18th Jan to 12th April 2018. Here is a seasonal summary of the fantastic work done by horticultural volunteers at the Kitchen Garden in Marble Hill Park. The highlights of the season have included welcoming Brilliant Play children for regular short gardening sessions, a visit to the Walled Garden at Sunbury, chitting potatoes, welcoming a new community plot-holder, using the covered bed and cold frame to start crops for transplanting, chitting potatoes and of course the continual round of keeping the garden neat and tidy and attractive for visitors. Week by week summaries follow below.
9th Nov 2017 - 11th Jan 2018. Winter is a relatively quiet time for a kitchen garden but there has been plenty to organise at Marble Hill Park, as summarised below. One change for next year will be a new fruit cage to protect the heritage trees and bushes. In previous years we have struggled to keep the netting effective against hordes of hungry wildlife. Of course some sacrifice is necessary and also beneficial for the overall health of the garden and the wider natural environment.
26 Oct 2017 Pics on flickr Eight volunteers were busy today with a variety of jobs at the Kitchen Garden. We took cuttings from lavender and rosemary and moved the large bushes to another bed. This is in order to create more vegetable-growing space in the lower garden for use and enjoyment by visiting children and parents. Some salad crops were ready to harvest and we took lettuce and rocket.
19 Oct 2017 See pics on flickr Tasks for six hard working volunteers included protecting the garlic and onions with micromesh, strengthening the cloches around salad crops, tidying turf edges, repairing a sleeper on the raised beds and spreading compost.
12 Oct 2017 See pics on flickr Volunteer Heather found a pair of scales for the garden, with weights in pounds and ounces. The inspiration for this was not only the echoes of historical market gardens but also the fact that for one week we were without scales when the battery ran out on our more up-to-date equipment.
5 Oct 2017 See pics on flickr The list of jobs for nine volunteers today included harvesting Nantes carrots and the remains of the Shetland Black potatoes; planting Marco garlic and onions for winter; spreading compost on the clear beds; weeding by the fence and clearing earth away from the timber to discourage fungus and rot; mending protection for salad crops; displaying and gratefully accepting donations for garden produce; cutting grass. We discussed ideas for more effective netting of the fruit trees and
28 Sept 2017 There was a varied range of jobs for today for seven volunteers: placing cloches over salad crops for protection, because the pests had begun their work on the larger leaves; harvesting the last of the Scarlet Emperor runner beans, saving seeds from those plants and from Kew Blue and dismantling supports; digging up and storing most of the rest of the potatoes, mainly Arran Victory; turning compost and spread the more mature leaf mould on cleared beds; weeding by the fence; sowing field beans as green manure; planning purchase of onion sets and garlic for winter planting.
21 Sept 2017. See pics on flickr. Aside from the natural signs of autumn - falling leaves, chill in the air, declining sun - the Kitchen Garden has its own indicators: a covering for the peppers and chillis in the raised bed, dismantled runner bean supports, a mounting compost heap, hungrier wildlife nibbling at the spinach and chard which they left alone all Summer, more work to be done with rakes and less with watering cans.
14 Sept 2017. Volunteer Heather organised soil-testing at the Kitchen Garden in Marble Hill Park with samples from four areas of the garden. There had been speculation that the soil might tend to be acid, because we have never added any alkaline feed such as bonemeal and there is a lot of leaf fall from surrounding trees in the park. All the samples were a neutral pH, which is fairly healthy for most of our crops, but we may add moderate alkaline nutrients when we mulch in the winter.