Steve McQueen comes to the rescue again at Hopwood! Yes, look at him go on his motorcycle, not a stereotype Nazi can stand against him, he scoffs at poor soil, churns up clay and brings home the bacon! Movie man voice aside and our Steve McQueen has been made the supervisor of the polytunnel area, this includes keeping an eye on the level 1 and 2 beds, and supervising these students too, and making sure that everything keeps ticking along from the compost bins to the proposed pool for ducks. Yes, we have ducks. This area sits beneath a mature tree and though we have plans to create an annual meadow next year with cosmos and other plants that will fill the area and keep the dogs off, yes we have dogs though they have yet to lay eggs (sorry, confused them with ducks). We talked with the students at the Hopwood garden about how we could start to turn the garden into areas given over to different levels to create 'departments' within a commercial garden way. It also means the students are responsible for production and this introduces them to the economics of growing food.
We decided that there should be a hedge around the polytunnel to give some protection but it was Steve McQueen who finally lead it by marking out the new hedges and working with students to choose the plants for using. Yes, the box hedging is a little tired but a good nitrogen feed (we told them about peeing in a bucket and adding water as a free nitrogen rich feed, they didn't flinch with horror) will sort that out. We decided to go for a mixed hedge because we wanted to use the plants in the nursery, clearing our nursery stock and opening this area for crop rotation for a box scheme.
As you can see the final hedge will create a secluded area for level 1 and 2's to work in, as the hedge grows they will have to learn to manage their boundaries. We plan to plant willow by the fence, weaving it into interesting shapes and soaking up some of the water here. Hopwood has a high water table in parts and we need to deal with it.
The new hedge though will bring windbreaks to the polytunnel and the students when they are working outside.
You will notice when we photograph the students at the Hopwood garden we do so from behind. This is to preserve their anonymity and to safeguard them. All the work on the gardens is being done by these students, and we Life on Pig Row applaud them for listening to us, being patient with us and driving this garden site forward. Thank you.