Families Go Wild in the Garden!
Today we welcomed both new volunteers and regulars, some who hadn't been to the farm for a while. We spent a bit of time getting to know each other, and catching up on what people had missed. We had a look at different trees on the farm, including elder trees, from which we harvested tasty berries last week! We noticed how the bark of different trees are different colours and textures, and their leaves grow in different patterns.
While we were looking at the trees, we also found some big spiders, and learned from one of our volunteers that they were Garden spiders. The more we looked, the more spiders we found, and we continued to spot them all around the farm!
After the spider spotting, our volunteers mentioned wanting to see if the seeds they had sown weeks before had grown. This was a great opportunity to have a walk around the gardens, and see what tasks needed to be done.
It turned out they definitely had grown! There were a couple of varieties of squash, some borage, and chard. We also saw a couple of small green fruits on our experimental melon plants!
We continued the tour of the gardens until we found a bare patch in one of our raised beds - perfect for planting some greens for winter and spring! In the raised bed there was already some kale planted, some of which had set seed. We investigated the seed pods and kept some to sow in spring.
After weeding the bare patch, we spread some organic compost in the bed, mixing it with the rotted manure and compost that was already in there. We then levelled the compost, using rakes and hand forks. We learned how to make a 'drill' in the soil with a hoe, and took turns to make drills in which to sow our seeds. We then chose our seeds, sharing the packets between us, and sowed them in rows. We sowed corn salad, also known as lamb's lettuce, mustard seeds, coriander, and mixed lettuce. Once they were covered up with compost, we watered them in, and very importantly, labelled the rows with the names of what we had sown.
We then got to some more watering, including the Families Go Wild plot in the community garden, where we had previously planted corn, squash and sunflowers. We spotted a few squashes growing, and enjoyed the pink beard on the corn! The sunflowers looked beautiful, and we felt proud looking at everything growing so well.
We had some time after we had given the plants a good amount of water, so we went up to the farmyard for a while to practise out animal handling skills! Some of us were a bit nervous around Marmite the ferret, and others felt more confident. We took turns holding her in our laps, some volunteers holding her many times, as they really enjoyed it! Marmite seemed to be having a good time as well as she crawled and wriggled around, exploring each person, and even licking some of us! We went together to take her back to her home, and all went to wash our hands, as we always do after spending time with the animals. Then it was time to say goodbye, and we looked forward to volunteering together again.