 pink footed geese heading west. In both years, we recorded over 70 volunteer hours for the week. Wednesdays only until 16th February, but always worth a visit. Hope 2020 is good for everyone.

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