By Nick Condron
Outside, the Garden feels very different now the leaves have fallen and the trees are bare. The sun is low and pale in the sky. The surface of the pond still, with no breeze to speak of. Except for the odd bird’s song or the creak of a wheelbarrow, a silence has settled for now.
Sara reports that everyone at the Garden is starting to feel festive, and our members in the art cabin are busy churning out decorations for our Christmas dinner on the 14th. Our dahlias and cannas have been lifted, dried and wrapped up warm for the duration of the winter months. Whilst all our tender plants have been wrapped in fleece, undercover in our polytunnel. In spite of the cold, our tree dahlia is in bloom yet again!
The vegetable beds are being prepared for the next season. We are in the second year of using the no-dig method and so far the vegetables have done really well. Due to the dry summers we are trialling a back to Eden technique of applying a layer of wood chip as mulch. The best wood chip to use should be a year old. This will break down over time and add to the composition of the soil. Over the winter months the wood chip protects the soil from being washed away and in the summer it will retain moisture for growing produce.
One crop we’ve just harvested for the first time is the Yacon we planted at the start of the year. We sliced a couple of the tubers up to sample and discovered it tasted a bit like raw potato or watery carrot with a hint of apple or celery. Although not everyone was convinced, we look forward to using it to add a crunch to our salad combinations.
Finally, we’d like to say a big thank you to the Co-op for their donation of £1,400 towards our new kitchen project. We’d also like to wish all of you a very happy Christmas and a joyful holiday season! We look forward to seeing you in the New Year, and remember… sprouts just want to be loved!