After successfully transferring all the germinated seeds to boxes between the three of us, some of our volunteers made a very welcome return after a safe routine was established. A very basic wash station is now in place and everyone keeps to separate pathways.
Having 4-5 extra pairs of hands enabled us to keep on top of the weeding and general maintenance. The germination rate of the seeds gathered was very impressive considering the lack of any real winter weather. We normally assume that between six-ten weeks of cold weather will vernalise the seeds. They certainly didn't get this, but it didn't impact on germination rates...rather the opposite!
We are still splitting our volunteers between tuesday and friday. The plants are getting double the attention they normally receive, which can only be a good thing.
During the summer heatwave we shade netted everything and watered for hours at a time, twice per week, just to keep the seedlings alive.
Regular applications of seaweed fertiliser on the seedling beds, plus nettle fertiliser on the more mature plants have certainly helped. A wood chip mulch on the sales beds inhibited a lot of weeds and thereby lessening the workload.
The meadow has only recently been strimmed. Prior to the strimming, at the height of summer, it was a 2-3 feet high swathe of summer flowers. Lovely to sit in this oasis of calm, listening to birdsound and surrounded by nature at its finest.
Seed gathering has been underway since July, with the bulk still to be gathered this Autumn. Our regular work continues during this extraordinary year.