We are pleased to announce our next event is coming up on Thursday 29th July. No need to pre-book this time but visitors will be asked to complete a contact form on arrival for COVID Track and Trace and to observe the usual COVID guidance on hygiene and social distancing precautions.
The Annual General Meeting for the Friends of Llanfrechfa Grange Walled Garden, (Registered Charity 1176172) will be held at 2 pm and is open to the public.
At the end of June the No Dig course officially ended. However there are still lots of veg in the demo bed which we will continue to grow on and harvest. In addition the no Dig course participants will continue to receive updates and advice from our course tutor, Cherry Taylor, who will guide us through the remainder of the growing season. We hope also to stay in touch with our fellow course participants so that we can continue to grow and learn together. It has been great fun and very interesting.
Here then, is a round up of where we have got to in Bed #3!
The Spring blush sugarsnap peas have grown to about 7 ft; pretty flowers gave way to lovely juicy peas, which we began harvesting in early June. They are nearly finished though so will be pulled out in the next week or so.
Courgette ‘Genovese’ was planted out under fleece in May. The fleece was taken off after a couple of weeks but the plant was slow to get going. With the warmer weather it is now picking up.
Two rows of ‘Czar’ runner beans were supposed to go in next to the courgette. However they mostly failed to germinate so were sown again in modules and also in the ground. Even these rotted off and in the end we only have 3 plants developing. This turned out to be a problem across the learning set. We think it must therefore be a result of the difficult growing conditions this year and perhaps also poor quality seed from the supplier. (We all used the same). Disappointing!
Next is a row of dwarf french beans, all doing well. They went into the space vacated by the spinach. The spares have been planted in the bed next door.
Beetroot and leeks are coming along from our module sown seed. Ours are quite small still while some course participants already have whopper beets!
The Oregan Sugar Pod mangetout peas have all been harvested and were taken out today. They were delicious and prolific, a great success.
The broad beans have also finished and been lifted. They had quite a bit of blackfly in the end stages but interestingly when pulled out, there were quite a lot of ladybirds feeding off the bounty.
Our first lot of carrots are doing well and have just been thinned out. The second row were sown between the mangetout and broad beans but failed to germinate. Lesson learned – not enough light and space.
Today we transplanted 3 kale ‘Midnight Sun’ where the mangetout and broad beans were. These were started off in a seed tray in the greenhouse.
Carrots, baby broccoli (currently being harvested), parsnips, celeriac and onions are continuing to grow under ultrafine mesh to protect against flea beetle, carrot fly, butterflies etc.
We will continue to post updates on our demo bed. We will also start to think about what we might grow next year using this method. Indeed we have already been applying the principles to the rest of the productive garden in the north east quadrant.
We would like to share the learning and would be interested to hear from our readers and supporters about how we might go about this. If you have any questions about No Dig or are interested in getting involved in this project at the Walled Garden, please contact us using the ‘Leave a Reply’ box below.
Almost all the veg planned for the ‘No Dig’ bed has now been planted out. Here’s where we are up to.
The Spring Blush peas are a tall variety, so they have been planted at the north end of the bed and provided with a strong trellis of bamboo cane and plastic netting to climb up. Unfortunately the first attempt blew over in the storm a couple of weeks ago! Luckily the crop survived.
In front of the peas, we direct sowed (i.e. sowed straight into the ground), a “catch crop” of radishes. A catch crop means adding a fast growing veg that will be finished before another vegetable is ready to go in. It’s a sort of quick fire form of successional planting. These radishes are almost ready to harvest. When they come out they will be replaced by a single courgette “Genovese”, which was sown in a pot in early May and is just putting out its first true leaves in the greenhouse. Courgettes like warm conditions but as this has been an exceptionally cold, windy and wet spring, we will be popping some horticultural fleece over it for the first couple of weeks to help get it established.
Meanwhile the first radishes that we grew in multi-sown modules under fleece, have already been harvested. A row of carrots have been direct sown in their place. This is an example of “successional sowing”, getting two crops from the same space in a growing season.
Our “Medania” spinach has been in the ground since late March and is just going to flower. We are pinching out the flowers to extend the harvest as long as possible, but it will not be long before they are all taken out, to be replaced by runner beans and French beans, which we are sowing next week.
Also in the bed are another variety of direct sown carrots, along with parsnips, beetroot, leeks, broad beans (just starting to flower), mange tout peas, broccoli and celeriac. We will be covering the leeks, carrots and brassicas with ultra fine mesh very soon. This should help protect the crops from pests such as carrot fly and flea beetle. Physical barriers such as fleece, mesh and nets are the first line of defence in organic growing, along with vigilance against slugs and snails, as chemical insecticides are not used.
Our parsnips were pushed up by a mole erupting out of the southern end of the bed. According to the French, the solution here is to drink lots of wine and bury the empty bottles up to their necks to create a wind chime effect. Apparently the moles do not like the vibes. We haven’t managed to drink enough wine for this yet!
The last veg to be sown will be kale in early June. It will take the place of the broad beans later in the summer. And that’s how, folks, you get 15 vegetables into one 5 x 1.1m bed!
The sun is shining at last and it’s all systems go on the No Dig veg course, so now seems like a good time to share an update.
Nice healthy looking spinach sown 13th Feb
Seed sowing for the course got underway in mid February. Our first sowings were radishes, spinach, broad beans and broccoli. Radishes and spinach were sown in clumps of 3-5 seeds per small (3cm) modules. Broad beans went in modules individually and the broccoli was sown in a seed tray and then pricked out to modules once the first seed leaves came through. The seed trays were all transferred to heated propagators in the shed to germinate and then brought out into the light of the greenhouse as soon as they emerged.
The radishes have since been planted out under horticultural fleece and the broad beans joined them today. The radishes are looking healthy and putting out some new leaves but one or two plants have a few nibbles – on the lookout for the culprit, but didn’t find him today! Probably slug.
Multi-sown radishes with a few nibbles!
Broad beans planted out today.
Seedlings still in the greenhouse for now.
In the meantime, we have also sown beetroot, mangetout and Spring blush peas. These have been done as multi-sow groups too; 4 per module for the beetroot and 3 per module for the peas. Celeriac was next and has been sown on the surface into a seed tray. The celeriac is the only one we are waiting on for germination at the moment.
So, that’s it for the time being. The spinach and broccoli should be going into the ground soon and the carrots will be sown direct in the next week or so.