I saw an article in the local paper about a volunteers taster day with the Wildlife Trust at Lower Smite Farm and decided to give it a go. One of the reasons I love gardening so much is the peace and quiet, I don’t tend to mind the fact it can be a very solitary job and hobby. On the other hand gardeners are constantly learning and for this there is nothing better than other gardeners.
We were lucky enough to have a beautiful sunny day and compared to my normal working day I have to say it felt rather like a day off. We chatted, drank tea, ate cake, had a lovely tour of the site and a look round the wonderful old Granary (picture above), oh and we did a little work! It really was a great example of more hands make less work. We managed to coppice a section of hedging and clear through the herb bed in no time at all.
The pictures below show the herb bed before and after.
Lower Smite Farm consists of various different habitats including ponds, wildflower meadows, an orchard, woodland and gardens that surround the farm buildings. It is all about encouraging wildlife and therefore no pesticides or herbicides are used on the site. It is clearly working with a rich diversity of animals, birds and insects providing a wonderful educational experience for all its visitors many of which are young children. I know my boys would love it… the thought of turning over logs and old bits of carpet to possible undercover a slow worm or newts would have them very excited!
Visiting a place like this does get you thinking about the chemicals you use in your own garden. I never use pesticides in my garden but I do use herbicides (Roundup), especially on the Horsetail I have popping up here and there. On one of my previous posts I had a comment recommending vinegar for killing off weeds and this is definitely something I want to explore further. Does the acidity have any lasting effect on the soils pH, what strength of solution do you have to apply to be effect on invasive perennial weeds, how many applications do you have to use, does it have any detrimental effect on the organisms present in the soil?…… Many questions to be answered so this will definitely be for a post on another day. If any of you have used this method before I would love to hear from you.