Wednesday 5 February 2020

Preparing a raised planter for the new growing season

Preparing a raised planter for the new growing season. Clearing out old plants and weeds and turning over the soil.

Tuesday 4 February 2020

Companion planting guide from Thompson Morgan

Companion planting is about creating plant combinations which have mutual benefits to each other and is a more natural, organic way to deter pests and improve productivity in the fruit and vegetable garden.

 If you would like to learn more about companion planting please visit Thompson - Morgan 

Monday 3 February 2020

Top tips and advice on growing your own from the RHS

If you are not sure what to grow this coming season top tips and advice found on the RHS (Royal Horticulture Society) website here may be the place to begin. Their monthly growing guides cover a variety of topics such as: growing fruit, vegetables and herbs, and growing in limited space such as containers.

Sunday 2 February 2020

How a wildlife-rich environment benefits both physical and mental health

"Evidence shows that a thriving, wildlife-rich environment benefits both physical and mental health. People with nature on their doorstep are more active, mentally resilient and have better all-round health. Every day, we are working to bring wildlife to more people, and more people to wildlife. Get involved and make socialising, volunteering and exercise in natural places central to your daily life". Source The Wildlife Trust website

I have to agree as I have and still do enjoy my time in the natural environment generally and being involved with the wilder side of the Green Heart Den, looking after the wildlife area, watching and  taking photos of the variety of species on the site. I find it very therapeutic and good for my physical and mental well being - Graham

Hopefully there will be more successful crops to harvest this year

Looking forward to a busy growing season

Think my planters need a little more work before hopefully another bumper crop of strawberries

Growing tomato plants from seed

If you would like to learn how to sow, plant and harvest tomatoes Gardeners World have may be able to help you with their free practical growing guide which includes; expert advice and a video guide to planting tomatoes in grow bags.

For top tips and free advice please visit the Gardeners World page here

Thursday 30 January 2020

Some of the successful crops grown onsite in previous years

Why the site required a terram non woven geotextile membrane

As part of the grow your own planning and construction process and a requirement of the land lease a terram non woven geotextile membrane plus anti dig mesh was required to areas planted during the construction process. This included; planted borders, lawn areas and the north banking area. Planters were also lined with the membrane. As it was established before the construction process began that the previously created banking adjacent to the railway line may; hold contaminants, is home to protected species, and would remain unchanged and not be disturbed or replanted in the future the banking adjacent to the railway line did not require the membrane.

Local environmental officers advised that the membrane had to be installed to all areas which would be planted during construction to provide an easily visible separation of potential contaminants from the old ground mixing with the newly introduced uncontaminated soil in the planted areas, lawns and raised planters. It would prevent the upward movement of any potential contaminant particles. As a condition of the land lease care has to be taken not to compromise the membrane and not to disturb the surface of any pathways. Each delivery of imported soil had to be tested before use to ensure it was to the correct standard.

Wednesday 29 January 2020

Free composting workshop at Barrow library 10am - 12pm Wednesday 5th February

Always enjoy my time maintaining the wildlife friendly banking

"Always enjoy my time maintaining the wildlife friendly banking area adjacent to the railway line on the grow your own scheme, hopefully putting to good use the experience I gained during the onsite phase 1 and phase 2 habitat surveys, the reptile survey and from habitat management training and wildlife ID workshops facilitated by officers of Cumbria Wildlife Trust and the Barrow"s Wildside Project. The habitat management training workshops, along with various other workshops during between 2013 - 2015, were provided with funding the project received from The Peoples Health Trust" - Graham

Network Rail currently onsite conducting remedial work to the bridge structure

Wednesday 15 January 2020

Free, easy to follow growing guides from Garden Organic

Free easy to follow growing guides from Garden Organic covering a variety of vegetables, herbs, edible flowers and fruit.

Each individual guide is set out with growing instructions, growing calendar and facts and figures to help improve your growing success.

The growing guides can be downloaded from the Garden Organic website here. 

Saturday 4 January 2020

Exciting time ahead for Green Heart Den in 2020

"2020 will be a year of regeneration of Green Heart Den. Poly tunnel repairs in January along with University of Cumbria planting and lots of exciting partnership working opportunities with Network Rail, The Well, Mind and the complete refurbishment of the garden side of the Green Heart Den. The objective is to recreate a vibrant space for all the local community to use"  - Project Coordinator Ged Pickersgill.

