An afternoon out
I took an afternoon off, away from the garden and its volunteers earlier this week when I went out on my bike to visit the staff and patients at St Andrews Hospice on Peaks lane in Great Grimsby. Here at the Oasis Garden, Your Place, we regularly go out to visit groups like this to give talks and to do demonstrations. A couple of weeks ago myself and one of our volunteers went along to give a presentation to the Healing Garden Club and next week it'll be the turn of the Friendship at Home Club, not too far away from us, on Carr Lane and it's at meetings like these that we spread the word about our activities here in the garden. Not that it was the weather for even thinking about going outdoors and doing some gardening last Monday, especially as the snow lay thick upon the ground all over the town.
But still, I cycled to the Peaks Lane Hospice with 40 lettuces in one hand and a half sack of compost and 40 plastic plant pots in my bike basket.
About 8 weeks ago our garden volunteers began sowing seeds in our poly-tunnel. We sowed some leeks, onions, petunias and a half packet of lettuce seed. They're all doing well and now that Spring is finally here they should soon begin to romp away. The half packet of lettuce seeds was bought for around 20p late last Summer during the period when Wilko's had a 75% price reduction on all of their packets of seeds and from only half a packet we have grown around about 250 young plants, all of which have since been potted-on into individual modular trays. It's important that you pot-on your seedlings as soon as they're large enough to handle. If you leave it too long, the roots of the seedlings grow into and twist around each other making them almost impossible to separate without damaging the young developing root systems.
I stayed for about an hour and a half at the Hospice, talking about Your Place and the Oasis Garden.....very few people actually know about our one and a half acre RHS Award winning garden, hidden away behind the terraces on Wellington Street.......and then I showed them all how to pot on the baby lettuces into three inch pots. I must admit that I'm not the tidiest of people and potting on 40 lettuce plants in a Hospice environment did mean that there was a fair amount of tidying up to do afterwards, but everyone had fun. We chatted, shared stories, laughed and smiled and everyone took with them a plant pot containing a living lettuce, which they can then nurture on a sunny window sill until fully grown in a couple of months time.The hope is that they will all be able to harvest these lettuce, just a leaf or two at a time, keeping the plant alive and growing while at the same time having enough salad greens to fill a sandwich or two with some delicious, nutritious veg throughout the Spring/early Summer.
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Growing your own fruit and veg is an important aspect of life no matter what age or ability you are. Not only is it incredibly cheap (250 lettuce for only 10p) but it is also a good way to connect with nature . Watching and nurturing plants as they grow and thrive and sharing the produce with family and friends can be very rewarding indeed and in a lot more ways than merely financial.