Thursday, 15 May 2014

Back to the LCI !

It sure took it's precious time, but I think it's safe to say spring is here. That longest winter of our lives is past and left us with a short spring to bring our garden to life. But have no fear! Plenty of help and enthusiasm is bring Lakeshore Colligiate back to life and we've already made some major progress!

The cover crops did what they said they'd do

Spanning from late summer to late fall, a variety of cover crops were sown to protect our garden beds over the winter. Buckwheat, vetch, alfalfa, oats, winter rye and clover had all been sown with various outcomes. The basic strategies of cover cropping are as follows:
  1. Reducing erosion and the impact of wind and water passing over the soil surface
  2. Adding organic matter to soil to improve structure and condition soil
  3. May suppress weeds by competing for light, water and nutrients
  4. Legume cover crops add symbiotically-fixed nitrogen to the soil
  5. Crops growing late in the season can capture and "recycle" soluble nutrients otherwise lost
  6. Providing cropping system diversity may create habitats for beneficial insects
Buckwheat mulching and protecting the beds



The oats were well established  

The vetch created a beautiful mulch!

Wheel-hoe point-of-view: tilling in the winter rye without gas

Mmmm, look at all that biomass


 BEE HOTEL!

We all know about honey bees and how great they are for the garden, but did you know that there are over 200 species of solitary bees? Solitary bees are the unsung bee heroes: they don't swarm, they pollinate the garden, and they rarely sting. These solo bees do not live in a hive with a colony but  instead make little burrows as homes where ever they can find them. To attract them we made a bee hotel, a small habitat for them to live.





We gathered the loads of scrap wood and pallets laying around in the garden and took it over to the wood working shop...





...cut up the pieces of wood and drilled holes into it





The holes must vary between 2mm and 10mm to suit a variety of bee guests. 


Any materials can be used for the bee hotel: wood, rocks, terracotta pots, straw, bamboo, twigs, tree branches


More on Lakeshore soon! If you're interested in volunteering, contact Aga at LCIgarden@gmail.com
xoxoxo


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