What an exciting few weeks it has been in the Garden!
Firstly – it’s SPRING. I’m not sure if any of you have noticed this week what with the mist and rain but we have had one or two glorious days and the garden is, if not exactly bursting into life, stretching and yawning and extending the green shoots of new season growth throughout the 4 ½ acres of our beautiful plot. So here’s a quick update on our doings:
The polytunnel has been a hive of activity under the iron gaze of Gaffer Sean who has imposed a bit of order on us all. No more will seedlings be overwatered or let grow straggly and too big for their pots. Although there is one tray marked ‘What Am I?’ all others have been carefully labelled and a home has been found for them. We are staggering our plantings this year as well so hopefully we won’t be left with the ’73 cabbage plants and 2 beetroot’ scenario that occurred from time to time in the past.
The fruit bushes have been pruned, geraniums planted, the beds are dug, peas and beans have been planted out and onions and garlic have been carefully vetted, netted and generally petted.
The first of our potatoes have been planted. This year we decided we will concentrate on ‘earlies’ to try to avoid the disappointing effects of blight that we suffered last year.
We are also agreed that we are going to make sure we have cuttings, veggies and plug plants available for visitors to the garden over the next few months. It will be a good way to raise some much needed funds and means that I can indulge in one of my favourite things; playing ‘shop’ at the grand old age of 46. At present we have summer fruiting raspberries, strawberries and bay available for people to buy.
Work is also starting on preparing for our newest visitors – bees. Brian has designed an aviary and under the expert eye of Finbar and North Fingal Beekeepers who will be overseeing this project we are getting ready to welcome these amazing creatures to our garden. They will be tucked away in a corner of the orchard and their flight paths have been carefully calculated to avoid working areas. Bees are such an important part of biodiversity, they will be a huge boon to our garden and we are hoping to have them in-situ by early Summer.
Our hardworking members can now take their tea under cover – the roof is on the social area! Yay – just in time for all those April showers.
A ginormous delivery of compost arrived last week and we spent hours barrowing it in from the side gate to the kitchen garden. It’s incredibly rich and we are hoping it will last us for the next 18 months – 2 years as it can be mixed with topsoil and sand.
We ran a successful tree grafting day a couple of weeks ago for our members and we plan to do another session tomorrow, Saturday 9th March if anyone would like to come along. Our orchard is going to look really impressive this year as the trees we planted over the past 2 years come into blossom. The almond in particular looked spectacular last year so we can’t wait to see it again.
We have about 5 new members in the last few weeks and have 8 new trees sponsored – not bad going considering the time of year.
The only cloud on our horizon have been the dreaded slugs. They are back with a vengeance this year. But so are we. And their days are numbered in the SCG. We have embarked on a ruthless campaign to eliminate them by setting cunning traps (off cuts of wood on beds) and then, depending on who finds them, they are transported to a new home somewhere else in the park or are despatched to slug heaven where they live eternally amongst a never-ending field of vegetation. A special mention must also go to ‘Café by Day’ in Drumcondra who supply us with mountains of coffee grounds which we use to protect our fledgling plants.
And finally we got some wonderful PR in the form of an article in the Irish Times last Saturday 2nd March. Fionnuala Fallon, a much respected writer who ‘know her onions’ literally and metaphorically came to visit us and gave us a great write up. It’s really wonderful to see that an independent, knowledgable expert has given us such a stamp of approval. She said she will be back to visit us and commended all our members for the work on the project.
Myself and Martin went to a Reception at the Mansion House last night (get us!!) for the launch of the Dublin Harvest Festival 2013. It’s organised by Dublin Community Growers, the group who comprise of all the community gardens in and around Dublin. Many people we met commented that they had heard all about us – so our fame is spreading! I know I am biased but our garden is seen as hugely successful and a model of good practice. This is down to having such a fantastic team of core supporters who have built not only a beautiful tranquil oasis but a real community as well.
If you haven’t been to the garden for a while and are feeling pretty bashful about it, please – DON’T FEEL GUILTY. It really doesn’t matter. We don’t care how long you go away for as long as you come back.
See you soon everyone and Happy Gardening,
Donna and the SCG