Edible Alley Garden Bed

last updated 6-6-12

Job Description- Edible Alley Garden Bed

Introduction

Project description: To design a new garden running down the left hand side of the driveway, beginning from tank verandah display, all the way to the pot recycling crate.

Objectives:

We aim to create an outstanding display of fruit trees that will inspire customers to want to grow there very own mini orchard in there backyard.

If people can physically see the fruit trees growing and fruiting and exactly what space is required for particular varieties, they are more inclined to go and have a go without hesitation.

We want customers to talk about baag with there friends, as the produce gardeners delight and become the destination for them. This garden should hopefully make this become possible.
On top of that the new garden also needs to catch the eyes of those ornamental gardeners out there, and try to convince them to become open to the idea of planting a productive tree, rather than the thoughtless choice of a Camellia japonica or Magnolia Little Gem. We aim to stimulate customers as soon as they arrive at the nursery, so this area is the ideal position.

The benefits for planting produce trees for some are quite obvious. However, many of the general public is only aware of the obvious reasons like, it tastes better, is fresher and fun for the kids. We need to also emphasize the impact growing your own has on the environment.
We should include a few clear signs, with sharp points about why growing your own is a sustainable and healthy lifestyle to get into. It is the best thing you can do to help save the environment. As you are completely in control of what chemicals aren’t used. The water used it far less than that of what supermarket fruit wastes, and you cut carbon miles down by an enormous amount.

Not to mention the hard to get heirloom or named varieties you would never find at the supermarket.
We should include some interesting varieties, to demonstrate what exciting types you can grow at home. Also things that are expensive at the fruit shop, maybe due to short shelf life or having a small but delicious productivity rate, but at home these are obviously not issues. Eg.raspberries, babacos and bushfruits.

We should demonstrate in a way that is achievable for the home gardener and importantly for the nursery, a long term display that does not need to be re-done in two years. We must have plants properly spaced out and not crowded, so that staff and customers can walk along/through, to see up close what the plants are doing and make maintenance and pruning workshops easily accessible.

Materials should preferably be recycled, or if need be new, a sustainable product, so as to not contradict the aims of the edible alley.

The actual design should have a permacultural influence and endeavour to be organically maintained and overall look fantastic!

Maintenance

General Neatness and Tidiness
As this garden bed is viewed by all customers that drive into the nursery, it must always be presentable and set a good example for Baag. Our reputation for being a produce focused retail nursery means that we should also have excellent knowledge and be able to give advice on all sorts of edibles.
The driveway is easily accessed by nursery staff and if they can be confident that they can bring a customer out to the drive knowing it will be an impressive sight, they’re more likely to use it.

It’s important that you walk past each day and glance over, if you see something that’s a danger, you must act immediately, and fix the problem.

If you notice something isn’t performing like it should be, it’s a good idea to way up whether to pull it out and replace it with the same thing or change it altogether. As some of the things in this garden are slight experiments, there’s the chance that things won’t do as planned. But remember also to give things a chance and if you are replacing with alternatives to carefully consider what to put in.
Along the retaining wall you should plant annuals for a splash of colour. Be careful not to plant too make annuals elsewhere as these will increase maintenance levels and possibly become a burden in spring when your already busy enough.

Signage
All signage that is displayed in Edible Alley is your responsibility. If you notice faded, outdated information, or any thing that is no longer relevant, you must make sure that it’s either replaced or taken away. Also be sure to update and change signs to keep the garden evolving and interesting.
Make sure the painted walls and art work are looking at there best and notify Paul if you think either needs touching up. Some artwork that’s for sale is okay to display in the garden, but only allow in what you see compliments the area.

Weeds
As you’re responsible for the garden this also means weeding. Unfortunately not always a riveting task, you should ensure this is done as often as needed. Regularly topping up with Lucerne is helpful at reducing weed growth. Make sure you don’t allow any Pea straw to find its way over there, as you’ll just end up weeding millions of peas instead. Avoid herbicides.

Pruning and Training
There is no recorded information on exactly when to prune the plants in Edible Alley. This is something that will change too often, though if you feel after being responsible for it that there are general times of the year that things are done, add this info to the job description. Be careful though that this doesn’t become all that is done. Regular checking and altering will always be required as each year being slightly different to any other, nothing is certain.
In the first two years of the gardens life, a lot of pruning was done regularly, particularly in Spring and Summer when the espaliers were growing rapidly. Pruning the fruit trees is something that’s going to need some expertise, however with a little knowledge and some confidence you will more than likely succeed. Referring to books for guidance before you start can also be reassuring. The espaliered trees came from Merrywood Nursery. Chris will willingly help prune if you ask him. So if unsure, give him a call and he’ll run you through the basics.

The Kiwi’s are going to be extremely vigorous in the warmer months, especially the Male Kiwi so keep on top of the shoots lower down and just limit it to having growth up top. A secure ladder is needed for this task.

Some of the trees won’t require pruning to keep small, like the Dwarf apples. However be aware that they have to have some pruning to encourage fruiting spurs and a strong framework.

Then there are the Ballerina Apples, and Dwarf Peach, which shouldn’t need any pruning at all.

Because this area is going to be accessed by the public and staff, also make sure it’s safe and comfortable to walk through and that everything can be easily viewed.

Feeding
As with the training and pruning, there is no set regime for feeding.
All the trees require feeding at some point. You can be fairly certain it will all benefit from an application of fertiliser in Spring, and also Seasol is beneficial from time to time. The potted plants will need extra attention too. It might be useful to develop a table that over time you can record into what you have fed, so as you don’t forget to fertilise particular plants each year.

Spraying
There will be outbreaks of pests and these will need to be closely watched by you to get on top of the problem asap. Nobody else is responsible, so each week, make sure you have a close look at all the plants for pests and diseases. You’re almost always going to have to spray for Aphids, on new growth, as well as leaf minor on the citrus. The grapevines will also need to be sprayed with lime sulphur in winter to prevent fungal spores re-infecting new spring growth. However as you know, varying seasons cause different problems to arise so always be on the lookout.
Always take precaution when spraying and remember to implement safe practices.

Harvesting
As the harvest table is still relatively new, it may be slightly incorrect, so adjust it as necessary. This will however help you to know what you should be looking out for and harvesting whenever possible. We don’t want any fruit to go to waste.
If you feel it’s safe to tell staff to pick certain things at there leisure, such as, kaffir lime and curry leaf, do so, and perhaps when things like the raspberries, and midyim berries are ripe you can also spread the word to go and harvest as needed, just be careful that things aren’t stripped bare before your eyes.

Watering
There is an automatic irrigation system set up in edible alley.
It is a dripline hose that runs all the way through end to end, and has outlets off it that water the potted plants.
The system is completely turned off in winter, and then is your responsibility to ensure it’s re-connected in Spring. If we have a dry winter hand water the garden when necessary.
If you notice areas are wet or dry, do a check on the system to make sure it’s working properly. And if so, adjust the levels so plants are receiving the correct watering.

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