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When it’s icy, snowing and the ground is frozen, there’s not much gardening to do!

Dust off snow that’s heavy on branches which may snap under its weight but leave the blanket over plants to insulate them.

Keep the birds coming into the garden by feeding them high-energy snacks.We made bird food from lard, bird-seed, figs and apples and poured it into toilet roll holders to hang in the trees. Birds like blackbirds, blue tits and robins are the organic gardeners’ friend – they eat all the pests like aphids and caterpillars that munch our plants!

Heart Gardener Jo ventured to clear the last of the cosmos which was hit by the frost.

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Another update from the Heart Gardeners!

Friday 19th Nov

We netted the  brassicas (sprouting broccoli and kale) with bird proof netting because the pigeons get very hungry at this time of year.

We spread a thin layer of manure over the soil and we will leave that for the worms to decompose.

We try not to dig in our raised beds as they are full of compost, manure and organic matter, it is better not to dig. If we were gardening on clay straight into the ground we could dig.

We planted a wisteria Iko Yama Fuji which we will scramble up the front entrance of the studio  and trail over our copper canopy.

We also planted tulips and violas in the same box. We have been planting indoors also. Hyacinths and daffodils for Xmas box. We have left them outside at the moment. We watered them and will water occasionally if there is no rain.

We also planted more daffodil bulbs in all the containers.

We planted up some strawberry runners  from the parent plants outside and made a metal hairpin shape to secure them so that they root down and don’t rise up above the surface of the soil.

Friday 12th Nov

We harvested turnips and we cleared out 2 large concrete planters , planted some mixed Cornish daffodils (good nectar source for bees) and topped up with some home made compost.

We cut the hops down to dry to use the greenery for Xmas wreaths. They smell lovely.

 

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Every Friday we have our regular Heart Garden sessions. Originally set up by Art in the Park artists in partnership with Southwark General Practices and health professionals,patients with CHD and long term illnesses can be referred to the project which has an emphasis on friendly, social activities and holistic health. Artist Jane Higginbottom and artist/ gardener Rebecca Scott co-ordinate a range of activities for the Heart Gardeners, the main involving gardening.

We will be documenting the Heart Garden’s weekly sessions which will include expert gardening tips.

Friday 5th Nov

Two weeks ago, they planted crocus and tete a tete into indoor pots so that they could flower for the upcoming christmas. Volunteer Brian and Rebecca underplanted mixed tulips in the bike racks (in front of studio) and overplanted them with winter pansies and polyanthus.

Flower bedFlower bed

They also planted three fruit trees; two plums (‘opal’ and ‘president’) which are self fertile and an apple (‘cox orange pippin’) into large pots. It was not neccesary to have pollinating partners for them as next door’s nursery 1st Place already has some fruit trees. The fruit trees we have bought are all already grafted onto dwarf rootstock, so they will grow well in the pots.

How to plant a fruit tree

1. Plant with the scion (top bit/ fruit variety) 3 inches above soil level so the rootstock (graft – determines size of tree) doesn’t shoot.

2. Soak roots first in a bucket of water (bare rooted plant).

3. Spread roots out by mixing loamy soil with multi purpose compost (can add fish/ blood/ bone or some other organic fertiliser), water well in.

4. Stake with a stout piece of wood (this can be used as a label). The stake prevent root rock when it is windy.