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Growing Awareness - making the beds

Growing Awareness - making the beds

Published: 25 April 2018

Welcome to the first of our regular articles with our (new) Head Gardener Bryony Middleton.

She'll be talking about the work we do in Sharpham's organic gardens and offering suggestions that you can use in your own gardens too.



Hi everyone.Bryony Middleton, new Head Gardener at The Sharpham Trust

I've just got here but I'm raring to go and it's a good time in the season to be arriving. Especially in Sharpham's garden.

My predecessor Jesse has spent the last 6 years doing a wonderful job here at Shaprham, and a big thank-you to him to the work he's done. But there's still plenty to continue with!

It's actually a great time of year for preparing the vegetable and flower beds and getting a nice tilth in the soil.

Putting in some organic matter right now, like well-rotted manure or compost, is really important.
This adds nutrients to the soil and in an organic garden that's the main way for incorporating nutrients, as opposed to using fertilisers. It's a good idea to do this every time before you put in a crop.

I call it the Magic OM! Organic Matter.

Manure's good because of its NPK balance: the mixture of Nitrogren, Potassium and Phosphorus.

As well as adding nutrients to the soil, any organic matter acts as a mulch, which is great for soil health. It's taken in by worms and helps to aerate the soil, especially with clay soils (our Devon red soil is a clay soil).

Clay's still good as a soil because it's got lots of nutrients, but you can improve it by adding organic matter.

Of course, it important to dig out the weeds first. But at this time of year they come out easily because of the moisture in the ground. Organic matter as a mulch also helps to prevent those weeds popping up later on.

Elsewhere in the gardens around Sharpham House, the things I'm enjoying as I get to know this place are the Acers and the wonderful Copper Beech on the South Lawn, just coming into leaf.

Anyway, it's so lovely to be here and I'm really looking forward to getting properly stuck into Sharpham's organic gardens.


Find out more about Sharpham's gardens here
 

The Copper Beech on the South Lawn at Sharpham just coming into leaf, April 2018
The Copper Beech on the South Lawn at Sharpham just coming into leaf, April 2018
The Copper Beech on the South Lawn at Sharpham just coming into leaf, April 2018
The Copper Beech on the South Lawn at Sharpham just coming into leaf, April 2018
One of Sharpham's Acers, or Japanese Maples, displaying new leaf, April 2018