Weekly reports for June 2020

24 June 2020

All seedlings from the big greenhouse are now safely bedded out with pots and bags pressed into service for overflowing produce. Nature abhors a vacuum though so the bare benching is already filing up with a display of scented (apple, orange, mint, pine and more) pelargoniums ringed with small pots for propagating more. One variety came from the Lomas store on Spring Gardens. It had no name so we’ve labelled it as Lomas Lemon: a Buxton special.

The vegetable beds are closely packed with healthy plants. We will have a fine harvest this year. We look forward to sharing produce one way or another as risk assessments allow. We look forward too to sharing seed again at the annual Seedy Saturday in January. This year there may be some surprise packets – a few lucky dips. We have worked from detailed charts and growing tips provided at the outset from John and Gil. Sometimes, we have fallen short of their practised perfection though – mixing fresh sowings of peas with other varieties to fill in the gaps caused by pest attack. Some labels have gone astray. Looking forward to autumn sowing and seed swaps is heartening though. This is a project that will survive and thrive.

Breaking News. Yesterday we heard that we have been successful with a project bid: £10,000 to support Saturday courses starting from 10 April 2021 for 11-14 year olds. Cadent, the project funders, told us that in a competitive field, its title was an irresistible draw: ‘Give Peas a Chance’.

18 June 2020

If you haven’t already seen it, do take a look at the video Pete Brown produced for the Gardeners’ World lockdown garden spot. It provides a glimpse into what’s happening in the community garden. There’s a link to the Youtube clip on the home page of our website: serpentinecommunitygarden.org

Our Secret Garden event, included in this year’s online and socially distanced Fringe programme for information, is fully booked by invited groups. The level of interest is heartening and we are working on offering other opportunities to book visits later in the summer.

Last year we invited hedgehog visitors. Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s group of Nature Tots built an enticing shelter which we diligently kept supplied with hedgehog food through the autumn. We had no takers. This week, digging out clumps of arching carex grass, we uncovered a large, and sleepy, hedgehog. S/He woke briefly and decamped to new shelter for more rest. We look forward to this particular visitor and winter resident to do a thorough tour of the site, taking in plentiful supples of slugs, especial delicacy given their recent diet of young courgettes.

Over the last two weeks, two long standing volunteers have also ventured out of strict lockdown. Their special interests, floral display and composting, have beautified flower beds and livened up out WhatsApp chat immeasurably. How’s this for a learning point: “Brought some of my urine (apologies) to dilute and add as an activator. Important that I’m not on any medication.”  We are living and learning.

4 June 2020

Sunday in sunshine seems a season away. The plants welcomed this week’s sustained drenching. Volunteers erected an additional outdoor shelter and carried on. Benches in the large greenhouse are thinning out as we transplant from trays and paper tube pots into outdoor beds and ton bags. The floor area is filing up though with trays of rough soil improver set out to dry ready for sieving. Demand for compost is pressing: we’re keeping up but coming towards the end of supplies. As a community enterprise we can collect loose loads of heat-treated green waste for free from SUEZ at Waterswallows. The recycling centre is open again for disposal but not yet for collections. It’s one element of lockdown relaxation that we hope is coming soon.

The wildlife pond is at last living up to its name. We only saw one frog but we have two home-hatched tadpoles. They’re joined by a jarful left at the gate (by arrangement). The water is clear and clean: a handful of oxygenating weed brought in by a volunteer has done its magic. We have high hopes for natural slug control next year.

The garden gate economy is a rare pleasure as we continue to keep our distances. This week brought us a new wheelbarrow, a hoe, plastic sheeting and a new pack of garden netting, fresh supplies of latex gloves and sanitiser from the street by street support group, a jar of tadpoles and half a dozen pretty glazed pots.

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