Families Go Wild in the Garden!
It may be winter, but there’s still work to do in the garden! This week we prepared one of our vegetable beds for planting later on in the year.
The raised bed was full of perennial kale plants, which were quite overgrown and woody. We decided we could use the space to grow different vegetables this year, as there is plenty more of this kale around the farm for us to harvest for ourselves and for the animals.
Some of the sections of kale we pulled out were really long and woody, with roots that reached right to the bottom of the raised bed!
Kale is a tasty and healthy food for humans, and the smaller leaves can be nice to eat raw. Some of us tried it and enjoyed eating it!
Once we had removed the kale from the raised bed, we also got to removing some other weeds that were growing there. We found a lot of couch grass, which can be an annoying weed! We learned how it spreads, and that many people find it hard to get rid of. We also learned that is has been used historically for medicinal purposes, but there is not sufficient data to support its benefits.
While removing the couch grass, we used forks, spades and trowels to turn the soil, so we could find its roots, and so we could introduce some air into the soil, as it can become compacted after a while.
As well as a good food for humans, kale is a tasty treat for some of the animals on the farm! Once we had pulled it and the weeds out of the bed, we went to visit the goats to give them a taste!
The rest of the kale went to the muck heap, where along with animal manure and other plant waste, it will break down over time and become nutritious compost for us to use in the garden!
While some volunteers emptied the kale into the muck heap, the others put the tools we had used back in the tool shed, before we completed our final task for the day.
Some months ago, some family volunteers took cuttings of rosemary and sage from the sensory garden. Recently, the roots have been outgrowing the pots they were in, so it was time to pot them on. Our family volunteers did a great job of it. First they had to break apart the clumps of compost. They then learned how to gently remove the cuttings from their pots without disturbing the roots, and transferred them to larger pots, adding more compost. The last step, correctly suggested by the volunteers, was watering, and then tidying up the excess compost.
But that was not all! Once all the jobs were done, there was a spontaneous dance display, featuring some expert flossing and dabbing, and sharing of snacks between the volunteers. Never a dull day!