Working Notes - August 2022

28 August 2022

I’d like to start this week’s email by thanking all the volunteers, old and new, who have been on site the last 6 weeks while I have covered for Melissa. There have been some early mornings and long days but it has been great to get to know you all a little better and see your contributions to the garden first hand. You’ll all be glad to hear Melissa will be returning to her regular days from this week coming and I’d like to be first to welcome her back home. I’ve had many a chat over the weeks about the garden and what you’d all like to see improved, and I will be arranging to meet up with Melissa to discuss all your ideas.
This week has seen a big effort in tidying up the flowerbeds. The entrance into the garden is really starting to take shape and with all the ideas being discussed and careful planning I feel it will have a real wow factor come next year and really showcase what can grow locally.
We are starting to gather a large quantity of seeds including a variety of lettuce, french beans, morning glory, sweet peas and nasturtiums. As well as seed collecting we have sown some winter lettuce, Pak Choi, coriander, thyme and tarragon.
Despite this weeks food collection at The Residents of Fairfield Association being off due to the bank holiday, I’m glad to say we still had some lovely donations of tomatoes, courgettes and beans to the garden this afternoon. Luckily one of our Sunday regulars helps out with the Zinc Project and will donate these donations, as well as some crops of potatoes, runner beans, courgette, cucumber, chard and tomatoes from the garden, to the Zink Project this Wednesday.
I’d like to give a special mention today to Steve. As well as helping one of our new recruits re-stake some tomato plants which had grown too big for their boots I have never seen someone with such talent for catching butterflies with his bare hands. It was something to behold.

21 August 2022

This week began with our third group in our Growing Well project. It’s been excellent to hear that some of the cohorts from the Growing Well groups are showing real positive signs of improvement in their general health and well-being and are actively seeking out jobs to get stuck into around the garden.
Projects like Growing Well are really what get the name of the garden out into the community and I like to think we are moving in the right direction as we have had a flutter of new volunteers joining over the last few weeks.
Another project we have in the pipeline is Nature Tots. Frances, who championed our Give Peas a Chance programme, is looking to start a new group running on Sunday mornings. The idea is to get children and their parents/carers together to learn about all the wonders of the natural world around the garden.
In the garden things are doing well. Our first tomatoes are ripening nicely and we have had our first batch of Petite Pan squash. In our second week of collection for the food bank at the Residents of Fairfield Association we have collected beetroot, squash, courgette, cucumber, potatoes, chilli peppers, green beans, tomatoes and carrots. We will share some photos on our Facebook page. For anyone who wishes to get involved themselves can join our Facebook group by searching for Home Growers of Buxton on Facebook or by donating any excess produce to the Serpentine Community Garden every Sunday between midday and 2pm.

14 August 2022

It’s been another scorcher or a week. Even so, we have been steadily working throughout the garden and planning for new initiatives. The last week or two we have seen many new volunteers signing up to help around the garden. With each new volunteer comes new discussions and ideas. Though these are predominantly garden related there has also been talk about other interests, including foraging, craftwork sessions and woodwork days. I’ve been really interested in listening to people’s ideas of how we can increase our reach throughout the community as well as helping volunteers old and new increase their skill set.

As well as new volunteers, we have also had many people come to visit the garden. We recently had a visit from a group involved in a community garden in Lancaster, Claver Hill Community Food Growing Project. The co-ordinator, Kathy Barton, was very impressed by our set-up, took some salad and basil for a donation of £5 and was very keen to extend an invitation to all our volunteers/members to visit their garden if they’re ever in the area. She was pleased to share her contact details with anyone interested. She’s usually there on Mondays and Fridays, although the project is also open on Thursdays and Sundays. She can be contacted on 07725 839578 or at There’s also a website:
We have put good use to our new electric Flymo mower, having tidied up some of the entrance to the garden. In the next few weeks we will be looking to expand the cleanup effort across the entire entrance, clearing space for plans for a propagation area.
Throughout the week we have cropped mountains of courgettes, cucumbers, beans, beetroot, potatoes and salad leaves, as well as a full tray of chilli pepper plants. As today was our first collection for local food banks we have also been donated a batch of cooking apples, spinach, kale and tomatoes. As well as donations, I’ve been really pleased to say we have had visitors very interested in our food share scheme and come to see the garden and see how they can help.
It’s just a small first step toward achieving greater food security within our little town but hopefully it’s the first of many.

7 August 2022

July was busy to say the least, kicking off with the Buxton Carnival, followed by our Mix it up Session, The Buxton Garden Trail and The Fringe Awards. We are also now officially on the grid, with a working kettle. Over the month we have had over 200 visitors and a number of potential volunteers enquire about joining, which is well worth raising a mug of tea over.
This month has begun with a mammoth harvest of the last of our blackcurrants, which have now been uncovered and pruned back. A few volunteers are turning their hand over to propagation, taking cuttings of pelargoniums and fuchsias.Green manure has been sown in Poly 2, in the bed vacated by our Magnum Bonum peas, which have been harvested and kept for seed.
We have had our first harvest of early potatoes and broad beans, as well as gooseberries, kale, cucumber, courgette, french beans, peas and spinach. We have had a fabulous donation of a Flymo hover mower which will help us tackle a few problem areas around the garden, which we hope to put to better use in the near future.
We are looking to do our part to help local families suffering from food poverty by donating some of our fresh produce throughout the community. I have recently set up a facebook group named ‘Home Growers of Buxton’ to reach local home growers who would like to join us in our quest to bring healthy, fresh food to those in need. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in please checkout the Facebook group ‘Home Growers of Buxton’ and see how you can join in.
In the long term, we are also looking to offer not just fresh produce but ‘living food’, donating chilli pepper plants, pots of herbs and fruit plants throughout the community. We began this week by potting up some strawberry runners to overwinter ready to donate next spring and have some chilli peppers flowering in our greenhouse ready for donation next week. Together we can make this lovely little town an even better place to be.

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