Hellooooo everyone and sorry we have been rather quiet on the round-robins for the past month or so. I'm afraid it's just been a case of being out of synch after Christmas and trying to get back into the swing of things.
But although we've been a bit tardy when it comes to communication we haven't been letting the crisp January weather stop us in the garden and we have been busy both behind the scenes and with spade in hand working on getting everything shipshape for the Spring.
Over the past few months our hardy members have been digging over all the beds in readiness for the spring planting. We've also been working in the orchard tidying the beds there and our herb garden in particular is looking pristine - it's all been fully weeded and the spiral beds have been edged and tidied.
In the recreational section we have been working on clearing the wildflower and green manure away from the side beds to let the light and air into the beds for all the new growth to come.
And the shell of the roof on our shelter is up. The actual roof itself should be in-situ within the next 2 weeks, weather permitting.
One of the most important elements of our garden is training for our Members so we have been developing some ideas here.
One of the exciting things we have been working on is our Bee Project. With the help of North Fingal Beekeepers and one of our hardworking members John Kelleher, we are now in a position to consider installing beehives in the garden. We have checked out flight patterns etc and found the best spot for hives where the bees can come and go in peace and where our members won't be working too closely to them. Beehives have been installed in the walled garden in the Botanics and it's worked very well so if we plan well and are careful, there shouldn't be any issues. As I'm sure you are all aware, biodiversity is a huge issue for our environment and we really need to nurture and grow our bee population, so this is a very important project.
We have a couple of members who are willing to work with John and the North Fingal Beekeepers on developing and maintaining the hives in Santry but we do need interest from a couple more. Would any Garden Members be keen to commit? It's a great opportunity although please keep in mind, training and basic equipment may need to be paid for separately. However if you're interested please contact us at this email address asap and we'll get back to you with all the info.
If we can get enough bodies to make it feasible over the short to medium term we can push this forward.
One of the other things we've been planning over winter is a Tree Grafting Project. When Head Gardener Martin visited the UCD Orchard last Summer (it was one of the fantastic Green Communities Workshops), he found out that the national collection of heritage apple trees is only being maintained in a couple of locations in Ireland. We would love to try and develop this collection in our Orchard so as the first phase of this ambitious plan we have decided to try and grow as many varieties as possible, grafting trees from rootstock . It's a skilled job and there's a good chance that not all the trees will 'take' but it could be the start of a wonderful new collection and we are hoping to involve as many of our Garden members as possible in this process. It's a great training opportunity for anyone who took part in our tree pruning exercises last year and indeed for anyone who would like to learn more about fruit trees and their care. We hope to do this sometime over the next month or so, so if you'd like to take part let us know. And take a bow, David Howell, our resident Tree Expert who has been so generous with his time and knowledge in this area.
Behind the scenes the Lead Gardeners (Martin, Niall and Tony) have been working on our 2013 planting plan. We are learning all the time and this year we're making sure we're growing lots of things that are popular with our members (garlic and onions for example). It's always interesting to try something new but things like Jerusalem Artichokes and Scorzerona just weren't in much demand so we'll probably do less of the more obscure veggies this year.
We have some great new members who have joined over the last few months and they have helped with all the winter jobs. January is never the most spectacular month in the gardening calendar but we have some purple sprouting broccoli, globe artichoke, broad beans and rhubarb that is coming on wonderfully.
And remember everyone that over the next few weeks we will need to start seed sowing, it will start getting very busy and we will need all you fair weather gardening wusses back to give us a hand!
The Santry Community Garden
Important Notice: All members need to wear sturdy boots/wellies and gardening gloves when working in the garden. Bring wet weather gear and (if we're lucky) sunscreen. And a mug for a cup of tea.
Santry Community Garden
Find out more on our Facebook page: facebook.com/santrycommunitygarden or our webpage: http://santrycommunitygarden.ie