Weekly Updates January 2022

January 30th

A relatively quiet week on site this time but the jobs are being picked off. This has included pricking out cauliflowers; filling the sweet pea rolls ready for planting (yes even an empty toilet roll has a role!); some more hooks have been put up in the new shed (very much into finishing details now); a start has been made on putting wood chip into the raised beds (in poly 2) and lemon verbena has been put into packets ready for the forthcoming seedy Saturday event.

We need to give our big thanks to Phil Heathcote who has resolved a long running problem for us of how to bring in a delivery of topsoil. He has brought in 3.5 tons, the biggest load we have ever had from Waterswallows. Thanks again to Phil.

Anne Wood is doing a great job to make what she describes as “plans, hopes and dreams for 2022” as inclusive as possible. Our regular contributors are on site this Tuesday at 1 30pm to discuss and agree proposals for our planting programme for the year.

Seedy Saturday draws closer and the posters have started to go up for (at long last!) a public event at the Serpentine Community Garden. A reminder that this will be from 10 30am until 12 30 pm on Saturday 19th February.

January 23rd

We start with some big news. At last, our 25 year lease on the land we tend is ready for signature by trustees and HPBC officers. The final document, an engrossment, will be printed on the modern equivalent of vellum and bound before signature by all parties next week. Steve Taylor has done sterling work in securing this result, engrossing himself with the legal process. His blend of vision and meticulous attention to detail will be called on again over the next few months as we move to the second stage: agreeing the conditions for signature of the complementary lease on our dilapidated buildings.

Another person needing a mention is Keith who has completed new robust raised beds in poly 2. They are now ready for filling with soil.

On site some planting has taken place including spinach, parsley and radish. Brassicas have been netted; the beds in poly 2 have been hoed; a lot of calendula and nasturtium seeds have been collected; wood chip has been collected and pesky plastic bits have been picked out of the raised beds. Less headline grabbing but essential, the compost toilet has been cleaned, valiantly, by Anne.
It was the last session for the winter ‘Give Peas a Chance’ school children’s group and they finished making their Bug Hotels and decorated glass jars with the leaves they had collected from the ground a few weeks ago and pressed ready to use.
Anne and Keith popped in and suggested they pick some winter lettuce to eat; there was much excitement when a slug joined us for lunch! The GPAC group have persevered so positively through the winter and Diane has created a variety of projects and craft activities for the children to enjoy each week using a range of tools, learning new skills and exploring connections with nature. Thank you to the volunteers who have brought tasty vegetarian lunches that all the children have really enjoyed.  Families joined the group for the afternoon and the children were pleased to show their parents round the garden and explain what they have learned. Everyone enjoyed toasting marshmallows and receiving their certificates.

 Serpentine’s Summer GPAC group starts on 2nd April, hopefully not a snowy day!

January 16th

This was a week of some mild days and cold nights, varying between 11c by day and minus 4c degrees by night.

Saturday offered a freezing start to the day though. Our ‘Give Peas a Chance’ group of school children was back in action. The first thing they did was to scrape the ice off the tables!!! Hot drinks kept them all going and they started making their own bug hotels.

Otherwise on site there has been a lot of midweek activity.

The new shed looks fully ‘lived in’ with tools neatly stored. A new raised bed has been constructed in poly 2 to offer more growing space this season. In poly 1 John has taken forward the spreading of a new layer of wood chips on the floor. Poly 1 features a neat array of well organised salads. Some spinach has gone in.

The last of morning glory seeds has been collected. Spent brassicas have been taken out and some weeding and hoeing done. Helen has turned over the compost and some has been used to top up raised beds. The bird feeders have been topped up too.

Some harvesting has taken place – sprouts, kale and celeriac.

We continue to look for someone who might wish to co-ordinate the working sessions on Sundays. Please get in touch if you think this is something you might like to do and we will talk through what is involved.

January 9th

A belated happy new year to you and to our volunteers and members. It is of course quiet time for growing but the Serpentine Community Garden has already rolled into action.

We still have veg. growing outside and salads indoors and it is always amazing how plants tolerate the challenges of the winter. During the past week polytunnel 1 has registered temperatures from 11c to minus 5c. Snow cut short our midweek working effort. In the past week we have nevertheless harvested sprouts, kale, chard and broccoli. Weeding and tidying has resumed and the floor of poly 1 has received further attention.

On site the most noticeable change recently is the work Keith is putting in to fit out our new shed. The tools are going in and look neatly ordered.

Off-site Alyson has worked through a large heap of seeds. Many hours later the level of order, only possible from a former primary school teacher, has been achieved. In alphabetical order we have three packets of every type of seed we possess and the considerable surplus has likewise been ordered and is ready for distribution to our local community next month.

We are looking for someone who might wish to co-ordinate the working sessions on Sundays. Please get in touch if you think this is something you might like to do and we will talk through what is involved.

The proposed 2022 growing plans have been drawn up and are circulating…can’t wait for spring.

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