Wildlife gardening with the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

If you are looking for a new project in the garden perhaps you could consider making the space a little more wildlife friendly. The RSPB has some excellent free advice such as which plants can help encourage a variety of wildlife into your garden and creating different habitats.

For more details please visit the RSPB website here.

Gardeners World to tips for a low maintenance vegetable plot

Free advice and practical tips from Gardener's World on how you can produce a low maintenance vegetable plot, particularly useful for people with limited time. Topics include: space saving crops to grow, vegetable crops for beginners, growing in raised beds and companion planting.

Details on the Gardeners World website here

Thursday 2 January 2020

Rusland Valley Horticultural Society Annual Potato Day

On Sunday 19th January 2020, Rusland Valley Horticultural Society will hold the 5th Annual Potato Day in Greenodd Village Hall.This will be a great opportunity to purchase your seed and plant requirements for 2020 with, dozens of species of potato sets as well as onion sets and large selection of fruit trees, plants and shrubs.The event opens at 10 am till 2 pm. Soup and cakes as well as hot drinks will be on sale in the Hall. For further details, contact:

Tuesday 17 December 2019

Making and using leaf mould

Making and using leaf mould:

After collecting fallen leaves place them in a bin liner, moisten them if they are dry, then pierce holes in the bag with a knife or garden fork, tie the top loosely and stack the bags out of sight for up to two years. If you have a lot of leaves you can make a simple heap and to stop them blowing away, build a frame round the heap using posts and netting.

Well-rotted leaf mould over two years old can be used as seed-sowing compost, garden compost and good quality soil for use as potting compost.

Leaf mould, less than two years old can be used as mulch, a soil conditioner, or a winter covering for bare soil.

Our guide to general maintenance tasks

A quiet time of the year, but there is always something to do in the garden

December can be a relatively quiet time on the garden but there are always a few jobs you can be getting on with. For example:

Digging over and prepare your soil for next year’s planting and growing season. At the same time you can add organic matter such as well rotted manure and/or contents from your compost bin.

Cleaning bird feeders, stock up on fat balls and making sure birds have access to fresh water.

Making a log pile or mini beast hotel which will help to provide shelter for wildlife.

Washing, cleaning and servicing all of your garden tools and giving them a wipe with oil to help prevent rusting.

Pruning and trimming fruit trees and hedging.

Turning over your compost heaps to let air in and then covering them with a piece of old carpet or some plastic sheeting to prevent the compost becoming too cold and wet to rot down.

Collecting fallen leaves and adding them to the compost bin and/or save separately to make leaf mould.

Removing weeds and adding them to the compost bin.

Clearing any fallen or diseased fruit.

And from the warmth and comfort of your armchair you could perhaps begin planning for next year.

Monday 16 September 2019

A little early morning maintenance

Cleaning the air box, replacing the missing air filter on the mower and lubricating some of the padlocks.

Sunday 15 September 2019

Signs of autumn from the hawthorn in our wildlife area

One of our inhabitant common lizards on the wildlife friendly area

A year in the life of a common lizard…
Spring - Adult lizards emerge from their hibernation sites in early spring. Mating takes place around April.
Summer - Females incubate the eggs inside themselves and ‘give birth’ to up to 11 live young around July/August. Juvenile lizards are tiny – less than 5cm long – and are darker in colour than the adults.
Autumn - Lizards spend the next couple of months feeding up on invertebrates in preparation for winter. They feed on worms, slugs and insects and give their prey a good shake, to stun it, before swallowing.
Winter - Common Lizards hibernate, often in groups, amongst rocks or dead wood generally between November and March. They may take advantage of milder patches of weather to come out and forage.
Common Lizards are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. It is an offence to kill, harm or injure them sell or trade them in any way

Collecting calendula seeds and storing them for next year

Tuesday 3 September 2019

Free trees from the Woodland Trust

The Woodland Trust want to make sure everyone in the UK has the chance to plant a tree. So they are giving away hundreds of thousands of trees to schools and communities.

For more information and details of how to apply please visit their website here.