Ranger Update February 2018

The snow and ice that dominated much of January continues into February which makes for some great photographs around the Glen however it also means that birds that live here have a slightly more difficult job to find enough food and shelter.

If you do want to feed the birds please only offer them appropriate food such as:

Wild bird seed mixes

Mealworms

Peanuts (without any salt or other flavourings)

The following items are unsuitable and therefore SHOULD NOT be offered:

Bread – it’s not good for the digestive system of birds

Dry rice – it expands in the animals’ stomachs and can cause illness and severe digestive issues

ANY processed foods such as crisps, pizza, takeaways etc because they contain additives and in particular salt which is not good for any wild animals. It may sound odd but I have seen evidence of all of these being offered to wildlife in the Glen! Aside from causing issues for the wildlife leaving a lot of food waste lying around encourages greater numbers of pest species (such as rats and grey squirrels) and during warmer months maggots and flies. It can also cause problems for dogs that might come along and eat the food waste left behind. Finally rotting food is not something we want being left all over the Glen – in some cases it needs to cleared away by parks staff and is unpleasant for anyone visiting the park. Save food waste for your composters!

In the Glassroom the mulching continues…

I’ve got some of the seeds for planting already and just need to source grains.

Over in the Kitchen Garden

As yet we have no dates in mind for getting the planting beds dug over and any topsoil or manure added – this is mainly due to on and off snow and frozen ground!  Completely normal for this time of year though.

We rely on dedicated volunteers to help with the maintenance of these beds throughout the summer (mainly watering and weeding). Lookout for opportunities to volunteer or put your name down to help look after our seedlings.

Next month:

Myself and some willing volunteers will dig over all of the planting beds and add some of the compost available from the Fife Council Recycling Centres. Any outside work will be weather permitting of course – digging frozen ground is a little difficult! Date to be confirmed!

Volunteer Mini Recruitment session(s) – alongside existing volunteers I can give a bit of information about where we need help in the Glen and hopefully sign up some willing volunteers.

Ranger Update January 2018

In the Glassroom, I’ve started the early preparation of the beds which will be planted in the next few months by local school children and looked after by volunteers.

By recycling old copies of Scottish Gardener and keeping them damp I’m hoping to create a mulch that will improve the soil, while blocking the sun should keep weeds to a minimum.  The heat needed to keep the Glasshouse plants healthy will stimulate the rotting down of this material quicker than the freezing temperatures outside could!

In 2018 we will:

Use table top composters to collect compostable waste and produce our own compost which we’ll add to the beds before planting (local school children will take the composters back to class)

Grow Sunflowers

  • Colourful flowers with seeds that we can use for feeding the birds next winter

Grow a mixture of grains (such as barley and corn)

  • More bird food!

Grow Tomatoes

  • always grow really well and a popular edible inhabitant of the Glassroom

Over in the Kitchen Garden we plan to plant root vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, turnips and beetroot.  School children successfully grew these vegetables last year and made tasty soup and carrot cake for everyone (including the ranger!) to enjoy.  They are hoping this year to have enough to invite family, friends and others from the local community to enjoy their hard work too.

The herbs in the Kitchen Garden continue to grow really well, so much so we are going to take cuttings and grow them on to use in other parts of the park and perhaps even deliver to local schools for their own gardens.

Each year several local schools are involved in planting of the vegetables and flowers here in the Glen and all of the children (and staff) very much enjoy the harvesting of all the vegetables in autumn.  However we rely on dedicated volunteers to help with the maintenance of these beds throughout the summer (mainly watering and weeding).  Lindsay did most of this single handedly in 2017 so huge thanks to him!

Next month:

Myself and some willing volunteers will dig over all of the planting beds and add some of the compost available from the Fife Council Recycling Centres.  Any outside work will be weather permitting of course – digging frozen ground is a little difficult!

Glassroom Bookings

Please note that if you wish to make a booking to use the Glassroom this DOES NOT autuomatically book an educational session or other activities with the ranger.

If you are a school or community group that wishes to book an educational session with the ranger you should liaise directly at:  pittencrieff.park@fife.gov.uk

If you want to book the Glassroom please contact:  parks.events@fife.gov.uk

– you will then be advised of the booking process

– currently bookings can only be taken for activities during normal working hours