We are making a lot of progress with the little garden inside the poly tunnel at the community garden. It is a warm, lush, biodiverse garden in miniature. When the weather is foul, when the weeds outside just get too much to bare, when we need nourishment for our souls and when the grass is taller than little Alfie, we seek solace in the poly tunnel. There, trays of seeds burst into life, holding the beginnings of many future meals; there, lettuces and peas and spring onions and fenugreek and chicory appear to grow inches a day; there, neat rows can be easily maintained in a few minutes and the wind is kept away from plants and people alike.
Come with me and take a peak....
We have used the frame of the poly tunnel to secure 3 vertical "walls" of bird mesh for the peas. Every 2 weeks we have sown a new row, to ensure a continuous supply.
Most (but importantly not all) of the original beds of fenugreek, mizuna and mustard greens have been chopped and left on the beds, once they began to go to seed, then covered in blood and bone. In a few weeks we will plant our tomato, capsicum and eggplant seedlings into the beautifully enriched soil. Some have been allowed to flower and attract a variety of insects.
Eventually the centre path, which was once a compacted, dead section of clay, covered in horrible, black, slippery weed matting will be a source of in-situ compost as explained in the next post. Why waste valuable space when the path can also be an evolving part of the garden!
The salad I ate today came almost entirely from this tiny space and I could easily have picked enough for a family and still left plenty for tomorrow.
It is too small an area to bother keeping plants long enough to save seeds but it is still important to have many stages of life growing in here at the same time. The doors are open at each end all the time now so insects are free to come and go, keeping each other in check. But they will not do so if it lacks 2 things.... biodiversity and age-diversity.
Soon we will begin to improve the other side, which presently is just bench tops. There are plenty of things that would be happy to be slightly shaded by the plants on the wire shelving and the light in the poly tunnel is very well diffused so everywhere is lovely and light anyway. In a small area we must make use of all space, horizontal and vertical, and think creatively about doing so.
Please do come and pop in any time but especially on Tuesday mornings from 10am. Give a few minutes of your time and you will gain so much more than you thought. If you want to pick up some great ideas or ask questions about your own garden or try some new vegetables, do come and have a chat while you toil a little with us. It is so much more rewarding to garden and achieve something, while talking, than just to sit and talk!