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ORGANICGARDENING IT’S a new growing season and our gardening expert JOA GROWER has some tips for gardeners wanting to grow their own vegetables.

It’s a joyous time for growing edibles


ELL, here we are with have a great deal of time to another growing season spend gardening but would like ahead of us and all that grow something edible, why not gardening to look forward to. But plant a fruit garden. There are where to start? a lot of choices, from rhubarb which is picked in spring, Over the past ten or more years strawberries and blueberries so many people have come to in summer, to raspberries in our nursery (at Yealmpton) or to the autumn. Once planted the market stall (in Totnes) and they will probably only need a asked me what they should be small amount growing in of weeding, their vegetable pruning once a gardens. What year and picking a big question fruits when ever that is! ready and of My immediate course most fruits response is are very easy to how much freeze. space have you Tomatoes and got, and most cucumbers can importantly be grown in large what vegetables compost filled do you like to containers and eat? For those stood against of you with a sunny south large gardens facing wall or or allotments Try something fruity better still in a and plenty of warm conservatory or even a front time on your hands I would say porch. have a go at growing a little bit of everything. Potatoes are fun So many people buy herb plants to grow as it always feels a bit and keep them on the kitchen like digging up treasure when window sill only to find that they harvesting them. A nice job to do don’t last very long. If you pot with children! Onions are also them into a good quality compost a good space filler. However, in a small bucket sized pot and if your garden is only a modest place out side in full sun or space, then I would give both partial shade, they will produce of these a miss, as they are not so much more and should last expensive vegetables to buy. you the whole season. Try to grow things like carrots What ever you choose to grow this season, enjoy it. which taste totally different when pulled fresh from the ground. l JUST a reminder that Growers Garden peas are absolutely Organics nursery in Yealmpton amazing picked and eaten straight will reopen early February 2018 from the pea pod and sweetcorn and our plant stall will also like you’ve never tasted, ideally be back in the market square cook within minutes of picking. in Totnes in February. Happy Growing! For those of you who really don’t

It’s the season to start sowing seeds

NOW is the time to start sowing and most seed packets have far more seeds than you need but don’t forget that doesn’t mean you have to sow a whole packet every time, the majority of seeds will last 2 or 3 years as long as you store them properly in a cool dry place (a sweet tin or plastic container placed in the shed would be ideal). This year when sowing try covering your seeds with fine vermiculite instead of compost. It works really well! Keep an eye on the forecast for frosts as plants in an unheated green house may still need just a little more extra protection. And for those of you growing your seeds on window sills in the house don’t forget that as soon as your seedlings start to come through the compost or vermiculite turn the pots or trays every day, this will help to stop them becoming tall and straggly. Prick out or pot on when the plants are big enough to handle. For those of you who don’t have the time or space to start your own seeds. You can buy ready grown vegetable plug plants. If ordering online do check the size of the plugs as they do vary a lot from company to company. Most garden centres will also stock a small range of them. But better still, if you can find a specialist nursery and buy straight from the producer, not only are you likely to get better plants but also a bit of free advice too if needed. Reconnect’s Organic Gardening column is written by Joa Grower of Growers Organics. Meet her at Totnes market on Fridays and Saturdays. Visit www.growersorganics.com, or call 01752 881180.


Jellyfish – our saved art space


HIS issue we have a success story of local support saving an arts venue that has been an asset to their local community. Last summer, Buckfastleigh’s Jellyfish discovered they didn’t

Inside a jellyfish have planning permission to be a community arts hub and needed to apply for a ‘change of use’ to continue. Thankfully local support has been strong enough to keep the hub open. New owners Leo and Sundara Sofer, and Nathilde, the previous owner, were shocked to discover the venue didn’t have the right planning permission. For four years it had already been publicly enriching the town and local area with art classes, exhibitions, talks, concerts, and more. Leo told Reconnect: “It was a complete shock to hear that Jellyfish didn’t actually have planning permission. We had only just completed, and our plans were now in ruins! But after the initial shock had worn off, we got to work. It soon became apparent that we had a strong case, based on previous use. But what really gave us confidence was the surge of support from the local community as soon as word got out that Jellyfish was in peril. We had so many emails of support! When our planning application went live, over 180 people went to the DNPA site

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to register their support. Reading all of these letters gave us a vivid sense of how loved this little arts hub has become over the years, and what a vital role it has served, and can continue to serve, in Buckfastleigh and beyond.” Now that the venue has the right planning permission Jellyfish will be re-opening in January 2018. Leo adds: “One of the things that most struck us [in reading people’s letters of support] was how vital it has become in the digital age to have places where people can physically gather and find shared interest and make connections. We hope that Jellyfish can serve in this way, with a focus on art, creativity and whatever makes people’s hearts sing. We ourselves will be offering the things that we are most passionate about: storytelling, singing, art and meditation, but we hope also to find ways of facilitating community connections, however that looks. Buckfastleigh already has a lot of that happening, and there’s a lovely feeling about the town. We will contribute to that as best we can, and hope that others will want to come and use this beautiful space too, for their art exhibitions, art classes, personal growth groups, as well as singing, yoga and movement classes.” Nathilde Overrein Rapp added: “Not only will they continue Jellyfish in the way I intended, they will continue the warm, welcoming, engaging space for years to come.” Reconnect wish them both all the best in the future. l For more information on Jellyfish see their website https:// jellyfishartshub.co.uk.


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