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'Crop to Cloth' / 'Cnwd i Frethyn' - April 2021 Update

As the spring starts to warm (despite some recent snow!) and movement returns to our local area we are able to start developing our outdoor dye garden

Thank you so much to all those who have seen the possibilities of our project and donated to date. Our donations remain open and will continue to help contribute to the development of various aspects of our garden space. It was our hope that we would be able to begin building some beds and growing some seeds this spring. Thanks to the help from our website donations we are able to do just that!

Before starting, we needed to spend a bit of time tidying up the space and taming the grass. Sticking to our restrictions of two households on site, we began by getting the grass cut after winter. The before picture on the left makes it look better than it was. It is currently a bumpy surface that needs a bit of care. Thanks to some help with the mower a first grass cut was done and has made a significant difference. In the coming weeks, we will continue to cut and strim around the remaining areas.

Once cutting was done, we started to review our plans and look at the lengths and widths of our potential beds. We have been able to source long used scaffold boards locally. This has allowed us to maintain our interest in using and resourcing materials locally while also reusing and repurposing materials to try and reduce our environmental impact. This may not be the case of every aspect of the garden but we are making efforts to reuse materials where possible. The scaffold boards are sturdy outdoor timber for the sides of our raised beds.

At the moment, we have decided to build low beds with posts that give the potential to add height and tiers in future. So our bed posts have been cut to accommodate two 'tiers' of scaffold board but at present they will be single 'tiers' - a bit closer to the ground until we can built up the soil in the beds!

As we began to plan the position of the beds we realised that we would need to accommodate the existing bed surrounding the lamp post with the evergreen shrub. By leaving this bed in place we were not going to be able to have beds flank the central path. So we have kept the central path leading to a main bed and created a new asymmetrical plan that is starting to look something like this ...

This plan will maintain the strong 'T' shaped path linked to our name and logo. But also allow for a set of structured beds that will be used to grow our dye crops.

The space around the existing bed on the right of our diagram will be used to develop larger shrubs and hedging to help create a windbreak from the corner. In the long pink ground level bed down the right side we are hoping to grow flax for linen, but will have to see how this goes! Other shrubs that will be appearing in this area include a buddleja to attract butterflies and insects.

The large round ground level bed between the two long raised beds at the top of the 'T' shape will be approx. 4 metres in diameter and have a central pear tree with some other shrubs to surround it and, in future, bulbs for next spring. Daffodils among others.

Throughout this month we will be continuing to develop sections of our plan. It is possible that it will still be changing as we implement our ideas and plan our planting. This is part of the joy of creating, sometimes things need to be organic and develop as needed. Next on the list is planting some seeds and hoping for warmer weather. We hope you will follow along as we provide you with monthly updates on our garden.

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