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Today at INTACT

Good afternoon and welcome another day in Alex's voluntary week.

This morning was INTACT day. As you've probably read in previous blogs I volunteer my time fortnightly for INTACT and having been doing so for the past month or so.

I arrived right on 9.30am and dressed ready for action to tackle the morning's gardening duties. I signed in at reception and asked if Barry had arrived ( Barry is my tutor and helper at INTACT). Barry was running a little behind so I made my way to the café and waited for Barry whilst enjoying the cafe's top quality coffee.

Soon Barry arrived and after I finished my brew I made my way to the back of the INTACT centre where the gardens are, for Barry asked if I could move two pots with tulips in from the front of the centre to the back towards the fence.

Following on from two weeks ago, when I planted the radishes and the previous time before that when I planted the onions, Barry showed me their progression and I was quite impressed as to how far they had come on in such a short time.

The first task to do was to plant ten sunflower seeds into ten small pots with a small portion of soil in. This involved putting the correct amount of soil in the pot then creating a little insertion into which the seed would lay, then seal it with your hand. This went according to plan until I lost one seed in the wind so ten became nine but Barry reassured me and said it was fine.

The next gardening duty to do involved having ten large pots with soil from the beds plus fresh soil mixed in from the bag. Into the ten large pots were French beans three in each then a gentle tap once planted to complete it. I found this both therapeutic and very relaxing. It also taught me how French beans can grow in quite close proximity without being affected. Barry had to go out for a while so he left me to it and everything was fine.

Barry returned ten minutes later and asked how I was getting on and nearly completed all ten. Barry asked if I could fill the seed tray with soil, this took place after the brew break.

Five minutes later I did a little watering on the French beans and the sunflower seeds I planted earlier. I complete Barry's request before the break and filled up a seed tray with soil then dusted it off with sieve to finish.

Our morning was nearly complete but there was one major task that needed to be finalised. If you recall last time I was at INTACT thieves had broken in to the gardens and sabotaged areas such as the greenhouse and the tap. Two weeks later it appears they may have been here again as footprints were found on some of the soil and the gate was left open.

The gate being left open got Barry in to thinking it needed more security. With a little help from his assistant ( who could that be?) we set about screwing and placing in some nails and a lock below the handle of the gate. Barry's DIY came to good use and we got the job done successfully.

It was approaching 11.30am so my time this morning with INTACT was complete. Barry and I made arrangements regarding the next time I come in which would be May 10th and he assured me that he would let me know if, for any reason he couldn't make it next time then he would make necessary plans for jobs for me to do in the garden.

We said our goodbyes and agreed to meet in a fortnight, unless anything drastic changes.

It was an excellent morning's work and it beneficial learning from someone who really his way round the garden.

This is Alex Ashworth signing off for my time today at INTACT.

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