Ali W here! I paid a visit to the Arthur’s Organics (Soil Association Certified) Walled Garden recently and I must say everything is looking amazing. I’m sure most of you have been enjoying the fresh produce in your box, and much of it is directly from the walled garden at the moment which is fantastic in many ways. Matt Turnbull gave me some really good updates, (as well as some fantastic pictures to go with my own) and it was so good to see the produce looking healthy and tasty. Read on!
Much time has been spent weeding lately, bringing in new techniques as well as just blooming hard work! Our volunteers are really appreciated, and they have contributed hugely to the success of the garden this year. Erica and Clare were busy at work, removing many many weeds, dockleafs, fat hen and more, I’m amazed at how much grows, and so quickly, especially with the weather we’ve had.
Productive surface weeding, and using new techniques to the garden, including a nifty oscillating hoe (see video!), means the team have been able to remove weeds from larger areas much quicker and is simply more productive. Weed control is such a difficult part of the work that’s done in the garden, and as we never use chemical pesticides and herbicides, the weeds are free to grow alongside the produce, and the team are forever removing them. The wheelbarrow of weeds you’ll see in the picture actually looks quite beautiful, however of course we need them in the compost heap, not competing with the yummy produce.
The Cocarde lettuces I saw a good few weeks ago have really grown well, they are a loose leaf lettuce variety for the bags, and unlike some of the other lettuces they seem to be keeping the slugs at bay. We harvest the individual leaves up the stem and lift the growing head off the ground. This helps with slug damage. We are also test planting other butterhead lettuce varieties to see if we can find a flavour the slugs don’t enjoy as much! The large leeks are nearly ready for your weekly veg box, the second succession following soon, and the parsnips were planted quite early this year, so we may need to harvest next week without the usual frost to help make them even sweeter.
Matt’s beetroot experiment (inspired by Charles Dowding) has been a huge success, the planting out in various different sized clumps/clusters really worked well – a productive use of the soil. The harvesting is really interesting, just gently release one from the cluster – the larger cluster of 4 worked the best, which is excellent news for next season – we’re able to fit more produce in smaller space, with less weeds 🙂
Yep it’s approaching Halloween time, and the squashes are looking amazing, some have been harvested already. I’ve never seen such a shiny and varied mix! Blue Kuri, and the Amoro amongst others. The Amoro was the best performing one last year. Crops potentially failing is always a worry, and particularly in organic growing where everything is left to nature as much as possible, so Matt decided to intersperse some beetroot with some of the squash patches to make sure we make best use of the soil in case a crop fails.
My favourite, Sweetcorn, is nearly ready, and the two successions are looking fabulous. The chard colours seemed more vibrant than I’ve ever seen before, and I’m sure most of you have been enjoying the taste too, as we have.
Over in the Polytunnel everything has sprouted up magically since I last visited in July. The healthy huge basil plants are a wonderful assault on the senses – it literally smells of fresh basil in the whole tunnel. I’ve never seen such big leaves on organic basil plants. The huge cucumbers have done really well too, as have the aubergines – both firsts for us! The tomatoes looked interesting and the flavours are really starting to develop now as we move later in the season, and there are some interesting green peppers that we await to see more progress on. The random squash plant that Matt attached to the framework near the roof is huge now with lots of squashes starting to appear – it’s all about making as much use of the space as possible and being creative on how you do that
In the future I look forward to seeing more, as Autumn approaches, so watch out for another update soon. In the meantime, we encourage you to get involved – come and see us, and help out, and you’ll be rewarded with some of the best organic and truly local produce around. Just get in touch via Social Media or the website, which has our phone/email on. Bye for now, Ali W.