A View from the Garden Gate Project: Glorious Spring Open Day, fresh vegetables, blooms and natural therapy

Spring Open Day at the Garden Gate Project

By Nick Condron

We were delighted with the success of our Spring Open Day on Saturday 4th May. Glorious sunshine and a brilliant turnout made it a wonderful day to remember. A huge thank you to everyone who joined us to enjoy the array of plants, crafts, delicious wood-fired pizzas, nettle soup, cakes and refreshments on offer. And thanks as ever to our brilliant team whose hard work made it all possible and run so smoothly.

We raised the impressive sum of £2,350, making it our most successful spring event to date! This money will greatly help towards supporting our activities and the further development of the Garden.

As May brings warmer temperatures and longer days, our polytunnel becomes a haven for cultivating a variety of salad crops. Lettuce, lamb’s lettuce, spinach, and rocket thrive in the protected environment, offering a continuous supply of fresh, leafy greens throughout the month. Either by sowing seeds of these fast-growing crops in modules or directly into the soil allows for easy planting, while regular harvesting ensures a constant supply of tender leaves for salads, sandwiches, or stir-fries. It’s important to remember to maintain consistent moisture levels and provide ventilation on warmer days to prevent the polytunnel from overheating, creating optimal conditions for your salad patch to flourish.

May also witnesses a transformation in the broad bean patch. The sturdy plants, now adorned with lush green foliage, begin to erupt in a vibrant display of white or purple flowers. These delicate blooms, resembling miniature flags, mark the exciting transition from anticipation to imminent bounty. Beneath their petals, tiny bean pods start to swell, promising a delicious harvest of plump, protein-rich beans in the weeks to come. This floral spectacle is a beautiful reminder of nature’s cycle, offering a glimpse into the culinary delights that await later in the season.

One crop that is ready to harvest now is our asparagus. The spear-shaped emerald green shoots are piercing their way through the soil, their tips reaching for the warm sunshine. These succulent spears provide a fleeting delicacy of the season, prepared in a number of ways. Some of you will no doubt have enjoyed them as a topping on our Garden Gate Special pizzas at the Open Day. Their crisp texture and subtle sweetness harmonising perfectly with the earthy notes of crushed nettles and the creamy tang of goat’s cheese.

This month also brings a burst of colour to the Garden, with roses taking centre stage. These fragrant blooms, a timeless symbol of beauty and love, add a touch of magic to the Garden, their captivating presence and intoxicating aroma a true delight to the senses. However, to ensure a bountiful and healthy rose display, vigilance against pests like aphids and black spot is crucial. Whilst regular deadheading, the process of removing spent blooms, encourages continuous flowering throughout the season, maximizing the beauty and enjoyment these fragrant flowers bring to the Garden.

It’s a great time of year to be outdoors, with everyone revelling in the vibrant life of the Garden. Surrounded by the cheerful hum of bees and the intoxicating fragrance of blooming flowers, our members can immerse themselves in the therapeutic benefits of nature. Whether it’s planting seeds, tending to growing crops, or simply soaking up the sunshine amidst the flourishing greenery, the Garden offers a space for connection, relaxation, and the joy of witnessing the wonders of nature unfold.

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If you’d like to visit, we’re open weekdays from 10am to 3pm. We have a varied selection of potted plants and seasonal vegetables available for a donation and looking forward to seeing you. Until then, happy gardening!