Follow the progress of NSA Afan’s community garden

28 March 2014

nsa afan community gardenNSA Afan Community Development Centre  U GROW – Garden Blog

Week 4

The weather this week in the garden is not as good as last week, but even though the skies are grey the daffs are still dancing in the wind. Last week our Nectar Bar planters arrived, they are a lot bigger in reality! So it’s going to take a lot of hard work to fill them up with the 8 tonne of soil that arrived last Wednesday, anyone who would like to help fill them up is welcome. Our volunteers attended the Nectar Bar Training on Tuesday here at the centre, we got loads of helpful hints, tips and information about what plants and flowers are best to use for wildlife and pollinators’ from Emma the tutor who came all the way from the National Botanical Gardens of Wales.

Liz and Aaron went shopping for plants and flowers for the garden, they got lobelia seedlings, Begonias and 3 different varieties of sweet pea for the tins on the flower wall and other plants like Hebe’s, Lupines, Clematis, Ox Eye daises, Fox + Cubs and loads more, which the volunteers then potted up in to their new homes. We’ve still got a few more goodies to arrive like Tomatoes, Peppers, Strawberries, a Glam rock Hydrangea and a jewel collection of clematis.

The half barrel water feature is in place and with the solar powered fountain in, it looks the part. We had little hydrangea cuttings donated from June & Leighton Lee (SAVE Committee Volunteers), which look brilliant in the raised planters.

Ten things to do this week:

1) Pick off developing seed heads on daffodils and spring bulbs
2) Cut away old foliage on Christmas roses to prevent hellebore leaf spot spreading
3) Wash off greenfly from shoot tips with soapy water
4) Cover rows of strawberries with cloches to encourage early fruiting
5) Plant early potatoes outside in rows, or in large pots of compost
6) Sow seeds for the following crops outside or under cloches: carrots, beetroot, broad beans, salad onions, cauliflowers, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, spinach, leeks, lettuce, rocket, coriander, mixed salad and stir fry leaves, radish, turnip, peas and Swiss chard
7) Plant bulbs, corms and tubers like achimenes, begonias, gloxinias in pots
8) Pot up begonias individually once new leaves have developed
9) Move plants from greenhouse to cold frame, to acclimatise to cooler temperatures before planting out
10) Repot succulents that have overgrown their containers

Week 3

There is a beautiful sight in the garden this morning; the daffs are dancing in the breeze and the honeysuckle and hydrangea cuttings are sprouting their first leaves of the year! On the down side our compost bin has a bad habit of flying around the garden in the wind. The birds are eating the food as if there is no tomorrow. Our tulips are making an appearance for the first time, as well as the hyacinths, which with a bit of luck will be bright and colourful late next week. On Thursday 27th February at the NSA Afan Communities First “FUNDAY” in the Employment Academy, Dalton Road (old community centre) from 10AM – , we will have a stall where you can make a paper pot, choose the seeds you’d like, plant them up and take them home and watch them grow. There will also be things like the “Food Co-op”, Mickey Mouse, food tasting, a bouncy castle and many, many, more, so make sure you come along! Don’t forget this weekend there are a few things to be done in your own garden, for example:

Prune summer-flowering clematis, cutting above a low pair of green buds

.Cut out dead stems of hardy fuchsias

.Prune all stems of Hydrangea paniculata down to about three buds from soil level

.Prepare areas in flowerbeds ready for sowing hardy annuals in late March and into April, digging over, weeding and enriching the soil

. Sprinkle a handful of sulphate of potash fertiliser around the base of fruit trees and bushes

.Plant new raspberry canes and blackberry plants

.Prepare beds to plant asparagus

.Place tunnel cloches or simple sheets of polythene over beds to warm soil for early sowings

Week 2

The start of February was eventful; the volunteers came in and did a lot of odd jobs around the garden. Christine put up a bird box ready for spring, Simon put a table on top of the bug mansion to protect it from our lovely Welsh weather and Owain and a few others re-built the green house and tied it securely to the fence, only to have it blown away again two days later.

A few additions have been added to the garden too. Liz made a couple of new signs for the bug hotel and for our flower wall, and she also made six or seven little mushrooms out of homemade clay which fit in perfectly. There is also a new cool wiggly five-tier plant pot been made, a funky new cup and saucer bird feeder and we’re in the process of making a new cold frame, (help and wisdom needed to help us with this – please get in touch if you can lend a hand.)

Our hanging baskets and broad beans have not been doing too well, but with the stormy weather we’ve had, it comes as no surprise. Though some things aren’t doing so well, other, like the daffs, are doing brilliantly! Even in early February nearly all of them had heads that were ready to burst open at any time.

Don’t forget to keep feeding your wildlife! They need you more than ever now over these next few months as they start to wake up from Winter. For more information about your own garden, or to help out at the community garden, call down and see what’s here.


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