Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spring news

Everything is looking very shipshape in the garden, all mulched and trim and weeded ready to crack on as soon as the temperature warms up. This year the borders along the central axis will start off with wallflowers – they were supposed to be ruby red, but one or two are already showing yellow, so who knows. The weeds are under control, the kids have been digging and mulching, putting leaf-mould over the potato beds ready for the spuds to go out immediately after St Patrick’s Day. The greenhouse is already bursting with seedlings and chitting potatoes and the children have started sowing peas and lettuce. The broad beans and sweet peas are already germinating nicely, and the sweet pea wigwams and cordons, along with the potato and bean structures should be built over the next couple of weeks. Black and redcurrant cuttings have been struck, the chives divided up…. The first tulip just opened up this week, which is a bit early, but it seems to be the only one. Roll on spring.

Our search for funds to enable us to afford a salary to help run the Kitchen Garden has got off to a flying start with a very generous donation from the Hintze Family Foundation. We are very grateful to them for getting us off the starting blocks. Anyone else – or any other company – keen to get involved in our very worthwhile project, we would love to hear from you.

Specialist vacancy filled, more available
We had been advertising for a new team member - we started by requesting a sweet pea expert, and then decided to settle for an enthusiast instead, so welcome on board to David. We expect him to be promoted to expert by the end of the season.
If anyone else has a particular passion (particularly if accompanied by knowledge or a willingness to acquire it) for any kind of fruit, vegetable or cutting flower, please let us know. With the more time-consuming plants it is helpful to have a dedicated person responsible for overall care. So our Sweet Pea Person joins our Lemon Lady, Tomato Man, Mint Maniac, Bean Bod, The Propagator and Compost Queen on the ‘specialist’ ‘staff’. The rest of us remain Jacks of All Trades (and of course the specialists are allowed – encouraged - to do other jobs too).

Pig person required
We are vaguely thinking about borrowing a couple of pigs to help clear the northern walled garden, which is to be a grassy orchard. If anyone has specialist porcine knowledge or knows where we can rent-a-pig (and especially an ark/shed and electric fencing), we would like to find out more.

Open day, plant sale, Sunday 27 April, 1-5pm
Make a note now, we will remind you nearer the time. We should have lots of plants and seedlings, herbs, many different varieties of mints, all home-grown. Also art and children’s activities, and a tea and cake stall. All the proceeds of course going directly back into the garden.

Park news
The project has begun, and over the last week parts of the park have begun to ring out to the happy sound of chainsaws as the first tree felling gets underway. There is a rush to finish the first tranche before 1 March when the birds are booked to start nesting preparations.