Friday, 29 March 2013

Chilli and tomato seedlings

These chilli seedlings are now 7 weeks and the tomatoes 4 weeks old. It's all a bit slow this year with the lack of sunshine.
Slight worry over the tomato seedlings as some of the leaves are curled up. Not sure if it can be seen properly here....anyone who knows what it could be? Lasts year's blight might have made me paranoid...

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Biting cold

Not that cold weather deters the determined. Liz, Lara and Jeanette got on with the last bit of vegetable beds (with Liz' enthusiasm as the main incentive). We also planted the rest of the potatoes but we'll have to wait to see if this was a good idea or not. Tradition has it that you wait for Good Friday. All our fruit bushes and fruit trees are now budding and our pond has frog spawn. Apparently the pond up the hill has none yet this year. Not sure why as it's usually teeming by now.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Seed sowing

The hot bed/cold frame is increasingly populated with pots of newly sown seeds. It now has plenty of herbs, various flowers - especially ones for bees, cabbage, tomatoes, chard, lettuces, beans, Brussel sprout etc. Very excitingly, the soil is warm! We put some radish seeds down a few days ago and they are already appearing. Will try to measure the success as scientifically as possible and report back. If anything we could compare how it's growing in the hot box with how is growing in my unheated green house at home. Sounds scientific enough?

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Big Dig

Proper weather today! Wonderful turn out, thanks to everyone who came to shelter in the shed. It was a good move to start with food after all (initially we reasoned that everyone gets sluggish after food and don't get on with volunteering). After Sag Aloo and carrot cake the rained stopped and all got excited about seed sowing, potato planting and raised beds. It goes to prove that's it's never about weather and always about making things happen and being together. And what's not to like about mud, the kids love it!

Friday, 15 March 2013


Coming Sunday (17th) is start of The Big Dig week at the garden. We will also be open on Thursday the 24th.
We are organising a nice mix of activities for people who would like to come along and learn a bit about food growing. There will be seed sowing, potato planting, wig wam making, plant sign making and much more.
You'll also have the opportunity to see the forest management progress from this winter's work.
Lunch will be vegetarian and free for all.
No previous experience needed.
Suitable for the whole family.
About The Big Dig:

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Forest management

The site was covered in ice and sun shine this morning.
Thanks to rangers Will and Chantel who did a great job today thinning out smaller trees in the woods. Jessie, our forest school teacher, was also pottering about in the woods picking litter. It's getting ready for the kids and there's now lots of materials for them to den build or create wooden crafts from. We still have spaces for the start in April if anyone wants to book.
The forest border close to our wild life area is cleared now waiting for a couple of Silver Birches to move in.
We also got most of the compost shifted and the hotbox is ready. It already has some mustards, salads and herbs growing in it. Now we just have to see how hot it becomes and how fast things will grow as it's all about heat and speed!
Thanks also to Djuma's friend Marc who donated pallets and cardboard in large amounts. We'll use the pallets for a raised floor and the cardboard for our raised beds. It's a no digg technique that's been very successful so far. We just put the frames up on top of the grass, cover with at least 2 layers of cardboard then compost on top.
Thanks to everyone for the yummy lunch of Liz'vegetable fritters, my homemade buns, soup from Djuma's wife and lentils from Darren. It was nice to all eat together.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Stuck in the mud

KPS came to deliver 5 cubic meters of compost today but with all the melting snow it was very muddy. The poor driver couldn't get anywhere and after trying for a while called for a colleague to come to the rescue. That took about an hour but once the tractor arrived the truck could be pulled up the slope. Unfortunately it's now blocking the path as there was no way he could turn the truck and had to just drop it where possible.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Forest Management

Coming Thursday (14 March) we'll be helped by rangers for another forest management day.
While they tackle larger trees with proper machinery, the rest of us will hack away at shrub. All to bring more light and diversity. Hot drinks, biscuits and laughs for the whole day. Starting at 9.30am. Everyone welcome. No previous experience needed. No need to be a local either.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Hot Box

Thanks to the kind and helpful stable owner Roger, and our hero ranger Charlie, we received a truck load of fresh manure today. What else could one wish for on mothers day? We filled the box half full and packed it with our feet as much as we could. Later this week we have another truck full of compost arriving to fill the rest of the box. Then it'll be ready for sowing. We'll probably use it a bit like a cold frame to start with...bringing up seedlings. We might also sow some seed straight into it like spring onions, salads and herbs. The manure should heat the box up giving us an early crop.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Clay Oven Workshop Book Now!

A Clay oven is great addition to any outdoor space. It reaches high temperatures making it possible to cook breads and pizzas to perfection. It can also be used for slow cooking, yoghurt making, sourdough bread, stews or meats.
The three workshops will go through every step you need to know to be able to build your own at home.

Three Sundays in April/May
Sun 28 April All day (Stage 1)
Sun 5 May All day (Stage 2)
Sun 12 May All day (Stage 3/Lime rendering)
Individual days £30/All three workshops £80 (vegetarian lunch included)

Course Leaders
Stage 1 and 2: Jonathan Kalviac has theoretical and practical knowledge of traditional clay oven building techniques. He also builds and renovates yurts, earthships, rammed earth straw bale hybrids and timber frames.
Stage 3: George Clinton is a lime work specialist with over 10 years experience in the field. He specialises in natural buildings and has worked on many earthships and rammed earth projects, including working with Michael Reynolds of Earthship Biotechture in Taus, New Mexico.