After a very relaxed week sharing a big house with a garden with just one very chilled out person, things were going to change with three new house-mates (three extra pairs of hands to help with work in the garden though!). As expected, the main initial tension was around the rather small kitchen space and cooking food, but so far we seemed to have found a half-share, half-do-your-own-thing which seems to be working. We’re all very different but we have the love of gardening, good food and nature in common which has already given us plenty of good conversations and laughs. We even had a good team input with our only male’s recent axe injury (ah, all those health and safety talks at work about using tools were there for a reason!), three people to administer first aid efficiently solved the issue of closing up a rather large cleft which I thought would need stitches (after one day, the wound just looked like a scratch!).
The extra three pairs of hands haven’t actually made the work in the garden any less, in fact, it definitely seems we are doing more work but it is for sure making it more interesting. Some of the things achieved this week at the project garden: sieved some decomposed cow manure and placed it in new beds after forking over and weeding, sowed beetroot seeds, performed a soil survey, planted support plants for young trees (bulbous plants and a Nitrogen fixing tree).
Our home garden has received lots of attention this week as well and it has now changed from a vast area of untidy “weeds” to a neat arrangement of different sized and shaped beds. It has now become a home for young cabbage, tomato, radish and lettuce plants, a wide variety of herbs, and hopefully the right space for spinach, carrot, beetroot and celery seeds to grow into juicy plants and roots.
For me, this week’s “work” highlight was taking part in a bio-blitz in an old disused field, to find out whether it could be turned into some more growing space or rather into a “nature reserve”. Our not too strictly scientific approach gave us many pleasant surprises, from different sized lizards to the most unusual looking spiders, 96 different species of living things in total (there are certainly plenty of reasons towards keeping the space as a nature reserve)! It was definitely great to have the chance to work together with Peter Alfrey and his nephew Dylan, the biggest 13-year-old wildlife expert I have ever met before! Check out Peter’s blog for some cool pictures of some of the creatures found on our surveys. Below some photos of wildlife I encountered both in the survey and just looking around the project garden.