PLANS for a new garden next to The National Botanic Garden of Wales have been approved.

The plans were submitted to Carmarthenshire County Council by Jo Denham of Coed Talylan Enterprise Ltd for full planning permission for the ‘field adjacent to the National Botanic Garden of Wales corporate entrance on its eastward side, and to the south and east of North East Lodge, Llanarthney.’

The plans will see the infrastructure of a market garden which would be called ‘Farming with Fungi’ and will test the effects of mycorrhizal fungi in ‘crop rotation versus no crop rotation’ or horticultural crops.

It will also trial recycled carbon dioxide pumped into a productive polytunnel.

There will be a community benefit as the produce grown will serve the Caffi Botanica in the Botanic Gardens as well as residents of the local villages as part of a community supported agriculture scheme.

There will be a four metre by eight metre packing shed near the southeast corner of the site as well as a four metre by eight metre track or parking area next to the test polytunnels.

This is alongside two 6.4 metre by 20 metre multi-span polytunnels in the northwest corner to harvest rainwater.

The larger pair of tunnels will be put up in two or three years’ time if the market garden enterprise is successful and has the necessary funds to purchase them.

The polytunnels will provide a space to safely propagate seedlings on site as required by The National Botanic Garden of Wales’ biosecurity regulations. It will also allow them to provide a full range of crops such as high-value tomatoes, with produce being offered in a longer growing season to allow the mild Welsh climate to compete with foreign produce and allow customers to buy local.

The smaller 4x12m polytunnels are needed for the second experiment of testing the effects of recycled carbon emissions on the growth of crops as they need a test and control tunnel to be able to achieve comparative results.

There will also be a shed which will provide a clean, dry space to store and pack produce for customers, with the track and parking space for growers and visitors to be able to visit the site, parking off the public highway without blocking access to the Botanic Gardens’ corporate entrance. It will be space for just three cars to park and made from local stone chippings.

The council approved the plans on October 10 with conditions that the work starts within five years of the approval date and is carried out in line with the approved plans. The final condition is that it is only used for agricultural purposes.