Bob Shearman chairing Open Forum at Garden Organic AGM

AGM of Garden Organic near Coventry UK, 14 May 2011

Took a ferry to Holyhead and car-shared through picturesque Snowdonia to Ryton, near Coventry for a weekend conference dealing with issues of interest to any kitchen gardener. The venue was the HQ of the Henry Doubleday Research Association, know these days as ‘Garden Organic’. From the `13th – 15th May, the agenda covered issues such as growing without peat moss, the best ways to grow organically and how to qualify as a ‘master composter’. The location is a great place to visit at anytime as it has developed 32 separate gardens with diverse themes and growing conditions on 8 acres. Another 8 acres are used for organic methodology research and the remaining 8 acres is taken by offices, shop and restaurant, display areas, classrooms and a carpark etc.

Now I am home, the priority is to get my composter filled so I can free up space to transplant everlasting cabbage cuttings to this year’s brassica patch. My delay in getting around to this is a bonus for Arthur. the cat, who is taking advantage of the heat emanating from the decomposing comfrey leaves which were picked an d now lie awaiting their incorporation in the composter with the myriad of other ingredients assembled for inclusion to make the next batch of compost.

The legume patch is filling up but it is too early to say what will thrive and what might not survive. Meanwhile Pisum sativum, sold as the Irish Green Pea by Brown Envelope Seeds in Skibereen, Co Cork, needed planting out as their roots and shoots were outgrowing their seed compost filled toilet roll modules. Blue Lake, the French bean variety I bought from Sonairte, the ecology centre near Laytown, Co Meath, are today planted out but the cooler weather could be a problem for these sun loving tender beans.

If some legumes do fail, then the ‘Enorma’ variety of runner bean, bought from the Organic Centre in Co Leitrim, have just been sown in pots in the glasshouse to fill any gaps which occur in the legume patch. Meanwhile some early pea pods are ready to harvest, so guess what is on the menu for dinner tomorrow!


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