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May 18, 2017 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley Walled Garden – spring news

Amaranth & pea shoots

Apley Walled Garden is really beginning to show its 2017 crops under the direction of Head Gardener Phil Allen, who has sent me these snippets of news:

Dipping pond exposed: Phil made it onto the front page of the Shropshire Star for his amazing work exposing one of the pair of special dipping ponds in the garden. Click HERE for the full, online article.

Press Release - dipping pond exposed

Wed 17 May 2017: Dipping pond article

Vine eyes: He’s been attaching all our fruit trees with vine wires as they’ve now reached the size that require them. We’re 90% sure the vine eyes were put in at the time of the construction of the wall. The wire has rusted away & Phil now needs 6500ft of wire to tie the trees into shape – wait for it – that’s only on the 4 dividing walls !

Garden to Kitchen: Back on 9 May, Phil took from Garden to Kitchen some of his first spring crops – punnets of pea shoots, amaranth & mustard frills. Yum !

Sat 17 June masterclass: Award winning Thai chef Suree Coates of the King & Thai in Broseley, is holding a Thai cookery masterclass on 17 June in the Walled Garden. Click HERE to book.

Glasshouses: The glass will be replaced on 1 of the glass houses & we will soon have electricity again for the first time in 60 yrs !

General direction: Phil was asked recently by a gardening magazine to summarise this year’s themes –

“Progress in the garden still continues around the original concept, reducing food miles whilst providing great tasting fruit & vegetables delivered as freshly as possible to Apley Farm Shop, cafe & local restaurants. To enhance crop production, the vitamin content & flavour (which customers say is what’s missing in supermarket produce), I rely on a varied selection of annual & perennial flowers & vegetables, compost teas, varied mulches of straw, cardboard (recycled from the farm shop) & well rotted FYM* to inoculate the soil with the right microbes to enhance the rhizosphere**. Simultaneously, we’re trying to reduce, & hopefully remove, some of the weeds & pests which threaten the health of our Walled Garden crops. It’s really using a system developed over 200 + years ago – simplified French market gardening.”

I have to admit I had to look up FYM (*Farm Yard Manure) & rhizosphere** ! Wikipedia says the latter is the narrow region of soil that is directly influenced by root secretions and associated soil microorganisms. The rhizosphere contains many Bacteria and microorganisms that feed on sloughed-off plant cells, termed rhizodeposition, and the proteins and sugars released by roots.

Friday 19 May is Gardeners’ Question Time: It’s fine to just turn up on the night. Click HERE for the timetable  & full details. Phil is one of the three panellists, chaired by BBC Radio Shropshire’s Paul Shuttleworth.

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