SEPTEMBER SNEAKS ON BY

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Days are growing shorter and some plants look straggly but nonetheless the garden still looks alive and loved.

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This years successes were curly kale, peas, sweetcorn and (mostly green) tomatoes but the usually reliable beans and courgettes were few and far between. On the whole the sudden late hot summer hasn’t resulted in a great harvest – perhaps because winter hung on too long so we didn’t get the good start we’d hoped for. 

 

It seemed that snails and caterpillars were the big winners this year as they’ve chomped their way through all our brassicas and are now enjoying the ripening tomatoes.  We’ve all experienced the disappointment of reaching down to pick a luscious tomato only to find the ripe and ready beauty has already been devoured inside from the bottom up.   Sneaky.

Flowers bloomed in the meadow and around the garden and really did seem to lift the spirits of everyone passing by.

We’ve held two Saturday events in the past month with the help of funding from Southern Water. 

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These follow the Feastie Beastie kids event and we have one more planned – A Harvest Celebration with pumpkin carving  where we will join up with The Bohemia Walled Garden – details will be on our Facebook page. 

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Our Herb Day must have been the rainiest event day yet – ironic that it was sponsored by the water company!  Undaunted, we gathered under the larger gazebo and listened as two experts gave fascinating talks on different aspects of herbs.  Jackie is a medical herbalist who introduced us to easy-to- concoct herbal remedies and suggested ways of supporting good health by treating ourselves with the plants that nature has provided.  Then we all made a dash for the polytunnel to enjoy lots of herb themed goodies that the garden volunteers had made.  Savoury flapjacks, rose geranium and quince cake, rosemary and walnut shortbread and lots more served with freshly made herb teas got us in the mood to hear Elaine tell us about growing herbs and designing a great herb garden.  Eventually the unstoppable torrential rain got the better of us and everyone went home a lot wiser but desperately needing to also be a lot drier and warmer as well!

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Our most recent event was ALL ABOUT FOOD!

The garden was open for EDIBLE GARDENS 2013 which is part of The Big Dig, a national movement to encourage people to grow their own food on allotments and in community gardens like ours.  The weather was a lot kinder to  us this time, which is just as well with outdoor cookery as the theme.  We had a mention in the press and posters were up around town so there was a good turnout including Council Leader Jeremy Birch Council and representatives from our event sponsors, Southern Water.  Image

Hafiz provided a typical Sudanese vegetarian feast served with rice from our friends at the Laskshmi Mahal.  Jan made a big pot of delicious minestrone using vegetables she’d picked that morning.  We also had salads from Mooses’s Kitchen and plenty of teas brewed up by Peter who kept the Kelly kettle boiling all afternoon.  

Most of all we had lots of happy people in the garden, sitting on straw bale benches chatting to each other, making friends and enjoying a meal together. This is what the garden was made for.

Next Saturday The Moveable Feast joins up with a garden themed exhibition as part of Coastal Currents.  Dora and I are recreating the garden shopping trolley logo as an exhibit. Photo’s will be taken if it works – if not less said the better!

We haven’t had any news about a date to leave the site so plan to stay put until the time comes.  We certainly wouldn’t want to pack up and go only to see this inspiring space return to the state it was in when we started here last April.  For now all we can do is carry on as usual and see what the future brings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

April showers, shivvers & sunshine

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One things that has been missing from the garden is birdlife. We put up a bird table with feeders and two types of feed last year and our feathered friends resolutely ignored it. So we moved it to a quieter spot where they still took no notice and didn’t touch the seed even in the bleak mid-winter. Perhaps they were just biding their time or waiting for our water feature because we now have a pair of blackbirds nesting nearby and visiting us all the time. Then last week we spotted a blue tit popping into one of our nest boxes, so who knows?
We may have been accepted at last.

A nursery group has been visiting on Tuesday mornings with their mums for a Seed to Plate course and even though the weather has been cold and drizzly they’ve had lots of fun poking about in the wormery.
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Seeing how popular worms are we’ve now added more ‘wildlife’ by making a little pond area at the back of the garden with frog spawn and water snails and fitted a solar powered fountain to keep the water oxygenated.
The blackbirds were impressed! If you’re wondering how we managed to create this marvellous lake …. this is what it actually looks like.
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On the growing side of things the garden is raring to go and all we’re waiting for now is the sunshine (and not just a random day’s worth either). The polytunnel has proved its worth as a shelter from the frequent icy showers and also as a perfect place for sowing and growing.
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There is hardly an inch of space to spare so the sooner the sun comes out and stays out the happier we’ll be.
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Outside our salad leaves are doing well in the cold frames, the herb beds are reviving and its good to see new shoots on the artichoke plants. We are growing a wider variety of vegetables this year in a more orderly way. Abby has used her organic vegetable growing experience to formulate a planting plan so that we will get the best possible harvest from our growing space. We did well last year but started late – this year we’re better prepared.
The fruit trees are all budding up nicely although there is still the feeling that everything is holding back waiting for warm weather.
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We’ve ordered two special planters from Hastings & Bexhill Wood Recycling for wheelchair users and our pathways now make most of the garden, including the polytunnel, fully accessible to them as well. So please spread the word to any wheelchair using gardeners you know to come down and get involved!
When we cleared old planters away we used the opportunity to clear and weed then sow flower seeds along the street fence edge and the GROW wall. If weeds grow there, so might flowers.

This week we had some great donations – about 30 bags of good soil from a garden landscaping job, a garden bench and an impressive £43 from a whip round at SoCo Arts Group when Nicole gave a talk about the garden! We also found out that we won a prize for our efforts on Big Dig Day last month and have chosen a delivery of compost.

Jan and I spent this morning moving the donated soil down to the end of the garden and raking it over the rough ground in preparation for the sowing of our Wildflower Meadow. Last year’s trial patch was sown late but lasted till November so we are hoping for lots of pretty flowers to provide plenty of pollen for the bees this year.IMG_7515

All we need to grow now are more regular volunteers – so please come down whenever you can, the Kelly kettle is always on the go.