Whoa, these last two months have sped by! We’ve had our hands full! February might have seemed a continuation of wintery slowness, but things started to pick up. We carried on with the various clearing, tidying and fixing jobs so that we’d be ready for the sowing and planting when the time came. Bill and Martin started building upright frames out of pallets – they will be covered with polythene sheets to provide more space for tomatoes.
In our last blog, we talked about how we sorted seeds and put in an order with Garden Organic, and we’re happy to say they have arrived! We’ve also got some extra herb seeds from the Wildflower Shop. We’ve been busily sowing these seeds, and planting onion and garlic sets, from February onwards – most of them indoors, in trays (kept in the polytunnel and in the two cold frames), but some also outdoors (roots – parsnips etc.)
It all got a little hectic and confusing so we decided to have a garden planning meeting to get our heads around our big list of tasks. We met on 2 March and talked mostly about how to stay on top of our sowing schedule. We realised that because we sorted our seeds into bundles, organised by the month in which they need to be sown, this is actually not that difficult – at the beginning of every session we now look at what we’ve got left in the box for the current month, see what’s still left to be sown, and make sure things are coming up as planned. And because our system of keeping a record of what we do in a set of colourful notebooks works really well, we seem to be doing ok for the moment. Phew!
Although we’ve lost some beans and peas to, by the look of it, an industrious mouse which was undeterred by our netting, we managed to replace them (and fix our nets) so hopefully we’ll have plenty of seedlings to put into the ground over the next couple of months.
Our intrepid volunteers have been steadily helpful, and we’ve had some guest volunteers as well – a great visit from the very hardworking green-fingered members of the Oxford University’s Islamic Society, and a group of enthusiastic, eco-minded architecture students from Oxford Brookes. It was great to welcome them to the garden, and they seemed to enjoy their time with us too!
We hosted three more Incredible Edible courses in the pavilion, and some of our own volunteers took part. One of them resulted in the garden acquiring a brand new Victoria Plum tree, grafted by our volunteer and committee member, Marta. In April, the last workshop of the series will see a group of participants build a cob oven, which will remain part of the garden (and allow us to bake pizzas and veg throughout the summer!)
It’s getting very busy now, what with all the sowing, planting, weeding and watering; and we’ve still got to keep seeing to the various organisational tasks. If you’d like to help with any of these – such as event planning, publicity and social media, funding and budgeting, outreach and facilitation of sessions and workshops, don’t miss our Annual General Meeting, set for Sunday 2 April at 4pm, in the garden. We will be talking about our plans for the next year and how you can get involved, as well as electing three new officers for the organisational committee. Snacks and drinks will be provided so it should be good fun.
We always have fun anyway! Just look at these smiles – could they be any bigger?
MOST importantly, the days are getting warmer and lighter, and so are our hearts and souls! As the clocks move forward this Sunday, our Sunday sessions (facilitated) will now run between 1 and 5pm, and we’ll also start meeting up during the week (Wednesday evenings, unfacilitated) so there’s lots of scope for coming to the garden and being part of the movement for more lovely, healthy, affordable and natural food in Oxford.
So, Happy Spring everyone and see you in the garden!