February at Windmill Gardens
The Hellebores and Snowdrops are out at last and the first Broad Beans are sprouting, so spring is on it's way. Today I planted our first peas in the polytunnel. We have to grow them suspended in lengths of guttering to prevent the mice having a feast. However snow is forecast for Valentine's Day, so we are not being too hasty.
Our main work over the past few weeks has been coppicing the hedges and using the cut branches for poles or dead hedging. We take the old dead wood out of the hedge first to burn, then replace it with new. We have nearly finished cutting back the totally overgrown hedge at the boundary of our new plot.
Fortunately the man who rents the allotment on the other side of the hedge is a professional hedge cutter, so we hope that he will fell and cut back some of the trees on the other side, which are blocking the sunlight. The pond and bog garden have been full of water for about two months, so should make a good home for wildlife. We are still in the planning stages for planting, but we are collecting bricks for raised beds. We are also preparing the top corner for a grass area and performance space. The corner where the shed is, is going to be used by Growing Forward, Clare and Vic's mental health support project. It will provide a safe space for their clients.
Meanwhile, James and his crew have been getting on with building the outdoor classroom. I think it's looking pretty good, especially the cedar cladding. The walls and roof have been been insulated and lined with wood. They are just putting in the folding doors at the front. James has reclaimed some pine boards from a skip for the flooring, so everything is well under control. We are just waiting to see if we can get funding for the finishing touches, like the ramp and wood burning stove.
So we are well prepared for a new growing season, in another couple of weeks we will be preparing beds and planting seeds. In the meantime we will be educating a class of school children on Friday, on the human digestive system, using home made props. Great fun!