Monday 17th July 2023
Hello, it’s Nathan here, one of the gardeners at the Yeo Valley Organic Garden, writing my next seasonal instalment of what’s happening in the garden at the moment, which is currently ‘very soggy’!
Summer is in full swing now, and the garden has been busy with lots of lovely visitors! It has been so nice to chat with everyone about all the things we are doing here, but for those of you who haven’t yet made it down, here are some of the things we are currently getting on with…
- Deadheading – Keeping the borders looking fresh by regular deadheading is a big part of our working week. It tidies up scrappy plants, and keeps them flowering throughout the season, which is great for our visitors AND our wildlife!
- Keeping an eye on weeds! – The gardens here are a mix of formal and informal planting. The informal areas, like the Gravel Garden, are a haven for wildlife, so we tend to be a bit more relaxed about ‘weeds’ in the knowledge that some of them are very important for our insects. Having said that, we also take care to ensure they don’t spread too much!
Feeding plants – Every Friday, Lynsey will feed all the pots around the glasshouse and the tea terrace to keep them looking tip-top. She has been using organic seaweed to give them a good nutrient boost. The day is known as ‘Feedy Friday’!
- Watering – Through periods of hot dry weather, we water the pots, veg garden and the cut flower garden. The rest of the garden has to look after itself. Using water sustainably and collecting rainwater in butts is very important to us. Rainwater is also the best water for hydrating our plants.
- Making ‘Fermented Plant Juices’ – We have just harvested our comfrey crop which is used to make a nutrient-rich plant feed. Comfrey plants have long tap roots which suck up nutrients from deep down in the soil, they then store that goodness within their leaves. We have been experimenting with fermenting our comfrey leaves recently. Organic sugar is used to draw out the juices and nutrients from the leaves, and after a week or so we strain off a thick black liquid, which surprisingly doesn’t smell bad at all. This can then be diluted and used as a soil drench, or a foliar feed.
- Composting – All plant waste from the garden comes to the compost yard where it is chopped up and layered into the bays. Each bay starts with a decent carbon-based material (browns) which allows air into the pile so all those microbes can start getting to work. We use twiggy material like Beech clippings or straw from the farm, which the farmers kindly let us have, then add roughly the same volume of nitrogen-based material (greens) on top, such as weeds, herbaceous pruning’s and grass clippings. We repeat this layering process until the bay is full, and then turn it every 6 weeks or so until it has completely broken down.
- Zelah has been busy in the Vegetable Garden clearing out peas and making way for new plantings of squashes, sowing salad crops, weeding, mulching and feeding. The vegetables are all looking fantastic this year!
Well, there are some of the main Summer jobs going on in the garden. I hope you found something interesting in this list that relates to your own garden!
Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to come and say hello, next time you are visiting The Yeo Valley Organic Garden. We are open most Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays until the end of October.
I’ll be back for another instalment of what’s happening in the Organic Garden in autumn, but first, have a great summer!