Sunday, 28 April 2013

Bevendean dome

Clay oven workshop

It's been a very successful first session of the clay oven workshop. I'm sure Liz will put up more nice pictures but I couldn't wait to say a few words about it. Jon has been a great teacher explaining every step of the process. The group started by putting down fire proof bricks and then got on with the time consuming task of puddling (mixing clay and sand with bare feet)...not every one's cup of tea as it turned out. It was pretty cold to be fair! This was not a problem as there was also the job of making a huge sand castle. And if I overheard correctly the motto for this task was 'the beauty of the vessel is in the void'. In other words, the sand castle creates the inner space of the oven and later gets removed. After this we had lunch which Djuma, Liz and myself had prepared all morning. The classic garden bean stew of course. Went down a storm. After lunch the group added the first layer of clay and sand mix. It'll now dry until next Sunday. Can't wait...

Friday, 26 April 2013

Garden Networking

At our networking event on Monday night it was decided that we should try to create an e-network for community food gardens in Brighton. Helen suggested ProjectDirt. However, for us to have our own cluster, 10 projects need to be signed up. We've done our bit today so we're hoping others will follow soon.
Go to: 
You need to first create a personal profile and then add your project.
Good Luck!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Risk of sun burn finally, get your hats out.

Surprise sunshine today when the forecast said more fog. Lots of watering needed of course and planting out of seedlings that had outgrown their pots in the hot box: sweet ciceley, fennel, dill, tomatoes, sweet peas and cabbages. James put the fennel far from everything else as it's allelopathic and can kill other plants in worst case. During lunch we had a surprise visit from Roger who helps Geoff count  butterflies in the area. He told us about the life cycle of different species and what he found today. Very interesting.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Thursday, 18 April 2013

New Trees

A lovely Olive tree was added to our range of trees today. Djuma bought it from a friend and it's already at least 12 years old. A big hole was dug to remove a wheel barrow load of chalk that was replaced with compost.
We also planted a small Fig tree and a Sweet chestnut tree both donated by Djuma. As a thank you, and as it was his birthday yesterday, we treated him to Apple crumble by the pond.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Crazy nice...

Having waited for warmth for so long it was crazy nice today.
Nemo installed himself a hammock and relaxed for about 3 hours and although we did work there was a lot of chilling going on.
The forest school got started today and was well attended by a group of children that Jessie said 'were incredibly responsive and involved'. Arriving back at the garden they hung out by the pond for a while. It has a great variety of life forms now with the newest discovery being Newts.
James, Andrea and Cordelia weeded a patch in the wild life garden and sowed a mix of wild flowers (wild wall flowers, wild basil, crimson clover). They first removed the grass to expose the poor soil. Poor soil is good for wild flowers as this is what they're used to and it will also lessen the competition from grass and weeds. Then they trampled on the soil to help it settle before raking over, sowing, raking again and watering.
The mixed mustard salad is almost ready for the first harvest...a taste of it brought me right back to last summer.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Warming up

We've finally braved the weather and put some seeds straight in the ground. We put in dwarf French beans 'cupidon' but made them cosy under a blanket of fleece just in case. We also planted out Brussel sprout seedlings and Kale seeds went into the same bed. As brassicas do better under cover, away from caterpillars etc., we covered these too in fleece.
We've had field beans growing through the winter as a green manure and these got chopped up today to rot down to release well needed nitrogen.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Community event: health day

We spent the day in the local church where we joined forces with Friends of Bevendean Downs to promote our respective activities. Geoff's idea of taking the children kite flying was great and we had the children making the kites before going off. Kite flying is really worth promoting, it's so windy up here and so much fun too.

Sunday, 7 April 2013


Sunshine, new plants, coffees, teas, bamboo craft,  kite flying and new people...

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Veggie hotdogs, fire and snow in April

A visit from London (and Hanover) warranted a spontaneous visit to the garden for a big fire and some hotdogs.The big group of kids really loved the time outside and ended up exploring the woods. We can also recommend the special dough for the hotdogs, very popular. Recipe given on request. On our way home at 7pm the snow came down in huge flakes but it was still light outside creating a very odd spring experience.