Community Garden June 22 Update

What a fantastic month to be a grower this has been – plenty of rain, lovely warm temperatures day and night, and not too many scorchers. Everything is growing at an extraordinary pace in the community garden and allotment – weeds included – and we have been frantically picking and getting things into the shop.

This month has seen the wonderful peonies come and go (do we love them so much, partly because of their fleeting nature?), lettuces of all types, rocket, gooseberries, and the first raspberries, which have been a pleasure to grow and pick. The interns from Mission EmployAble have been working hard, mainly at the allotment, where they have been weeding, watering, and picking, as well as tackling one of the vacant allotments which had got into a sorry state – this is a really tough job to do by hand, so we just do a short stint each week before moving on to more forgiving jobs. They have also been making delicious jam which you can find in the shop – proceeds split between the Community Garden and Mission EmployAble.

Some flowers that have been notable for pollinators this month were the allium ‘siculum’ ( a dusky pink allium which I personally think is unattractive, but the bees disagree, and have been all over it), the first borage (adored by honeybees in particular), the last of the phacelia tanecetifolia, and good old nepeta (catmint). Honeybees have had a good spring, and Sue and I were able to take some honey off our hives – you’ll find some for sale in the village shop, with proceeds going to the Community Garden and Mission EmployAble. This honey is not from the community garden bees, as they are a new colony, and need their honey stores for themselves – maybe next year! If you love bees and/or honey, please plant more flowers, including flowering trees – hawthorn, fruit trees, limes (tilia), Holm oaks, rowans are all fantastic for bees, as are so many garden plants – alliums, catmint, lavender, all of the salvia family, borage, single dahlias, hardy geraniums and Asters to name a few. Sadly the bedding plants bred for hanging baskets and pots (impatiens, begonias, petunias etc) offer next to no value for pollinators. Our new colony is doing very well, with lots of beautiful new brood being laid by a clearly healthy Queen
– I have high hopes for them!