Preparing for the gardening season

 

There are many benefits to growing own food: it is empowering, connects you with nature at your doorstep, makes you appreciate all the work going into agriculture – finally – it gives you an opportunity to de-stress and focus on the practical and physical.

This year we would like to offer a series of free workshops, dedicated to those who would like to learn more theory and practice of gardening.  We will be presenting demonstrations, hands-on tutorials and theory discussions - perfect for those, who’d like to grow their own fruit and veg, whether in their garden or on a window sill.

The workshops are free and open to all, regardless of the level of experience. No materials necessary – we will provide all the tools and sometimes even little freebies to take home! The events will be held monthly in the Community Garden at Frenchay SU (selected Wednesdays between 1-2pm). Meeting place is the reception Student Union Building 1. Activities will be held outdoors, although we’ll provide covered space in case of poor weather.

****The first session takes place on 7th Feb 1-2pm. Meet us the reception, Student Union Building 1 at 1pm. Sign up here****

During the first workshops we’ll be learning about the following
*introduction: why garden? Gardening and wellbeing
* planning your garden and the year ahead
* indoor sowing

“What can we do in the garden this time of the year?” – you might be asking. Although the gardens in February aren’t quite green and inviting just yet, there are many jobs you could learn in order to prepare you for the season.

Curious to learn more? Here is a list of 6 tips for gardening in winter:

  1. Plan your space. Where will you garden? Indoors – on a kitchen/bedroom sill? Outdoors – on a flower bed or in containers? How much sunlight does your space get? How big are the plants you plan to grow? Consider the above before buying seeds. We will cover garden planning in detail during the session on the 7th February (sign up here)
  2. Start indoor sowing. You can sow seeds in- and outdoors, depending on the plant’s needs and your equipment. Similarly, plants can have various growing seasons length- hence there is no one-fits-all time for sowing - best read the instructions on the packets of seeds. However, there are quite a few plants, which are ready to be grown from scratch in January/February, i.e. sweet peas, aubergine, basil, cucumber, tomato, large onions. We will learn about indoor sowing during the next gardening session on the 7th February.
  3. Visit local garden centres for inspiration. During spring and summer season, most supermarket stock gardening essentials: soil, compost, fertilizers, snail removers, seeds and nursery plants. However, right now it might be worth visiting a specialist gardening shop as they will cater for all your gardening needs regardless of the time of the year. Bristol is home a number of garden centres:


    The Range- Fox Den Road, Stoke Gifford, Bristol, Stoke Gifford, South Gloucestershire BS34 8SP (15 mins walk from UWE Frenchay)

    Riverside Garden Centre - Clift House Rd, Bristol BS3 1RX (15 mins walk from Bower Ashton campus)

    Gardiner Haskins - Broad Plain, Bristol,BS2 0JP (10 mins walk from Temple Meads train station)

     

  4. Get rid of weeds and clutter. Weeding is quite a laborious (or as some might say: immersive) activity, which needs to be repeated regularly throughout the year. Before planting any seeds, remember to remove any weeds! Some gardens would require a more thorough decluttering – e.g. removal of waste and old rubble.

     

  5. Prepare your soil. Now it’s a good time to enrich the soil with compost. You can purchase one from the garden shop of make your own from organic waste (however, it can take a few months! If you start now, you’ll be able to use it in the late spring) or even coffee grounds!

     

  6. Plant flower bulbs. Although bulbs are usually planted during autumn, you can still do it in late winter! Try daffodils, tulips or hyacinths!

     

    Have you got any more tips? Would you like to learn more? Why don’t you pop in to one of our workshops or volunteering sessions (more info here) or connect with other gardeners via our UWE Community Garden Facebook Group