Working Notes November 2021

28 November

The week started with the usual ‘quiet time’ jobs being done. Fleece was put out in the herb greenhouse. Compost buckets were topped up; compost was applied to raised beds in p1 and p2; the paths were swept and leaves collected. The last of the tomatoes and New Zealand spinach have been removed. Some more settling in has taken place in our new poly 3.

For some time we have been nurturing a collection of fledgling trees. At the start of the week they were transported to Poole’s Cavern and placed in the Civic Association nursery for onward growth and a final destination in Grin woods, filling gaps created by ash die back.

Then it was Friday evening and down came the snow. Then it was Saturday and it froze then on Sunday it both snowed and froze. Sunday revealed that a willow branch of ours had dumped itself into the neighbours’ garden which Doug popped back. The polytunnels were found to be groaning under the weight of a slab of ice topped with a thick layer of snow, so efforts were made to relieve the polytunnels of some of the load which in its frozen state was reluctant to move.

21 November

The misty, moisty, mild autumn has continued through the week until today when a real frost marked the start of a bright, sunny but cold day. During the week the last of the chillies was gathered. The remainder of the New Zealand spinach was dug up too in anticipation of the cold snap. Seed collection has continued with the ever popular nasturtiums. Gil has brought in some green tomato chutney.

Lots of other regular maintenance is still ongoing; vermicomposting, weeding and sweeping of course and emptying of the hose system for winter. Less regular was our D of E attender learning from John how to split and pot bromeliads (that one got me Googling)

We are still just about planting too. Someone left a bare rooted fruit tree at our gate and this has been heeled in. Bags of iris plants donated by Patty have also been distributed around the site. Some whitebeam and coriander seeds have gone in too.Cropping has not stopped either with brassicas, sprouts, leeks and cavelo nero heading to various kitchens. Our collection of saplings has been gathered together ready for transfer to Grin Low where they will fill spaces left by ash die back.

We have project work to keep us busy over the winter. A start has been made on moving stuff from the poly 2 reception/social area to the brand new poly 3. Suddenly lots of space seems to be available at the front of poly 2 for more growing once the raised beds have been installed. Poly 3 seems roomier and sunnier that p2 and will do very nicely. It has been good already to know that the GPAC children’s group have been using it to spread out and have lunch.

14 November

The doors have been completed for the new poly 3….it’s all so nearly ready to go and commissioning it will make a great winter project.

Frances reports lots of activity in the dirt from the ‘Give Peas a Chance’ group from Buxton Junior School. The children have been looking at the importance of soil to plants. They have recreated their own soil layers in glass jars and looked at the components of soil They then did pH soil testing on samples from around Serpentine Garden – some garden clay and moorland peat.

It’s been a week of swapping. Coffee husks have arrived from Peak Bean as has a ton bag of gravel. Three apple trees have been offered and will add nicely to our stock. Meanwhile BCA is ready to accept the various saplings we have been nurturing ahead of planting at Grin Low.

Nasturtiums have been the seed collection stars of the week. They seem to be the most popular item when we hold a public event. Morning glory seeds have also been gathered.  Some harvesting continues with New Zealand spinach featuring. Verbena, aquilegia, lemon balm and foxgloves have been potted up. There has even been some planting with garlic and onion going in around the apple trees (they act as companions) Chard, all year round cauliflower and red currant from cuttings have been planted too.

Besides all this the usual mix of maintenance has continued with labelling; clearance of tomatillos; leaf mould put into the bin; levelling of ground completed for the new shed and a tidy up of poly1.

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