Walled Garden volunteers participate in volunteering activities throughout the year.
Tasks during the late autumn and winter months involve laying cardboard over the beds to reduce weed growth and topping with compost, using a mix of mushroom compost and composted plant material from the garden. The beds are topped off with a final layer of thicker cardboard or plastic to prevent any leaching from the winter weather. This type of gardening is called the ‘no dig’ system and can help minimise disturbance in the soil for microbes and worms and reduce CO2 emissions.
This time of year is when plans for the coming season are made as to what vegetables and flowers are grown in certain beds as a five year crop rotation to reduce disease is followed. It is also the time of year when all fruit trees and bushes are pruned. Leaves are collected and composted along with the prunings and any perennial shrubs are cut back if required. Paths are also cleaned free from moss and algae.
An organic system of gardening is followed at the walled garden with the aim to help and encourage as many pollinators and types of wildlife as is possible. Companion planting is carried out as much as possible to maintain a natural balance by aiding pollination and keeping pest numbers down. Some trusted favourites are nasturtiums to deter aphids from eating the bean crops, planting of chives below the fruit trees to deter aphids and marigolds along the vegetable beds to deter other common pests such as carrot root fly.
Planting is carried out during the following timescales:
- Seed planting takes place in the greenhouse with sowing of the pollinator friendly flowers in late March and early April then the vegetable seeds are sown late April to early May
- Seed potatoes and onion setts are planted out in mid to late April depending on the weather
- Young plants are planted out by late May/early June, again dependent on the weather
- Structures for the peas, beans and sweetcorn are made during early May, which are usually constructed of bamboo canes
For the rest of the summer the volunteers weed the food growing areas, edge grassed areas, water and keep everything ticking along as well as weeding and caring for the perennial beds in the other areas of the walled garden. The compost bin is also turned every six weeks.
In addition to these activities the volunteers have an away day trip usually to other community gardens, this takes place in August or September.
Harvesting usually takes place throughout the year but for peas, beans, sweetcorn, onions, pumpkin and fruits this is usually in September and October.
Become a Volunteer
If you would like to find out more information on becoming a volunteer please contact the Volunteer Co-ordinator by email Lisa.email@example.com