Learning to grow your own

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We’ve recently been running adult education courses in collaboration with Dysgu Bro Ceredigion. The first 2 of these have been numeracy based “Gardening by Numbers “ Where participants have learnt to measure out various shaped plots, calculate the are on those plots and then work out how much seed to sow. Their reward for undertaking all of this is to then prepare the area for sowing and actually sow the seed. Last autumn this was a green manure in the polytunnel and this spring the seed sown was a shade tolerant wildflower mix in part of the Dutch Garden. Following on from these courses we are running an adult literacy course, “Apples by the Book”, where participants will have to research how to plant trees and different styles of training fruit trees before planting out apple trees on the walls in the Dutch Garden. Much of this week has been spent preparing the walls for planting of these trees which will eventually form a spectacular wall of fruit running the entire length of the Dutch Garden, overlooking a beautiful woodland glade with Llanerchaerons open pasture beyond.

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If that was not enough we are also looking forward to next Thursdays “Grow your Own” day. The day will be a garden activities bonanza kicking off at 11:00 with a garden tour which will give everyone an opportunity to get their bearings and see what will be going on where throughout the day. Exactly what will be going on throughout the day may be influenced by the weather but morning sessions will include seed sowing (both under glass, and if possible out in the garden) and planting out of young plants (here are some we sowed earlier!). There will be an opportunity to delve into the engine room of the garden (our compost heaps), and learn more about our herb garden. For children there will be seed sowing in paper pots in the morning; amongst the seeds to be sown will be pumpkins. Entrants will be encouraged to return with their pumpkins at the end of October for a special Halloween prize. In the afternoon we will be making mini wormeries for children; whilst adults can here Kevin O’Donnel talk about the work he’s been doing at Cardigan Castle since handing over the reins at Llanerchaeron to yours truly.

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Produce sales have started the year fantastically well. The surprise star of the season has been the poached egg plant Limnanthes Douglasii. This hardy annual is native to California. Its bright white and yellow flowers are attractive to insects, particularly hoverfly which will also eat aphids and pollinate other plants, so it is useful for companion planting in the vegetable garden. It self seeds readily so a poached egg plant is the gift that keeps on giving!

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Tim

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