Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Looking after the plants in the Triangle beds

 Our volunteers had taken our eyes off the rapidly growing 'weeds' in the Triangle  herb and fruit bush beds opposite the cafe. This is the  planted space that visitors see as they walk past the cafe and into the park. We can do better. Only one regular  and another occasional volunteer have done much in a few months, clearing the long grass from the winding path through the herb bed. Oh dear! 

The rain really helped everything grow rapidly.

We are now playing 'catch-up' by having extra informal gardening sessions.  

 On  25th May 2021 three volunteers  got down on their knees busy weeding at the Triangle space. They pulled up some long grass under and around the raspberries  and some minor pruning of the raspberry canes so the berries can be seen more easily. As we were still following Lewisham's Covid distancing rules, three was a good number and we brought our own tools.

There were other informal sessions whenever individuals could turn up. As far as possible, plants and twigs were piled beside the hedgerow to make a 'dead hedge' of sorts.

We are now managing the plants better. 9th September and three volunteers gathered to prune the plum (which should have happened in August!), prune back the raspberry canes that had fruited this year and also keep the canes that are still fruiting as the weather is so mild. 

Another hastily arranged session on 15th September had the plum and apple tree in focus. The long grass was raked away and the trees were given a thick layer of partly rotted woodchip mulch. We were careful to make sure to leave a circular space between the tree trunks and the woodchips.

Mulching helps the fruit trees

Mulching will help the trees. Why? 

1. Mulching reduces evaporation from the soil around the trees in dry weather, keeping the roots moist.

2. Rain falling onto the mulch filters slowly through to the roots so they don't become too wet.

3. Mulch can help prevent weeds taking over the area round the tree. Weeds can compete with the tree roots for nutrients

4.Wood chips around trees can support  mycorrhizal fungi. These  fungi  are helpful to the tree roots

5. When wood chips have rotted down they are good for improving the soil.

Plenty of good reasons then? The orchard trees get the same care and attention.