Tag: gardening

#wegrowtogether: a guide to companion planting

There’s a lot of wisdom out there amongst professional and amateur gardeners. Much folklore and science knowledge handed down from generation to generation. 

In the post second world war  ‘nuke everything with a chemical’ era, a lot of native knowledge about what grew well with what, was lost and indeed strongly poo-poohed as ‘magic’ and superstition.

Thankfully since then, largely due to the Organic Gardening lobby, a more rational approach and some good scientific studies have been instrumental in making the practice of ‘companion planting’ an accepted practice amongst mainstream gardeners.

In our veg. and herb garden (the Batty Langley), we tend to mix some pre-18th century practices with some modern wisdom. We don’t use chemicals and plant calendula, nasturtiums, borage, comfrey etc plants amongst the vegetables to encourage beneficial insects.

On the Schools plot we have also experimented with ‘Three Sisters’ planting. This is a techniques used primarily by native north american peoples and combines three main agricultural crops winter squash, maize (corn), and climbing beans.

“The three crops benefit from each other. The maize provides a structure for the beans to        climb, eliminating the need for poles. The beans provide the nitrogen to the soil that the other  plants use, and the squash spreads along the ground, blocking the sunlight, helping prevent the establishment of weeds. The squash leaves also act as a “living mulch”, creating a microclimate to retain moisture in the soil, and the prickly hairs of the vine deter pests. Corn, beans, and squash contain complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids and all eight essential amino acids, allowing most Native American tribes to thrive on a plant-based diet.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Sisters_(agriculture)

There is quite a lot of information out there on the web but we thought we would share a guide made by one of our helpful commercial partners, FirstTunnels.

Click here to be taken to their very comprehensive site

https://www.firsttunnels.co.uk/page/Companion-Planting-Guide

 

 

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donkey friend -https://www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/opening-times

Little Donkey doo’s mulch help ..

They say what goes around comes around, well its certainly true for two local charities.

With 10 acres of ground and over 600 species of plants, it takes a lot of compost to keep our soil healthy and productive. So we are really pleased to be working in partnership with the Donkey Sanctuary in nearby Sutton Coldfield.

Naturally, the donkeys produce a lot of poo… on a daily basis. With limited space on site the Sanctuary needs places where they can ‘recycle’ the recycled donkey food. As well as some very lucky allotment holders, Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens are thrilled to be able make good use of lots of donkey  ‘soil improver’.

Normally we add the fresh, straw laden donkey-doo to our compost heap to rot down into nutrient rich earth to use on the vegetable beds or in potting compost.  At this time of year it can go directly onto some of our Wilderness beds to act as a ‘mulch’; keeping in the warmth, suppressing any weeds that feel like poking their heads above the ground and, eventually, improving the structure of the soil.

Today, volunteers Jack, Roy and John kept themselves warm raking and spreading the new delivery from the Donkey Sanctuary. Thanks folks …. and donkeys  #wegrowtogether

Find out how to visit our donkey friends here The Donkey Sanctuary opening times

 

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2000 bulbs to plant….

It’s that time of year again. Can you help us out?

Tulips were a ‘really big thing’ for our Gardens’ founders. In the 17th century there was even ‘tulipmania’; massive fortunes were won and lost by enthusiasts and tulip traders.

These days we’re a bit more level headed, but we are mad about the beauty of our spring borders.

Many of our lovely ‘daffs’ come back year after year and naturalise in the orchard and img_20160331_194725_26185577776_ograssy banks. But like tulips, they need renewing every now and then.

This year we have over 2,000 tulips, daffodils and narcissi to plant before the cold frost comes.

Can you help us? 

trumpetYou don’t need to be an expert, just come and join us on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday mornings next week and be part of the planting team.  We’ll show you how.

We’ll be planting from 10am – 12.30 . on 29th, 30th November & 1st December. Weather permitting. Warming tea and coffee supplied.  Turn up at 10, or contact us in advance.

Plant the little globes full of flower goodness… stand back and wait for a spectacular spring! 

PS There will be a lot of kneeling and digging with a hand trowel

 

 

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De Wit de woooo!

De Wit make garden tools – of consummate beauty

Two members of the amazingly talented garden toolmakers, de Wit, made a flying and unexpected visit to the Gardens today.

My, we’re all of aglitter and aglow!

Sietse and Derk-klass de Wit had just flown in to be part of the GLEE garden show at the NEC, but instead of hanging around their stall they hopped into a taxi for a quick whizz round our Gardens.

dewit-logoDe Wit are a family firm based in the Netherlands, but their exquisite hand forged garden tools are known and revered worldwide. See their stunning site here The Garden Tool Factory. If you follow our facebook page you will see many shared photos by their brother Derk de Wit who takes the most inspiring photographs of gardens.

Special affinity

Dutch born Captain William Winde, cousin to the Bridgeman family, heavily influenced the design of our gardens in the late 17th century, so, Dutch style and quality is a long term companion for us.sietse-de-wit-and-glynis

We sell a small selection of the carbon steel and ash handled tools in our shop,  they are not cheap but they do literally last a lifetime and acquire a handsome patina with use. If there is a serious gardener in your life, here is where you will find that special gift.

To top the day for me, Sietse also offered to support our volunteer gardeners by supplying them with some tools too. Our cup runneth o’er.

 

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