Breathing Spaces in February

Posted on 30 January 2021

“Where would we be without flowers and trees, they lift the soul.” Dorothy.
We agree whole-heartedly with Dorothy, but it is February and it can seem a bit bleak and bare outside.

Certainly our ‘farm’ flowers are nowhere in sight, especially because we don’t use any additional heat in the polytunnel to force them into blooming this early. Winter flowers are around, understated but beautiful close-up and often luxuriously fragrant (see our Winter Blooms feature http://www.breathingspaces.co/blog).

If you are thinking of gifting some February Floral Love, please remember that many Valentines bunches this month have got an un-romantic carbon footprint, either from air-miles or heating or both. As an alternative you could ask for British sustainably grown flowers. There are commercial growers in Cornwall, Lincolnshire and our very own West Sussex Alstroemeria specialist, Crosslands Nursery, with lots of delightful options. Other artisan growers will have beautiful dried flowers from the summer (not the ones that are sprayed and dyed!). And if you can wait for warmer weather, we still have a couple of subscriptions available for our seasonal flowers and could even rustle up a gift voucher if required!

February/March is the end of the best planting time for new trees – the planet desperately needs more trees and so do we for our health and wellbeing. South Downs National Park Association is kindly gifting us some hedgerow saplings for the site in Sompting where we pick our wildflowers. We want to enable people to plant these with us but obviously that hasn’t been possible in the last couple of months.  With careful management we believe it is a fairly low risk activity, outdoors in a large space, but we are waiting until the Covid infection rates fall further. If you are interested in helping please let us know and we will be in touch in due course. Hopefully it won’t have to just be the two of us putting 200 saplings in the ground! We will register the planting with Countryfile’s excellent “Plant Britain” campaign, which you can also join in by planting a tree at home or at a community space. https://www.plantbritain.co.uk

[email protected]       www.breathingspaces.co

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...the stunts we get up to on our community allotments!!

Planting a Victoria Plum, kindly donated and planted by Natalie, and then collecting and delivering a 1000 litre cube to The Triangle. 

Huge thanks to Worthing Coaches Official for donating a couple of cubes so we can harvest a lot more rainwater this year for our community fruit and veg growing.

...the stunts we get up to on our community allotments!!

Planting a Victoria Plum, kindly donated and planted by Natalie, and then collecting and delivering a 1000 litre cube to The Triangle.

Huge thanks to Worthing Coaches Official for donating a couple of cubes so we can harvest a lot more rainwater this year for our community fruit and veg growing.
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3 days ago

Hi Please share this post to anyone who might be interested in our trees. Warmest wishes Carol from The Birch Tree Project fb.watch/iq2n00b_CG/ ... See MoreSee Less

Hugelkultur, pronounced Hoo-gul-culture, means hill culture or hill mound. We call them Huggies down in Carondelet.

Instead of putting branches, leaves and grass clippings in bags by the curbside for the bin men... build a hugel bed. Simply mound logs, branches, leaves, grass clippings, straw, cardboard, petroleum-free newspaper, manure, compost or whatever other biomass you have available, top with soil and plant your veggies.

The advantages of a hugel bed are many, including:

The gradual decay of wood is a consistent source of long-term nutrients for the plants. A large bed might give out a constant supply of nutrients for 20 years (or even longer if you use only hardwoods). The composting wood also generates heat which should extend the growing season.

Soil aeration increases as those branches and logs break down... meaning the bed will be no till, long term.

The logs and branches act like a sponge. Rainwater is stored and then released during drier times. Actually you may never need to water your hugel bed again after the first year (except during long term droughts).

On a sod lawn we recommend cutting out the sod, digging a one foot deep trench and filling the trench with logs and branches. Then cover the logs with the upside down turf. On top of the turf add grass clippings, seaweed, compost, aged manure, straw, green leaves, mulch, etc...
This one here is a Garlic " Huggie " located in the Forest Park area of St. Louis.
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