April showers, shivvers & sunshine

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One things that has been missing from the garden is birdlife. We put up a bird table with feeders and two types of feed last year and our feathered friends resolutely ignored it. So we moved it to a quieter spot where they still took no notice and didn’t touch the seed even in the bleak mid-winter. Perhaps they were just biding their time or waiting for our water feature because we now have a pair of blackbirds nesting nearby and visiting us all the time. Then last week we spotted a blue tit popping into one of our nest boxes, so who knows?
We may have been accepted at last.

A nursery group has been visiting on Tuesday mornings with their mums for a Seed to Plate course and even though the weather has been cold and drizzly they’ve had lots of fun poking about in the wormery.
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Seeing how popular worms are we’ve now added more ‘wildlife’ by making a little pond area at the back of the garden with frog spawn and water snails and fitted a solar powered fountain to keep the water oxygenated.
The blackbirds were impressed! If you’re wondering how we managed to create this marvellous lake …. this is what it actually looks like.
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On the growing side of things the garden is raring to go and all we’re waiting for now is the sunshine (and not just a random day’s worth either). The polytunnel has proved its worth as a shelter from the frequent icy showers and also as a perfect place for sowing and growing.
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There is hardly an inch of space to spare so the sooner the sun comes out and stays out the happier we’ll be.
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Outside our salad leaves are doing well in the cold frames, the herb beds are reviving and its good to see new shoots on the artichoke plants. We are growing a wider variety of vegetables this year in a more orderly way. Abby has used her organic vegetable growing experience to formulate a planting plan so that we will get the best possible harvest from our growing space. We did well last year but started late – this year we’re better prepared.
The fruit trees are all budding up nicely although there is still the feeling that everything is holding back waiting for warm weather.
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We’ve ordered two special planters from Hastings & Bexhill Wood Recycling for wheelchair users and our pathways now make most of the garden, including the polytunnel, fully accessible to them as well. So please spread the word to any wheelchair using gardeners you know to come down and get involved!
When we cleared old planters away we used the opportunity to clear and weed then sow flower seeds along the street fence edge and the GROW wall. If weeds grow there, so might flowers.

This week we had some great donations – about 30 bags of good soil from a garden landscaping job, a garden bench and an impressive £43 from a whip round at SoCo Arts Group when Nicole gave a talk about the garden! We also found out that we won a prize for our efforts on Big Dig Day last month and have chosen a delivery of compost.

Jan and I spent this morning moving the donated soil down to the end of the garden and raking it over the rough ground in preparation for the sowing of our Wildflower Meadow. Last year’s trial patch was sown late but lasted till November so we are hoping for lots of pretty flowers to provide plenty of pollen for the bees this year.IMG_7515

All we need to grow now are more regular volunteers – so please come down whenever you can, the Kelly kettle is always on the go.

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PLANNING PERMISSION GRANTED

Celebrations all round – we have been given planning permission for the garden and the digger is booked to remove the rubble and level the site next week.Our public meeting will be on Thursday where we hope to sign up lots of volunteers.

There ain’t no stoppin’ us now!

Finally, the sun has come out

We’ve been plotting, planning and potting-on like fury and are still surprised by how long everything is taking. Our planning consent should be through within a week and today we had an informal meeting with local police on the site. They were very helpful and are enthusiastic about the garden and the positive affect it will have on the neighbourhood. Plus they’ve promised we will top of their list to receive compost and flowerpots the next time they successfully raid a cannabis factory locally. It makes perfect sense.

Our final hurdle before we begin laying out the garden is to hold an open meeting for local residents to address any fears they have and see about setting up a rota of volunteers. We realise that we should have done this a while back, but you have to start somewhere and its been a steep learning curve for us too.

The good thing is that the Moveable Feast Garden is definitely going to open in June! All the seedlings we’ve been nurturing will be planted out in the large containers and we will get our own little gardens back.  In mine, as you can see, there’s not even space to sit down with seedlings on every raised surface as I battle to keep them off the ground and out of reach of the armies of slugs and snails that want to come dine with me every night.