It’s hard to believe that it’s three months since Sustainable Didcot’s Incredible Edible volunteers took on their first big challenge and planted up a herb garden in the centre of Didcot. It’s still looking good – staying mostly free from rubbish – and it’s clear that visitors have been helping themselves to the herbs 🙂 One or two plants haven’t survived, but that’s to be expected.
Last Saturday Sustainable Didcot ran a really successful VegCycle event – an edible version of Freecycle – which rehomed a lot of unwanted veg and other food and turned allotment produce into free pumpkin soup for hungry shoppers! Fresh from that success, the Incredible Edible volunteers spent Sunday morning transforming the next section of the stepped planters, this time into a fruit garden.
We’ve been planning this for weeks, ordering a variety of fruit plants that were kindly paid for by local company Go Green Taxis. There was a nail-biting moment, as the plants didn’t arrive until the last minute, but everything came together in time and the rain held off on Sunday!
The first step was soil improvement, digging in farmyard manure and peat-free compost to make a nice, rich root run for our fruit plants. These red and white alpine strawberries were donated, and got popped in to a herb bed that was looking a bit bare.
One bed is planted with currants – from left to right it’s white currant ‘Versailles’, red currant ‘Red Lake’ and blackcurrant ‘Black Wellington’, underplanted with strawberries. The strawberries are a mixture of three varieties that fruit at different times; ‘Honeyoye’ is early, ‘Cambridge’ is mid-season and ‘Florence’ is late.
In the next bed along, two fruit trees – Apple ‘Golden Spur’ and Plum ‘Black Amber’ – are sharing with two patio raspberries ‘Ruby Beauty’ that won’t need much pruning, and their underplanting of strawberries.
Here’s Mark from Go Green Taxis lending a hand with the watering.
And on the other side of the steps:
Apple ‘Red Spur’, Cherry ‘Sylvia’ and dwarf pear ‘Liliput’, with yet more strawberries.
This interesting landscape is also home to Didcot’s parkour (free running) group, who have been practicising around the original planting and will take as much (if not more) care around our newly-planted orchard.
Due to a last minute change of plans, we have more plants than space at the moment. I brought home three ‘Timperely Early’ rhubarb crowns, and I’ve potted them up so they’re happy until we can plant them out next year. We also have blueberries and cranberries ready for an ericaceous fruit bed.
Fingers crossed for a good harvest of fruit next summer!
This blog post was written by Emma Cooper and was published on The Unconventional Gardener website. If you're reading it elsewhere you may want to navigate away from plagiarised content.