Weekly Reports for March 2021

7 March 2021

We are pressing on with groundwork preparations in anticipation of a successful planning application for our new polytunnel. We have five volunteer labourers for the big dig working party on Saturday 20 March 2021 – from 10.30-2.30 or any couple of hours within that. Room for a few more if you wish to book your place.

It may be cold at times but the weather is improving. It hit 25 degrees C in poly 1 this week. When there is a working party on site we are putting a variety of seeds outside for people to take away and we welcome donations. During the past week more people are definitely out and about and moreover taking seeds and donating generously.

When people  do visit us they are always intrigued by the walking onions, many of which have been planted in various locations so look out for jaywalking onions later in the season.

14 March 2021

This week has been a bit warmer but also wetter and windier to ensure that growing remains, shall we say, interesting. The wind has certainly been strong enough to blow out a large pane of glass in the greenhouse.

On site the activity is ramping up in diverse ways. Onions have been put out. Buxton best and karmazyn broad beans are planted. Mulching of raised beds and sieving have been done and labels have been cleaned. Pathways have been swept or scraped.

Gil has been busy marking out exact locations for each tomato plant in poly 2 so we don’t repeat the over cosy planting of 2020.

Penny is trying a solar dyeing experiment. Any spare avocado skins or large jars anyone?

Salads are being cropped – it is nice again to be taking something home to munch after a volunteer session. Meanwhile plenty is growing such as pak choi and spinach.

Off site much is happening too. Carole is informing us that subscriptions are now due if you want to be a member of the Serpentine Community Garden this year.

Top tips continue to be exchanged and you never know what the next WhatsApp will say. Matha has asked if people are aware that you can pickle nasturtium seeds and that they taste a bit like capers. This encouraged Jenny to go on camera to recommend growing nasturtiums which has saved her a  ‘fortune’ in not buying capers. That suggests quite a high caper intake.

Anne Wood has led an interesting online workshop about salad growing. The working party is all set for this Saturday when final ground preps. will take place in the high hopes of us gaining planning permission for our new polytunnel.  Frances gained us some national publicity for the Science week project so many thanks for that.

21 March 2021

The Garden seems to have been measured in fine detail this week with the aim of getting netting in place after the pests gobbled too much in 2020. The Compost group has been busy as ever taking the science of composting (and it really is science with Helen’s guidance) to a high level for the benefit of the Garden. We ended the week with some site housework and planting – tagetes and the first batch of leeks. Roll on summer!

Firstly a big ‘thank you’ to the people who came to the Serpentine Garden  yesterday to continue the groundwork for the proposed site of our third polytunnel. The working party certainly did the work with no time to party. There is some more to do to conclude preparations and this is scheduled for next Saturday morning. If anyone not already involved wishes to assist (respecting the covid regs. of course) then please reply to this email

Tomorrow our planning application comes before the Development Control Committee and we remain optimistic that we will be given the go-ahead.

Window sills have suddenly become important as tomato planting time arrives. Trays are already transferring for the first stage or growth and will return later when the temperature is more reliably warm. Volunteers are again taking home produce to eat – spinach, lettuce and mizuna at present.

The community may not be coming on site at present but we are connecting well. Seeds are being taken more than ever before from the trays left out at the bottom of the drive. Donations seem to be consistently generous. Today some people were waiting outside in anticipation of what was on offer.

Ruth as usual on a Sunday was photographing the Garden for us and this week’s best must be the blue tit busy around its nesting site in the box we have provided.

28 March 2021

I am pleased to say that during the week the Development Committee agreed unanimously to support the planning application for our third polytunnel.  Volunteers pressed ahead again on Saturday with groundwork which has advanced nicely. An order has been placed for the new polytunnel and we should be up and running within three months.

Our current level of volunteer time and enthusiasm will make the extra space a timely challenge.

Technology is helping us meet that other challenge in lockdown times, that of communication. Several volunteers had a WhatsApp catch up during the week to tune in to what everyone is currently doing.

Mike Cullen did a well received ‘cooking with herbs’ session on line on Saturday. People listening came away with various ideas, for example tearing the basil don’t chop it. Mike suggested too a nice poached nectarine recipe. This reminded us of our desire to produce a Serps. recipe book before too long.

The search for window sill space continues as more tomatoe seeds are planted – the black truffle and green bell are now done. Parsley and Buxton Best broad beans have gone in too .

People who have reserved their precious square beds are talking about what they will grow in them – it must be spring!

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