April has been a glorious month at the Royal Edinburgh Community Gardens. Sunshine has been in abundance, and, balanced with carefully timed watering, has given us a perfect start to the growing season.
Crops such as Parsnips, Beetroot, Peas, Broad Beans, Garlic, Onions and Potatoes, along with many others, are growing on strongly. Volunteers have been working hard sowing, transplanting, and dealing with the first flush of weeds! As hoped, last year’s tactic of growing spuds over most of the gardens has been very successful, with population of perennial weeds such as Docks and Comfrey being much lower than in areas that are newly cultivated this year.
Many people have taken the opportunity to get out in the weather and give us a hand. Groups from Bruntsfield Primary, Carr- Gomm Scotland, and Greyfriars Mission have all helped out. The kids from Bruntsfield planted Potatoes, pushed sticks in to support the Peas, and took home armfuls of Radishes!
We hosted a Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens networking event, during which work was undertaken on a new fruit tree nursery area. The Columcille Gardens group also joined us for a day, a real treat, as these guys were one of the first groups to muck in last year, and have played a big part in making it all happen.
It’s a magical time of year to be outdoors, of course, and wildlife provides a constant joy during the garden days. The gardens are a real haven for birds in the city, with summer migrants such as Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Whitethroat in full song at the moment. Other highlights this month were a Nuthatch (pictured) calling on the 19th – this is a species that is steadily spreading Northwards into Scotland. A Grasshopper Warbler was heard giving its distinctive ‘reeling’ song during the last couple of days of the month from the scrubby ground at the North of the site.