Saturday 4th March 2023
Hi Nathan here, I’m one of the gardeners at the Yeo Valley Organic Garden. The whole team are getting excited as we edge closer to opening our gates again on Thursday 20th April, and begin welcoming lots of visitors back into the garden.
There are lots of jobs to do in the garden at this time of year, so I thought we could share some of the most important tasks the team have been carrying out recently…
1)Cutting back herbaceous perennials, and deciduous grasses. This task is left for as long as possible because the hollow stems, seed heads and leaf litter from last year’s growth are important food sources and habitats for our wildlife. This job can be done later, however, for the Yeo Valley Gardening Team, we need to cut all the dead stems back as low as we can without damaging any of the new shoots emerging from the base of the plants. The Gravel Garden alone generated over 13 cubic meters of waste, which is now steaming away on the compost heap!
2) Mulching. Adding mulch to the surface of our soil is one of, if not, the best thing we can do for our gardens! As we are learning more, we now know that we should be covering bare soil at all times. We cover ours with our own compost. It helps to hold moisture in the soil during the summer, smothers annual weeds, improves soil structure and most importantly, it feeds the soil food web. If your soil microbes are happy, your plants will benefit no end! I could go on for a very long time on this subject, it is fascinating! If you’re interested, I would recommend a book by Diane Miessler called ‘Grow Your Soil!”. Also anything by Dr Elaine Ingham. It’s mind blowing!
3) Splitting snowdrops. After the flowers have faded, it’s time to split up your clumps and replant. Doing this will really bulk up your display. Good sized clumps can be split two or three times and be re-planted ‘in the green’ to begin forming a carpet of beautiful white flowers indicating Spring isn’t too far away
4) Vegetable garden. This year I will be assisting Zelah in the veg garden which I am really excited about. Our beds are already mulched with compost, our soil microbes are happy, and we are ready to go! It’s still a bit early to sow outdoors, but we are busy chitting potatoes, and in the greenhouse we have sown parsley, chillies, tomatoes, broad beans, lettuce and spring onions.
5) Cleaning the greenhouse. We clean both the inside and outside, from top to bottom. Clean glass means all our little seedlings will absorb lots of sunlight and grow into strong, healthy plants. By deep cleaning the inside too, we are limiting potential pest and disease problems.
6) Keeping weeds at bay. As the days get longer and milder(ish!), the weeds will start growing. Pull them up when you see them because tackling them now means less work later in the season.
Well, there are some of the main Spring jobs here in the garden. I hope you found something interesting in this list that relates to your own garden, and you’re able to get out and have fun preparing for Spring!
Don’t forget to come and say hello to the team, next time you are visiting The Yeo Valley Organic Garden, which will be reopening from Thursday 20th April until Saturday 28th October.