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Compost, strawberry fields and blackberry bashing

There were lots of new faces today. Some people were visiting to see what was happening at our site and will be busy with their own projects and gardens, but some also expressed interest in coming around more often so we may well have some new people joining our regular workdays.

It was a pleasant and sunny autumn afternoon and before long we had quite a sizeable crew working in the garden. Many things were happening at the same time, with one group busy sieving compost (and sieving compost and sieving compost…) while others were planting strawberries in the forest garden area and still others moving blackberries. Fiona had quite a time running up and down the allotment to keep up with everybody and their questions about plants, plans, placement and other explanations.

The strawberries were moved from the rearing frame to the forest garden and are the first productive ground cover that we put in. This year has been all about improving the condition of the soil with a cover of nitrogen-fixing and beneficial bee plants (clovers, lucern, lupins, and borage). Next year the ground cover, bushes and trees will all be fruitful parts of the forest garden!

Next to the new ‘strawberry field’ some blackberries needed to be moved into a sunnier place at the front of the garden – the first planting in the demonstration ‘house garden’ . After digging them out the splitting of the blackberry-roots took some doing. So much so that the whole group ended up taking five to watch people jumping up and down on a spade. This continued until someone had the bright idea to borrow an axe from the neighbours. Now we have a fence full of fancy, frilly, fruity blackberry (it being a frilly-leaved cultivar!). Not only is the blackberry now in a sunnier spot it is also planted nearby our grape-vine as a beneficial companion plant for pest control.

All in all it was a lovely, productive day with a very positive vibe. I had a great time and would like to say thanks to everyone and look forward to seeing you all again! Cheers, Tom

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