Weekly Updates for February 2022

27th February

We’ve had a quiet week at the Community Garden, our own half-term, but lots has been going on to get ready for spring. Genovese, red, lemon and Greek basil seeds are sprouting on volunteers’ windowsills. Sweet basil is now sown – unintentional succession planting after the seeds got lost and we had to find a new supply.

The compost terrace is both thriving and rotting down nicely. Next week biochar (stable forms of organic carbon known to survive in soils for hundreds of years) will be added, sequestrating carbon and offsetting the impact of global warming gases. Every little helps!

We’ve closed the deal on the offer of a new shed designed and built by wonderful carpentry students at Buxton and Leek College. They’ve even going to come and erect it for us once they’ve completed the windows and cladding. We are particularly happy about this great offer as it came from the students themselves knowing about our project. They say they are proud for their work to be put to use in such a worthwhile community organisation. We’re proud that they want to help us.

As Steve reported last week, our Seedy Saturday was a success despite driving snow. Visitors came with seed donations so we finished with almost as much stock as we started with. We’re doing it again on Sunday 6 March, same time same place. Come on down.

Quote of the week, from a Ukrainian woman confronting Russian soldiers in her street and holding out a handful of seeds:

Take these and put them in your pockets, so that at least sunflowers will grow when you all lie down here.

27th February

The snow came down steadily yesterday and quite a few people will have glanced at their emails or WhatsApp to see the inevitable message cancelling Seedy Saturday’ The cancellation never came and the hardy souls of Serpentine Community Garden turned up regardless. That is not so surprising if you know them but it was a surprise that around 35 people did attend and that £120 was raised for Serpentine Community Garden funds. Top marks too to Veronica and Ian for bringing a display for our allied group, Transition Buxton.

If you were seduced by the warmth and dry of your house on Saturday do not worry because we are going to rerun the event as  Seedier Sunday  on 6th March . And as you know it will go ahead unless a hurricane physically removes the organisers!

The prospect of ‘Seedy Saturday’ prompted quite a lot of ‘housework’ on site during the week:

  • There was general cleaning and sweeping; tidying of the large greenhouse and clearance of the ground in front of poly 3.
  • Weeding took place in poly 2.
  • The soil was dug over in poly 1 and the new raised beds continued to be filled.
  • Keith has been busy putting fitting worktops in poly 3 to increase workspace.
  • Bronze arrow seedlings have been planted in poly 1.
  • Some harvesting has taken place too – sprouts, kale, lettuce and miners’ lettuce.

We have been offered a shed and you never turn down a shed. The Growing Well and Give Peas a Chance groups look likely to get first grabs.

Diary dates

If you would like to contribute to these events – preparation of stock, set-up, clearing up, attending please let us know.

Jobs at the Garden

Looking forward to the paid appointment of a Gardeniser – 15 hours a week, to get systems in place and cohesion/direction of work of volunteers and Growing Well Programme Coordinator – 4 x 8 week programmes pa, maybe more.

13th February

We are back in business this Saturday  with our with Seedy Saturday on 19th February 2022 at the Serpentine Community Garden from 10 30 – 12 30.

We have a good stock of seeds for people to take away. Donations are very welcome as are seed swaps. Thank you to people who have volunteered to set up the event. Please come along and bring your friends.

Dates for Your Diary

Make a note of these upcoming events. We’ll have more details soon.

  • Rotary Charity Bazaar and Spring Fair, Saturday 28th May,  10.30am to 4.30pm at the Octagon.
    We have booked two tables.
  • Mix it up,  Buxton Fringe event.  Sunday 10th July 12 non to 4.00pm

If you would like to contribute to these events – preparation of stock, set-up, clearing up, attending please let us know.

Last week I mentioned our award from the National Lottery Community Fund. An amazing £95,914 to be precise. So we remain on the lookout for a:

  • Gardeniser – 15 hours a week, coordination role to get systems in place and cohesion/direction of work of volunteers.
  • Growing Well Programme Coordinator – 4 x 8 week programmes pa, maybe more. GW is ‘gardening by prescription’ promoting positive mental health.

On site during the week, activity has included further filling of raised beds; more shelf building in the new shed; planting out of rocket, American land cress and mustard. Even some harvesting – of miners’ lettuce. Sunday was a rain lash but John turned up bright and early to prep. things for the arrival of Daniel who continues his Duke of Ed’s award, this time planting out onions and getting the place in shape for Saturday.

6th February

The local pantomime has been on this weekend and the inevitable cries of “Behind you!” could be heard. I started the weekly briefing last week by describing things as ‘relatively quiet.’ It turned out to be a ‘behind you’ moment because just 24 hours later big double news boomed out. This is the briefing which is shared with members, volunteers and supporters. It is perhaps the latter who are yet to hear about developments.

The Serpentine Community Garden that has been successful in securing funding from the National Lottery Community Fund of nearly £100,000. The funding will support two new paid posts for three years from 1 April 2022, or as soon as possible thereafter:

  • Gardeniser – 15 hours a week. This is a coordination role, much needed, to get systems in place and cohesion/direction in the work of the volunteers.
  • Growing Well Programme Coordinator – four eight week programmes a year, with room for additional programmes subject to demand. Growing Well is the idea of ‘gardening by prescription’ and offering a great way to promote good mental health by engaging in a growing experience rather than complete reliance on tablets.

The other major piece of news was the long awaited signing last Monday of the land lease for the Serpentine Community Garden. We have always faced the possibility that the Council could give us two week’s notice to quit the site, making forward planning almost impossible. Now we have a horizon of 25 years which is a total game changer and we can think long term.

It is always risky thanking individuals in case key people are overlooked. We know though that Madeline Hall has put in a huge effort to land the grant. Steve Taylor has contributed countless hours to negotiate the lease. Both Madeline and Simon Fussell have completed the deal on behalf of the SCGS. Our sincere thanks are due to these people and any others who have contributed.

On site on Tuesday a group of us met up to look at the growing plans for 2022 and draw in any final comments. Anne Wood took us on a tour of the site so we could get a real idea of what will go where. Gil as ever has put in a lot of work on growing plans. The work on site during the week has been mainly skip filling of our final inherited detritus; taking in more spoil improver and wood chip.

Please put in your diary

Seedy Saturday,  from 10.30 am to 12.30 pm on Saturday 19th February at the Serpentine Community Garden, SK17 9AR

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