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April Meeting

10 April 2017

1 Meeting of Witney Council members and officers with Volunteer Groups involved in gardening municipal plots
Witney Council members and officers particularly discussed with Volunteer Groups how Witney could win the Oxfordshire in Bloom competition in future.
Concern was also expressed by Council members and officers regarding the Edible Gardening group standing so close to the busy Welch Way in order to cultivate the large raised bed. It was considered that cultivation of the beds revert back to the responsibility of Council workers. No decision was reached.
It was agreed that Brenda should email Polly (relevant Council officer) to suggest that:
(a) we be issued with cones to use on the edge of Welch Way beside the raised bed when we are working there once a month and/or
(b) we be issued with high visibility tabards and/or
(c) we be issued with Danger Men at Work sign/s.        Action: BW

2 Mulching
Brenda led a discussion on mulching which is useful to spread at this time. Primary uses:
Moisture retention
Rotted mulch will improve soil

3 Slugs
Brenda led a discussion on slugs based on Slug Patrol from Spring/Summer 2017 edition of The Organic Way and Controlling Slugs and Snails from March 2017 edition of The Garden.
Only 4 of the 44 UK species of slug are pests. They all clean up decaying plant and animal remains. They are all mostly water and easily dry out. Slugs feed on all parts of a plant.
Slug control methods:
Grow slug-resistant plants. Slugs love Pak Choi and most Hostas.
Slug predators include frogs, toads, newts, slow-worms, songbirds and hedgehogs. Also black beetles, centipedes, leopard slugs and nematodes (Nemaslug).
Beer baited slug traps
Plastic bottle cloches for young plants
Crushed eggshells, gravel or oats as a protective mulch
Copper tape stuck around containers
Electric fence
Removing by hand ie pick them off plants under torchlight. Dispose of them in landfill waste or kill them in the freezer.

4 Planting Plan for larger Raised Bed
Jane’s planting plan was discussed and what needed to be done immediately
Action points:
Plant Purple Sage in smaller raised beds
Dead head daffodils etc
Dig up and discard pansies which were past their best
Display module seed trays (for donations)
Do as much watering as possible
Spread shredded eucalyptus mulch (recently given to Brenda)

Next Meeting    Monday 8 May 10am, Witney Methodist Church Cafe


April 2017


Cotswold Cottage Gardens

The theme set by Witney Town Council this year is Cotswold Cottage Gardens.

We will be growing –

VEGETABLES Broad Beans, Dwarf French Beans, Beetroot, Rainbow Chard

FLOWERS Penstemon, Cosmos, Honesty, Calendula, Cornflower, Feverfew, Geraniums, Alliums, Californian Poppies.

FRUIT Blackcurrents



March 2017

A bit of weeding done amongst the daffodils.




Seed Swap at Cogges.

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November 2016

Attending: Brenda Woods, Christine Goh, Rae Cather, Jane Bate, Maggie Collins, Sheila Peterson, Jill Dean

•    New Member: Sheila Peterson was welcomed. She had enquired about the group when she saw people working on the raised beds in Witney centre.
•    Bark mulch: 2 – 4” depth used at Radcot House gardens around plants which are in danger of being damaged by slugs eg hostas, lupins etc. Slugs don’t like climbing up through it. Can be obtained from Hilltop Garden Centre – ‘’Westland composted bark’’
•    Sequestered Iron for Lupins: Lupins enjoy an acid soil. They benefit from ericaceous feed and sequestered iron.
•    Tree Peony Seeds: Tree Peony seeds were available for people. They looked nearly black, were very hard and were approximately the size of a rosehip.
   •    Achievements for 2016:
•    Growing and harvesting Quinoa. Showing people such an unusual plant can be grown here and what it looked like.
•    Showing passers-by fruit and vegetables growing. Being happy to chat and answer questions about growing fruit and veg generally.
•    To do in raised beds now:
•    Tidy beds. Dead head pansies etc.
•    Dig out angelica and rhubarb (which has not prospered)
•    Offer Water Lily and Pulmonaria plants for a donation.
    •    To do in our gardens:
•    Manure and cover with black plastic – the worms will take it down, the black plastic will stop the rain washing out the nutrients and the plastic will warm up the soil in spring ready for spud planting. Otherwise leave till Feb/March –
•    Collect leaves and store in bags with holes for leaf mould.
•    Tidy strawberries.
•    Plant garlic, aquadulce broad beans, early peas, early onions and shallots. You may wish to plant early onions, shallots, and broad beans in containers to germinate then plant in soil later. This avoids damage from mice, birds and other wee beasties!
•    Meet again 9th January 2017 for festive lunch:
•    ACTION Jane to investigate if we can meet at the Oasis café. Otherwise we may meet at Rae’s house.
•    Next meeting at Methodist Café 13 Feb 2017


October 2016