The students are back in town, and we're inviting them to come and get their hands dirty. This is a quick update about the going on at Bath City Farm, which will tell you what has been achieved so far, and what's on offer.
If you take a look at the previous post, you'll see that we covered up the space with a weed suppressant cover. Now we're at the stage of turning the space--which is essentially just grass and thistles--into fertile soil. We've gone about this in a couple of ways. To begin with, we asked the advice of two experienced local gardeners from Transition Bath, who pointed and gestured a bit. Here they are.
1) Cut the soil in bricks a spade's width on each side, not too deep. Pile your bricks up (with the grass on the bottom) around the outside of the bed you're digging. You've made a raised bed. Easy. Here's a picture.
If you look closely you can see one wall of the raised bed on the right, and a line of bare soil running up the length of the bed. That stuff growing on the left hand side of the bed is white mustard. White mustard is a 'green manure'. A green manure is basically a non-edible plant which is really easy to grow, and which is beneficial to the soil. It's a great way to improve the quality of the soil over winter: just chuck a load of green manure in, it'll grow like mad, and then in spring you chop it all down and bury it, so that it rots down and makes the soil really great. On the right hand side of the bed there's some rye grass, which is another sort of green manure. Different green manures have different benefits to the soil: I can explain all this stuff in detail to volunteers who come and visit. For now, let's hear about the second really lazy way to turn grass into fertile soil.
2) Cut out bricks of the soil as above, but take particular care to cut the bricks as shallow as possible. You basically want to just take away the layer of grass. Pile these bricks out of the way for a minute. Run a rake over it. Done. Here's one we did earlier:
So now we've got two complete beds. In the raised bed, we're planting green manures. In spring, we'll plant some vegetables. In the non-raised bed (above), we've got nothing. That's where you come in. There's plenty of vegetables that can be grown over winter and there's the space, tools, and expert advice available to make it happen. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can grow food for free.
Finally, what can be done with the spare bricks of soil? Here's one idea: make a compost bin out of pallets and line it with your bricks. All the worms inside the soil will get stuck into your food waste, helping to turn it into decent compost. Ace. Here's a picture. That's some cosy looking food waste.
Okay, enough from me. If you'd like to grow your own food, or have a day getting sweaty and dirty in the fresh air, or meet new people, or whatever, then get in touch with me at email@example.com.