8 Sep 2009

Wonderful garden in Stroud

I had a letter in last week's SNJ regarding GREEN - Gardening for Research Experiential Education and Nutrition - see letter and more here - they have doing research into biodynamic farming - well on Saturday I visited them when they were open as part of the Food Festival.

Photos: pics from Saturday

They had lots going on - but let me start with the Champion composter - some may remember I mentioned Kitchen composters recently on my blog - see here - Kitchen Composters basically allow you to turn all food waste - including cooked foods - into fantastic nutrient-rich material. There are various versions - one of the best known and on display at the garden is the Bokashi system - I am sstill contemplating - I've been offered a wormery compost which I have used successfully in the past so not sure which route to go down at the moment...

Anyhow I should give link to the Food Festival before I scribble anymore as lots happening over these two weeks...

Food Festival Fortnight - see more at: http://www.stroudfoodfest.com/

These photos are from the wonderful 'Green' garden at The Grange in Lovedays Mead off Folly Lane in Stroud. You will see Mike, one of the organisers talking to Mayor of Stroud Andy Reed - every Wednesday people role up to help in this garden - and in the process they learn some stuff about biodynamics - see more regarding biodynamics at: www.biodynamic.org.uk/

Anyway I also wanted to mention research going on by the Good Gardeners Association - another local organisation - see more on their website:
http://www.goodgardeners.org.uk/

They had a fun taste test (see photos below) where you could vote blind between organic, biodynamic and Tesco ordinary tattie - all the same variety - I ended up picking the organic on taste - haven't heard the final result yet!! Anyhow they are also doing research and their website indicates their initial findings using paper chromatography.

Four beds were created to represent different methods of growing food. These are no-dig, single dig, double dig and a control. This disturbs the soil micro-life to different depths so we are able to test this response by looking at the effect on nutrition for the same crops, grown in each bed. This is what they found with initial findings - and hope to confirm later this year:

* In all plots we have higher levels of beneficial nutrients (for potatoes and leeks) than anything grown or eaten since UK records began in the 1930’s - amazingly we have seen the loss of over 40% of key minerals from the UK food chain.
* There are differences in the mineral uptake for each plot.
* There are differences in the abundance and diversity of the soils micro-biology.
* Both soil and crop tests using round filter paper chromatography suggest vitality is good in all plots.
* With a high pH of between 7.5 and 8 it suggests a knowledge of soil biology may be more useful than soil chemistry, if what we want to grow is nutritious crops.

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