16 April 2015
blog update: I’ve had a lovely morning today out and about on the bicycle around Dunbar and then across country to the old walled garden at Phantassie Farm.
Firstly though, I met up with Mark from Belhaven Community Garden, in the Belhaven Hospital grounds, where there is already an abundance of herbs, vegetables, and willow saplings ready for planting. Potatoes are chitting happily in the warm greenhouse, and Mark has kindly given me Mizuna, Rocket, Fennel, and Landcress for lunch which are all ready for picking. I also have two soil samples- one from their big field beside the traintrack, which has been laying fallow for years, and recently been de-weeded using black plastic, the other is inside the greenhouse, and is currently producing fennel in all of its feathery glory.
This really is a beautiful spot- it exudes a feeling of radiance, and calm productivity- a true community garden. Many thanks, Belhaven Community Garden for your generosity. Then since it was such a lovely day, I ventured out to East Linton where the historic Phantassie Farm still produces wonderful salad, herbs, and veg after 150 years of continuous production. My favourite part is the Walled Garden where there is a 4 year crop rotation of brassicas, potatoes, salads, and other vegetables to keep the soil happy. Lizz, the Head Gardener told me their secret which is in their homespun soil improvement method: compost, green waste, crop residue, hen pen (manure) pigeon manure, and comfrey. This adds a good mixture to the soil which ideally needs an addition of N (Nitrogen) P, (Phosphorous) and K (Potassium) each year. She describes this as the equivalent of Protein, Fat and Carbohydrate needed for plants to grow.
Later this made me think that if we add artificial sources of these minerals they need so much to the soil, it is the equivalent of giving a child a Vitamin C pill instead of an orange.
I have taken a sample of the rich dark soil form the `Walled Garden’ so I have some certified organic soil now too.
Pics below are 1- Belhaven 2 Walled garden Phantassie 3 Polytunnel Phantassie