Week 9 on the VPA Programme

It has been a very busy few weeks on the VPA Programme which has not left our volunteers much time to update this blog so here is a long overdue update!

Jenni Byrne, VPA, on developments at Q Gardens Community Food growing project!

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On site we have had a bountiful harvest of the crops planted by the previous team. The plants harvested include: Pumpkins, potatoes, onions, fennel, sunflowers, celery, beet leaf, sweet peas, runner beans, nasturtiums and a variety of salad leaves and herbs.

During September and October we planted up our winter veg including: Pak choi, spinach, radish and spring onions.

Preparing for winter.

Although we can all enjoy the beautiful golden, rich colours and sharp, bright days of autumn, it does signify winter is fast approaching. The garden has transformed from a flurry of vibrant colours and shapes, all fighting for room in the planting beds, to a sea of wilting green plant matter, ready to be dug out for new life to grow next year.

Everyone involved with the site has been busy making sure the garden is prepared to face the months to come. Lots and lots and lots of seeds from the wildflower area have been collected. These seeds will be dried and bagged up, creating Q gardens very own wildflower seed mix. Once we were happy with the amount of seed collected, some of the team took on the mammoth task of clearing the wildflower patch in order to preserve the degraded quality of the soil (wildflowers don’t like the soil to be too high in nutrients unlike most crop plants).    

Members of the team have been tending to the plant beds, including; weeding, turning soil over, sowing green manure and covering beds over to protect them and hopefully minimise weeds. The two beds closest to the doctors surgery have been turned into ‘fruit corner’, with a variety of different berry fruit bushes being planted, as well as, a fantastically sculpted strawberry bed being created.

Other jobs have included the mucky job of reorganising and covering the growing compost heap. We are hoping that by next year we should have the start of some good, rich, own-grown compost to use to help the plants grow. Some people have been getting their construction heads on, creating wooden borders, made out of old pallets, for the potato beds. Others created a portable leaf cage which will be useful for years to come when the big old sycamore, located almost in the middle of the site, tree drops it’s leaves.