Weekly Updates for September 2021

26th September

Yesterday several of our members staffed a stall at the Rotary Autumn Fair. By the end of the day there was £121 in SCG funds, 101 packets of our seeds had dispersed into the local community and more people heard of us. Walking onions took the prize for attracting the most interest. Ahead of the day working groups had gathered flowers, herbs and veg. in readiness for the event. Well done to all concerned.

Earlier in the week Helen had once again hosted a WhatsApp link up for interested members and the issue of communication was very much to the fore. Just to emphasise the point Sunday afternoon seemed to spark an exchange about tomatoes. Anne is confident that this year’s crop is the best we have had in five years. It is often tricky to know when is the best time to pick. The answer seems to be ‘do not worry’. Pete shared a picture of a string of tomatoes across his ceiling with tomatoes ripening almost up to Christmas. Ripening continues even when it gets cold. So you can’t go wrong really but Gardeners’ Question time recommends no more watering.

The work continues at SCG and during the week harvesting included  potatoes, cabbage, achocha, spinach, kale, courgette and parsley. It’s seed time and seeds for morning glory, poppy, calendula were among those gathered. Seeds for sweet peas and broccoli were stuck into packets. Aside from that a whole range of maintenance took place – clearing the ground to expand growth of comfrey; picking tops off kale; removing the blue netting from the brassicas as the butterflies have already laid their eggs; potting on coleus and verbascum and clipping the flowers off the basil etc. etc. Oh and we have done some tomatillo tasting – if you haven’t tried them do have a go. The taste is unique.

Meanwhile Steve T was seen on Sunday afternoon slogging away again on the new poly tunnel …

19th September

On Wednesday John and Gil led the latest workshop sharing their knowledge of tomatoes and the taste. Poly 2 is bulging with a range of varieties of tomato at present and the concensus is that this is the best crop we have had so far. Next Saturday the Serpentine Garden has a stall at the Rotary Club Fair in the Octagon where we will have some plants. You will be a welcome visitor if you call in.

On site it has been busy as usual with watering, weeding, moving of compost; attendance to the wormery and harvesting of achocha, blackberries, tomatoes and NZ spinach
On  Sunday Gil gave an impromptu lesson about potatoes as we have lost a proportion of our crop. The first problem was probably digging them up before they were quite ready. Digging up day should be dry. Gil emphasised the importance of brushing off the mud to promote drying and that storage has to be in a dry place, on newspaper and covered to shield the potatoes away from any light. She indicated that we have several ‘spiked’ potatoes and recommended that harvesting is done by pushing a fork down vertically equidistantly from plants either side then easing the potatoes up. All useful tips and appreciated.

12th September

The big event of the week was, apart from a certain tennis match, the fixing of the cover over our new polytunnel on Friday. It looks great and a big thank you to our regular volunteers and supporters who turned up to get the job done. Steve Taylor continues to take a lead on this project and was back on Sunday cutting and drilling.

Our latest workshop headed by John and Gil will be this Wednesday 15th September 1 30pm to 2 30pm at the Serpentine Garden with a focus I believe on tomatoes. Come along if you can because they know their stuff. Anne Wood has put out a request for some more takeaway containers for the pea shoot kits with lids as well if possible. Anne also reports that we have had a visit from the Hattersley Community Garden team. Theirs is a much bigger set-up than ours and they have sheep and hens etc. They last  visited the Serpentine Garden 3 years ago and the encouraging thing is that they were impressed by our progress.

On site we continue to water, clear dead leaves, harvest beans and tomatoes, collect seeds, remove pests and sort out plants for the charity stall.

5th September

After a week when a grey blanket had spread over Buxton the sun finally broke through on Sunday and the whole town seemed to be buzzing, full of people. St Anne’s well has been beautifully dressed with a design celebrating our countryside and some of the town’s iconic buildings. All a reminder of the amazing place in which we live.

Several of our regular volunteers were back home during the week after their summer holidays and we are now looking ahead to autumn and beyond at the Garden. A walk round and chats have occurred in at least a couple of working sessions this week, giving thoughts to what we want to grow next year and what we want to drop. Such discussions inevitably pose questions about our general direction and the new large poly tunnel is integral to that. Soon it will be all hands on deck to drape the cover over the new structure and new possibilities will present themselves.

The October workshop will finally draw together our 2022 plans. Meanwhile copious weeding inside and out has been a main feature of work on site. Other tidying up has seen dead leaves being taken off tomatoes and brassicas to let in the light during the latter stages of growing.

The Tuesday group settled in the apple trees and pear tree that have just been donated. The netting is off the demo bed and the Sunday group has had a go at applying green manure via a mix of phacelia and rye. Fava beans are drying and will join the compost effort shortly. Margaret has had her soapy spray contraption on site and has hopefully encouraged the bugs to know they are not welcome.

Cropping has included broad beans, runner beans, courgettes, new zealand  spinach, cucumbers and blueberries. Produce has been put outside the Garden and has duly disappeared and been replaced by welcome donations. We are also turning to seed-gathering and pots are being filled with seed for next year’s ​beans, angelica and chives.

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