This is my first post about my Monday gardening group at Callan Community Garden as we haven’t had many pictures to show you!
I started working with this Kilkenny Leader funded project back in the autumn of 2012 with a four-week, indoor, introductory course that approximately 15 people attended. Of those around eleven signed up to participate in the community garden that I’m working with for the coming year.
As you can see from the picture below, our area is quite small and was very overgrown with perennial weeds when we began. However, as soon as the soil was dry enough and not frozen solid, we headed out and got stuck in.
It might be small but we expect great things! Callan Community Garden
First on the agenda was some serious hand weeding. The bed was chock-a-block with creeping buttercup, dandelions and docks – all indicators that we were working in a clay soil - something we’d already established during the four-week introductory course.
It appeared that no organic matter had been added to the soil since the beds were built some time ago, so thanks to a donations, we remedied that by adding several wheelbarrow loads to all but the area allocated for the carrots and parsnips.
The bed really needed the addition of well-rotted organic matter to help to break down the heavy clay soil
We’ve spent a lot of time preparing the soil for this garden as it was so neglected. Inside the polytunnel our small allocated area was like dust…
The area for the community gardeners, the rest of the tunnel is shared with St Bridget's School & the BTEI Group
At last the weather warmed up enough to plant the chitted blight resistant potatoes, onions, garlic and broad beans.
We use a board to avoid standing on the prepared soil
Today we were able to start sowing seeds inside the polytunnel. As we’ve been waiting for funding for equipment, it’s been a great excuse to show everybody how they can reuse and recycle household “rubbish”. The gardeners have been very inventive but it’s meant that the precious funds can be spent on seeds rather than pots!
Using recycled household rubbish in the Community Garden
Cardboard, plastic, polystyrene and tin - all used for sowing our seeds!
The group is growing chemically free rather than fully organic. One of the advantages of building up a relationship with a local garden centre is they’re more supportive of the work community gardens do.
On this occasion when Siobhan bought the Westland peat free compost, she was given a free bag of Seed and Cutting Compost (most definitely not peat free!)
Westland Peat Free Compost (top) vs Suretart Seed & Cutting Compost (bottom)
We’ve used this to our advantage by running some experiments on the differences and I’ll let you know how they compare over the coming weeks.
Lastly Alma filled the onion section with twigs to stop the birds pulling them out of the ground ~ no those little brown things aren’t worms, they’re our alliums trying to grow roots!
I’ll keep you updated over the coming weeks on how the garden’s progressing. Sign up for the blog posts on the right hand side of the page if you’d like to keep up to date.