Working Notes - October 2023

22 October – Apologies for this week’s email being a little later than usual. I arrived home from the garden this Sunday to a very poorly 3 year old who has needed some extra TLC. Though young Harvey is starting to perk up it was a shame he wasn’t well enough to join us for Apple Day, as I’m sure he would have loved the simplicity of it all. Chopping, crushing and pressing apples into a sweet, sticky juice, all on hand cranked machinery, is enough to bring out the child in even the most mature of us. And the end product wasn’t bad either. With a few visitors on site to sample our juice, as well as Janette’s apple tarte-tatin and Linda’s lemon madeleines, it turned out to be a pretty good day.

Of course there has been plenty else going on around the garden too, with volunteers and guests braving the torrential downpours throughout the week to attend our Growing Well programmes, as well as sorting seeds for autumn sowing and taking cuttings of herbs and flowers. I’d also like to thank Able Trees for their large delivery of wood chip, which will coming in handy for mulching our paths over the winter months.
As the growing season is quickly coming to a close we are preparing for the year ahead. A seed planning meeting has been arranged for Tuesday the 14th of November at 11.30am. The meeting will be held in our social tunnel, and for those who can’t attend on the day there is a board in place to write down any ideas or reservations. We also have the AGM being held on the Sunday the 19th of November in the school room at Poole’s Cavern from 2.30pm.
Lastly we are looking to arrange a few maintenance days on site to repair some of our raised beds and other structures. Nothing is set in concrete yet, though a few Sunday’s over the coming months will probably be the best time for the work to commence. So for anyone interested in getting on the tools, or have friends or family members who don’t mind getting their hands dirty, feel free to give me a message and I will keep you all updated on when the work will begin.

15 October – Walking the dog this morning, with the first overnight frost still fresh on the ground, it felt that winter had suddenly arrived. With last weeks warmth fast becoming a fading memory, our volunteers have been on hand throughout the week, clearing out the raised beds of tomatoes, courgettes and more, in preparation for sowing our winter veg. There was also a lovely autumn display of gourds and dried sunflowers to admire in the social tunnel.


Discussing next year’s plans with the Sunday group we pondered planting ideas, from what we know can grow in Buxton to what we would like to see grow. It was a fun talk, with discussions of the everyday mushroom and its health benefits to the more exotic Callaloo, with its ability to adapt to varying climates over time. Please feel free to discuss what you would like to see more of throughout the week with your day organisers and hopefully we can put together a diverse plan for next year.

You may have also noticed there is a bit of scrap metal dotted around the garden in the form of old fences, cages, etc. I have spoken with a local scrap man about coming to remove any items which are not wanted or have no use. If there is anything someone would like to keep for a project or to take home please discuss this with your day organiser and keep to one side for safe keeping.

Lastly a big thanks to the Wednesday group for once again going on their annual apple adventure, returning to the garden with crates bursting full with a great variety of apples.

8 October – I hope you are all putting this little late summer sun to good use. Here at the SCG, our volunteers have spent the week collecting seeds including calendula, nasturtiums, marigolds, zinnias, sunflowers and coneflowers, all of which will be packed for our seed swaps early next year. We are also looking to put together our seed and planting plans for 2024. If you have any ideas for what you’d like to grow please speak with Melissa or myself and we can look to start getting the ball rolling.

It’s that time of the year again when our volunteers go through our tomato harvest for the yearly ‘Taste Test’. So far a few varieties seem to be standing out including, Blue Bayou, (Linda’s) Tigerella, Red Alert, Cheethams Potato Leaf, Karaliki and Green Bell. There is still plenty of fruit in poly 2 so, if you haven’t done so yet, take the taste test and let us know your thoughts, it all goes to helping us choose what varieties to grow for next year.
We’ve also had a few donations throughout the week. K. Horncastle has kindly donated the items from his late father’s shed, including heated seed trays, tools and seeds, all of which look to have been kept in fine condition by his father. We’ve also been contacted about taking in a 2nd hand greenhouse, which should be on site this Tuesday. If nothing else we hope to salvage the polycarbonate sheets for use on our cold frames, which have just had new lids fitted for winter.

1 October – It’s safe to say the best of the weather is certainly behind us. Throughout the week our volunteers have used their time to storm proof the garden, re-staking the brassicas and removing any netting. They have also been preparing for the change of the season, emptying our leaf mould bays and preparing the raised beds and cold frames for some much needed repairs.

Throughout the week some of our trustees have been on site to discuss the SCG’s principles on sustainability and protecting the environment. The full document can be found on the whiteboard in poly 3, with our main principles looking at growing produce in an organic way, sourcing materials as locally as possible, creating as little waste as possible while also improving the biodiversity around the site. We have been contacted by Transition Chesterfield about putting in an order for their potato day. This year’s varieties include Acoustic (2nd early), Kerr’s Pink (Main), Premier (1st early), International Kidney (1st early) and Caledonian Pearl. Anne will be putting our order in in the middle of October so please leave a paper order in the diary before then.

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