30 July: This year’s Buxton Fringe Festival has come to a close and so for many of our volunteers, who have also had a hand with other organisations around the town, it has been a chance to wind down.
Growing Well got the week off by harvesting a crop of potatoes, broad beans, onions, peas and mange tout. This week’s fruit/veg of the week was the apple. There were discussions on nutrition, varieties, recipes and history, which all came in handy when thinning out our apples around the garden.
Our compost and leaf mould bays have had a good turn and clear out, ready for fresh green waste and leaves. It also gave us a chance to repair any damaged and rotting bays with fresh pallets.
Today we hosted another Family Fun Day. Though the weather seems to have put off most of our regular family visitors, one lucky lad got to enjoy the garden all to himself, making compost mixes, sowing peas and harvesting potatoes.
I suppose the big topic of discussion for the week though revolved around the possibility of supplying produce to a local retailer in town. With the idea being floated last weekend many volunteers have offered their thoughts to me throughout the week. Any comments and concerns will be passed on anonymously to our group of trustees during the week. On a personal note though it has given me a greater insight into many of our volunteers thoughts on the direction of the garden and what they hope to personally achieve with the group.
23 July: Growing Well and Give Peas a Chance began the week by exploring their Veg of the Week, which this week was the carrot. There was carrot artwork, carrot history and a look into the nutrition of carrots. No doubt our participants now have the good vision to see the benefits of our deep rooted friend.
Our flowerbeds were due a good tidy up and timing could not have been better for Helen to deliver a workshop on weeding. With her guidance the Tuesday group did a splendid job on the weeds and of disposing of them.
With the help of everyone in the Wednesday group our new gazebo was erected in no time at all and our seating was cleaned and kept in dry storage ready for our performers on Sunday. A big thanks to Phil for lending the group a spare gazebo frame in case of an emergency on the big day.
But before I write about our Summertime Beano, a quick mention about the Thursday groups activities, helping the boys and girls from Serpentine Nursery collect flowers and petals for their very own well dressing back at the nursery.
The majority of the week though was dedicated to our Summertime Beano. A good glut of volunteers were on hand this morning to get the garden just right. From pegging down our gazebo and setting up the mocktail bar to cleaning the compost toilet, all hands were on deck. Despite the forecast of rain we were determined to make a day of it, and after a quiet and rather wet start, No Joke, a folk trio, brought a little sunshine to proceedings. And though I only heard them in rehearsals I’m sure, The Shortcomings were of equal quality too. Before I left quite a group was gathering outside, and even the sun decided to make a brief appearance. It was great to sit and watch families from far and wide, coming together, enjoying the garden and the music. It makes you realise how lucky we all are to have this little haven on our doorsteps.
16 July: It’s been a tough few weeks for the sun lovers amongst us and it looks as though this coming week is to be wet again. Though the weather seems dead against us getting the lawn cut it is giving nature a real chance to thrive.
During the week I checked in on the wildflower garden at The Palace Hotel, planted by our very own Nature Tots group and it is looking great. Despite being feasted on by the rabbits it is maturing nicely with borage, coneflowers and camomile. I hope to add some anemones later in the week to give it a little extra depth but the toddlers did a fantastic job and are welcome back anytime to help around the garden.
The storms have had a bit more of a damaging effect on the garden though, with our gazebo taking the brunt of the beating. Timing couldn’t have been much worse as next Sunday we are open from 1.30pm – 4pm for our Summertime Beano, with mocktails and music from No Joke + The Shortcomings from 2.30pm. We hope to have a new gazebo secured for then but if anyone hears of anything going through the grapevine we would appreciate a call.
In more alarming news we seemed to have had an intruder on site during the week. Opening up on Wednesday morning we discovered the remains of our carrot crop half eaten and spread around poly 2. We are open to any new information on the nibbler in question but our early investigation seems to be pointing the finger at a local squirrel.
Lastly, and most excitingly, I have spent the afternoon drafting some updates of our health and safety logs. Once our crack team has assessed the protocols we will need all volunteers to update these assessments for our records when they can.
I know! I said it was the most exciting.
9 July: This week Growing Well learned the art of drying onions while also checking in on their crop of tomatoes, beans and beetroot, which are all looking great. Once again the GPAC children were out in force, exploring the garden and discussing ideas for the upcoming arts projects we hope to get started throughout the summer holidays.
It’s the time of year where we are starting to get our early crop. Please feel free to help yourself to any produce around the garden though be aware of some plants we are allowing to go to seed. Anything earmarked for seeding will be tagged with blue string and an identification label.
For those on site please be aware of a wasp nest in the first raised bed in Poly 1. The nest has been flagged and is easily noticeable. For instances like this, and other health and safety related topics, we are in the process of updating our risk assessments and protocols. If anyone has any queries or former experience in health and safety protocols and would like to help with this process feel free to drop me an email.