A gardening journal: No. 2 by Jane
Our Blue Patch garden in Dulwich is undergoing a renaissance after years of neglect.
The project begun in March (link) with elbow grease, weeding and hard pruning.
Then April arrived along with 4 fabulous ex-display Plughole Planters donated by Blue Patch member and award winning green entrepreneur Morgan Griffin.
Morgan’s innovation Plughole Planters take discarded acrylic baths and shower trays that would otherwise go to landfill and create beautiful planters. Each @PlugholePlanter saves 33.64kg of CO2 going into the atmosphere due to eliminating the waste processing of a discarded acrylic bath (research in partnership with Lancaster University, Centre for Global Eco-Innovation) so it only takes 30 planters to save a ton of CO2 emissions!
Plughole Planters are classed as carbon negative, meaning that it has a positive impact on the environment and could also be used for carbon credit.
The baths and sinks can also be upcycled into many things aside from planters. They can be made into drinks chillers, ponds, storage seats, fountains and fish ponds. Imagine how many instant growing spaces could spring up. Plughole Planters are a brand new enterprise destined to create green jobs both in the production side in their new workshop and by fostering the cultivation of local food.
Plughole Planters – the future?
Managing Director Morgan plans to get involved with WaterAid projects in Africa as well as flood prevention in the UK. The bathtubs will work as clean water receptacles, as well as being ideal for growing plants. They are also working on flood defences, using their unique design to regulate the water flow and to prevent the water going into the drains.
Blue Patch’s finished planters in a smart forest green.
The Plughole Planters will eventually occupy a new flagged area across the bottom of the garden, a spot where the summer sun lingers longest.
The project is all about creating a super productive garden where organic and biodynamic food grows, flowers cultivated and wildlife such as bees, dragonflies, butterflies, frogs and toads feel at home.
One thing we love at Blue Patch is learning. Blue Patch want to get into organic and even biodynamic growing. If you’ve come across stalls selling biodynamic produce you have a sketchy impression of harvesting at full moon and potions of ground up horn – but hey, we’re curious. So an element of the garden project will be biodynamic and we’re taking ‘biodynamic baby steps’ and we’d love you to join us.
Naturally we’ve joined the new Biodynamic Gardening Club. The club’s mission is to ‘introduce, encourage and enable as many people as possible to engage with a biodynamic ‘mindful‘ approach to growing in restorative and regenerative ways that help combat climate change and lead to long-lasting positive health.’ Sounds good – we’re in!
The Biodynamic Association are also members of the Blue Patch Collective, which gives us a bit of a family feel given that Morgan’s Plughole Planters will become our biodynamic beds.
A Spoon full of Soil
To kickstart the project we took delivery of 10 bags of Fertile Fibre! This fine, Biodynamic /Demeter Multipurpose Compost is 100% peat-free and for use in organic systems. The compost is a blend of chamomile, nettle, oak bark, yarrow, dandelion and valerian and has a beautiful colour and lightness. Matthew Dent from Fertile Fibre advised us to mix this compost with our own garden soil to introduce micro-organisms and our own earthworms, already living in the garden.
Tip of the month:
Pearls of wisdom from Blue Patch member Liz Fielding:
Give the worms a workout: If you have room for a compost bin, or area, brilliant as you’ll be able to recycle all the waste from the garden and create rich, nutty compost to put back into your plot. Just avoid throwing any persistent weeds like bindweed in there, otherwise you’ll spread it all over the garden. If space doesn’t permit a compost bin, you can still enrich your soil by sweeping leaves off any grass areas or path and onto flower beds and borders. While there isn’t a lot of nutrition in most leaves, by putting them onto the beds and allowing them to rot down, you are giving the worms a workout. And in turn, they aerate the soil which helps to improve things under the surface.
If you’re a gourmet meal for mosquitoes, Liz has the perfect gardener’s gift, a lovely smelling (except to the critters) candle. Buy yours at Denys & Fielding – before they get ya!
Coming up next: The garden gets a design makeover, we investigate cooperative seeds and ways to conserve water.