Today, Sunday March 6th, four of us went on a factfinding mission to Tatnam Organic Patch in Poole, a “thriving community organic allotment, and an urban haven for wildlife, with many plants and trees introduced to raise the biodiversity.” We were made very welcome and shown round by Mark, who works as a gardener and is very keen and knowledgeable on wildlife – he was able to tell us all the species of butterflies which visit the plot and what their food plants were. He is also a keen forager and we nibbled a variety of hedgerow plants as we wandered around, the favourite being allium triquetrum which tastes like a garlicky leek. Unfortunately it is very invasive and a non-native species so we will have to think carefully about planting it.
Mike and Judy got some good advice on ponds – theirs has a butyl liner, is lined with the fibre we have been contemplating, and is fed the overflow from their water collection system. While I chatted about parsnips and the joys of sociable gardening with some volunteers, the others were shown round the greenhouse with its impressive plumbing. Rainwater harvesting is their only source of water and they have an ingenious system of hydroponics and many water containers inside and out.
They have many of the features we are planning – ponds, bees, raised beds, fruit trees, herb beds, compost area etc. It is all very relaxed and has a friendly feel. The place seems to be run on a shoestring, many things, including their large greenhouse, have been donated, they have a large fenced area where they store donations and it was pretty full, with pots, timber, windows and miscellaneous other stuff. They have an earth closet, which they say is no bother to tend and water is boiled in a storm kettle for tea – we were advised to bring our own mugs and enjoyed a hot cuppa before we set off for home with many things to mull over. Look them up here www.tatnampatch.org.uk
Come along to the next Farm meeting at 7.30pm this Thursday, 10th March in Tom Brown`s to hear more about it and help us plan what to do next on our patch.