Weekly Updates for October 2021

17th October

Great news this week our new Give Peas A Chance group started this Saturday with thirteen ten and eleven year olds at Serpentine Community Garden being introduced to exploring nature and growing for themselves. Thanks to the SCG volunteers that provide not just the ideas and hands on learning, but also lunch for the young gardeners.

On site during the week, more seeds were being collected and packeted. John Boardman reminded us of the three reasons we gather seeds: to have locally grown seeds for next year; to have seeds to share with others; to avoid plants seeding themselves where we don’t want them next year! e.g. nasturtiums.

Harvesting included great leeks, late raspberries, cavolo nero, chard, New Zealand spinach, chillies, potatoes and tomatoes. Salad planting is still going on and also green manures. The trees we have been growing from seed for planting in the Buxton Country Park, on Grin Low, will be collected this week which is timely as the Wednesday group needed the space to tidy up for the new shed which will hopefully be erected soon.

Unfortunately, we had our gates blocked by piles of used plant pots found by the Tuesday group. What a shame no one asked us when they could be delivered. If you know of anyone who wants to donate plants or pots, please email us first so we don’t upset the neighbours. Tuesday group then went on to divide primulas, make rosemary cuttings and set up the compost worming bin. All good for next year with more plants and excellent growing mediums coming along well.

Patty, in the Sunday Group, kept warm by removing the disappointing strawberry plants. We will be looking for a better cropping variety for next year. Our Duke of Edinburgh volunteer collected nasturtium seeds that can be used like capers and are always very popular at our Seedy Saturday Seed swap in early spring. The little greenhouse, now for flowers, is looking really organised. It’s wonderful to think of the display of flowers we will be able to grow on for bees and other insect pollinators. So much biodiversity on one site. So much to celebrate.

10th October

A couple of significant notices for starters.

1. The meeting to agree a sowing and growing plan for 2022 will be at Tuesday 26th October at Serpentine Community Garden. All welcome. If you cannot come, have not yet contributed but wish to do so please send in your ideas before the meeting.

2. Our application for a National Lottery Community Fund award has passed its screening test and will be considered by a panel meeting at the end of this month. We have asked for £30,000 a year for three years to support employment of a Gardeniser and a Growing Well programme coordinator. The  panel decides whether or not to invite applicants to submit a full proposal. If the invitation is issued we have up to six months to send it in but anticipate faster turnaround (December). If the second panel agrees to fund, turnround is swift. We would know the outcome in January and then be in a position to make plans and recruit for an April start.

Today a number of volunteers who are on the WhatsApp group came on site to do some apple pressing. We haven’t had much chance lately to socialise but a warm, sunny day was a perfect opportunity to enjoy gorgeous fresh apple juice and great cake made by Anne. It’s been so long since cake was evident in poly 2! Thanks are due to Madeline, Anne and Keith for putting the event together.

On site during the week, seeds were being collected and packeted. Harvesting included chillies, potatoes and tomatoes. Planting is still going on in the salad area, vermicompost was put out for drying plus some tidying up done of the tomatoes and the potager. The toilet door has been mended and a door made for the new polytunnel – it’s getting there!

3rd October

This time we include our Supporters as we do each month. It is a month that has seen much progress in the construction of our third polytunnel thanks primarily to Steve T and Keith. Also we have taken part in the Rotary Autumn Fair where we have dispersed packets of seeds across the community and made new friends. John and Gil have held another workshop, focussing on tomatoes. The members who choose to be in the WhatsApp group have met up on screen again thanks to Helen. This is important as communication is a challenge as we go to the Serpentine Garden on different days.

Out on site Helen has been applying her science through vermicomposting (which is a process using various species of worms to create a mixture of decomposing waste. And Helen’s passion!). We are still watering inside (yes still doing it), harvesting –  tomatoes, beans, courgettes, cucumber, cavolo nero, chillis and blueberries. Seed packeting is well underway; winter lettuce seedlings have been planted on, and the autumn raspberries have been tied up. These ripening raspberries seem incongruent as the nights draw in but are a reminder of those summer days. A start has been made on sorting out the flower bed by poly 2 then it will be on to the borders around the drive with Margaret having plenty of thoughts about how that will go ahead.

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