This Sunday was a very busy day with the church’s AGM following the service. This was closely followed by the opportunity to plant some pea and bean seeds to take home and germinate on all those window sills. Since we don’t have a green house at church this seemed like a good way of using the resources that are available to us as well as giving lots of people the chance to grow their own plants – though we do hope that in a few weeks time some of them will be returned to plant in the garden!
As for the garden itself, Joanne continued working on clearing the Russian Vine and Tony and I continued to work on the first vegetable bed and started a second bed.
After last weeks efforts we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Rev Steve’s TV / phone / broadband cable had been repaired and still occupied the same bit of soil so we were going to lose that part of the bed until the cable gets re-routed.
The next bit of bed turned out have a solid lump of concrete only a few inches below the soil! This wasn’t in the plans! And as Tony cleared the turf off the second bed he found a rock with another cable duct under, fortunately he didn’t cut through it like I did the previous week.
What should we do?
The ideal would be to have raised beds. The soil here is not very good, has loads of rubble in it and is not very deep but we have no funds at the moment to buy in the materials to make raised beds or for compost / soil to fill them. Circumstances and a desire to be regenerative mean that we will have to find a way round this problem.
The soil between the “new” cable and the lump of concrete seems reasonable clear of big stones and looks as if it is about a spades depth before it hits the worst of the clay and stone so we have combined one third of one bed with two thirds of the other bed to make the new bed. The turves that we have been digging up are currently piled to allow the grass in them to rot down so that we can re-use the soil as top soil later. The stones we have been digging out are going to be used to make paths between the short ends of the beds which means that we can lift that topsoil for use in the beds as well. So, hopefully, we will be able to get a reasonable depth of soil. Maybe one day we will be able to raise the beds.
Meanwhile, Joanne had been chopping up all the Russian Vine. Time for a fire! We moved the material onto the bed we had been working on and lit the touch paper. There’s something very satisfying about fires! Although they produce carbon dioxide they are also part of the regenerative cycle. We burnt up all the Russian Vine which we would otherwise probably have had to remove from the site as I doubt whether it would compost down very well, and we burnt the cuttings from the rose tree. The result, a big pile of ash to dig into the bed, a great discussion about biochar, the Zai method of farming used by Yacouba Sawadogo in the Sahel and other exciting things that are happening around the world to regenerate soil and recreate abundance that nature provides. Maybe, eventually, All Hallows’ Community Garden will be part of all this!
So, next we will finish digging this bed and in a few weeks time we hope to plant all those pea and bean plants that are now germinating on the “AH distributed windowsill greenhouse” along with some green manure to help cover enrich the soil. We are still on the look out for some old doors or / and pallets to make our compost heap so if anyone has any to spare please let us know.
If you are inspired to be part of this project then do contact me via the Church Wardens email address or via this blog.