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CROW (Conserve Reading on Wednesdays)
Wednesday, 28th July 2010
Five a Day Market Garden, Englefield ~ Creating beetle bank, CSV Action Earth campaign task

As part of CSV's (Community Servive Volunteers) Action Earth 2010 campaign, CROW visited the 5 a Day Market Garden at Englefield to create a beetle bank, an area designed to encourage beneficial insects such as bees, ladybirds, lacewings and ground beetles for the benefit of the surrounding crops. These insects help control pests including aphids and slugs removing the need to resort to chemical controls.

The area where the beetle bank was to be created was a grass pathway approximately 20 metres in length by 1 metre in width situated between two cultivated plots. The turf had first to be removed from the area which was then cultivated to loosen the compacted soil and allow the deeper roots of perennial weeds such as couch grass to be cleared.

The area was then planted using plug plants propagated from seed by the Market Garden. This planting was mainly from a pollen and nectar mix and a wildflower mix which included clovers and bird's-foot trefoil. Additionally 'garden' plants and herbs such as sunflower, borage, nasturtium, sage, vetch and calendula where included in the planting. Finally seeds of echinacea and phacelia tanacetifolia where broadcast over the area.

A grant of £50 from CSV was used to purchase tools for the task (a border spade, two border forks and a hand fork). An additional border spade was kindly donated by Dobbies Garden Centres. All the tools where given to the Market Garden on completion of the task.

The 5 a Day Market Garden is a 'not for profit' community enterprise and is managed in accordance with organic principles. It provides opportunities for adults with learning difficulties and is regularly attended by groups from West Berkshire Adult & Community Learning and West Berkshire Mencap; it also supports Age UK's 'Fit as a Fiddle' campaign. The Market Garden promotes wildlife friendly gardening and has many wildlife friendly features including numerous nest boxes, a pond, and a loggery.

The Market Garden is run by a group of volunteers under the watchful eye of Pam Goddard, the head gardener. One of those volunteers, Becky, acted as supervisor and mentor to the CROW team for the day.

The team for the day: (back row) Roger, Judith, Ricki, Alan, Terry, Mike, (front row) Becky (Five a Day volunteer), Dawn, John and Mary, pictured with the tools purchased for the task.

This was not the first beetle bank planted by CROW at the Market Garden, we also planted one on 19th May when we also erected and planted the row of French climbing and runner beans seen here in the background.