Garden Notes : May

We have now moved swiftly into winter, with cold mornings and evenings, heavy early dew, warm middle-of-the-day, and some rain.   Early morning garden community work is a wet business but the garden workers continue undeterred and we have made significant progress on clearing beds.  This will be complete by the end of this week, including the Village allotment beds, and most are seeded with lupin and oats.  This should make for a great unprecedented winter show of blue and waving green, with hidden nitrogen workings underground. Other beds are showing germinating rows of turnip, carrots and beetroot, with planting-out to come of leeks and spring onions.  Lately planted cabbages are now hearting and will be harvested soon.  Our spinach continues and should take us into next year.  In the Nursery, lettuces are the main item and we intend to maintain a year-long supply to the kitchen.  Soup will shortly be on the menu, and the long-suffering celery will be harvested, along with the orphan leeks.  The last of the green peppers and aubergines, that have done well within the protection of the Nursery, will also be harvested.   On a quaint note, the Nursery successfully grew Ochra, and now sports a rhubarb corner (introducing exotica to local diets).

The Woodland rejoices in the rain.  One pond (the lowest) has begun to fill.  The Woodland walk is now free to enter without grief.  Wild (Society) garlic appears variously, as do the yellow daisies of Euryops.  Wilde Dagga has returned in its red and white manifestations.  The crimson Cape Honeysuckle is increasing its presence (the yellow is resplendent behind the Guest House).  We await the showings of Spring bulbs.  One notable discovery we have made is that a decision taken last summer not to brush-cut a large “island” within the middle of the Woodland, in order to test if the wild grasses would absorb the sun’s heat and maintain moisture around the tree roots, has paid-off.   Plant growth is much healthier within that area, which is also more attractive.  Now that the rains have returned, we will be cutting and mulching around the trees, but leaving the rest of the areas to attain their wild optimum.  (It will also save on labour, fuel and brush-cutter servicing!)  We are also mulching with reeds and other materials salvaged from the sewage treatment Wetland.   This mulch will be sprayed with EM to accelerate breakdown and its consolidation as mulch. 

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