Once Paddy came, the information did start flowing. He is the expert of the group and is a good teacher. He has extensive gardens at his house, but due to some spinal issues, he cannot do as much as he once did, even though he has built his raised beds to accommodate his physical issues. He also has people come from all over the world--they learn about gardening and see the local sights. He has a great personality for that kind of thing. I immediately felt comfortable with him and I learned quite a bit just today. He explains things well and is clearly passionate about gardening. I also liked the way he gave us a task right away. I have a feeling that this will be like a fun, hands-on gardening class.
We assumed that this community garden set-up would be a situation where people just come and go when they want and if they happened to meet another gardener, there would be a chat, but it is much more social than that. People do come and go as they want, but there are also get-togethers like the one today. These happen every 3 or 4 weeks and include the very important 'tea and buns break.' Today with tea there were homemade scones with butter and jam and a homemade apple pie. We had refreshments before the flame thrower was fired up.
We were given an outdoor bed and two beds inside the hoop house. Paddy told us that were annual weeds in our outdoor bed, but they would be burned off and in any case, we should not plant anything there yet--nights are still too cold. We were also given two beds in one of the hoop houses. These had been covered in seaweed last fall and then covered with plastic. We were instructed to cover the top with compost from the pile just to the top of the bed and then it would be ready to plant. They use a 'no dig' method whereby the various nutrient providing things get placed on top. The compost was mushroom compost and also had straw, lime, and other stuff in it.They also grow organically as much as possible, which is great! No one will be spraying a bunch of chemicals around. Yay!
So we got a shovel and a wheelbarrow from the shed and started adding compost to our hoop house beds.
|Bill spreading compost|
|our hoop house beds are ready to plant|
|Paddy waiting for the thing to get hot enough--just a small flame to start|
|then a bigger one!|
|Bill and I each had a turn--these beds had tougher weeds|
|Mary doing our bed, which did not have many weeds--she is experienced|
In addition to the practical information, Paddy showed us the communal parts of the garden. There are a few apple trees in the main part of the garden, and a section with a couple of apple trees and various kinds of berry bushes.
|doesn't look like much now, but things are budding|
|future Irish apples|