Working Notes - April 2023

30 April: Growing Well kicked off the week by giving their insect hotel a nice spring clean, as well as sowing lettuce, radish and beetroot seeds. Having tended to the Growing Well bed and checking on their peas there was still time to prick out and re-pot some Calendulas and achochas.

On Tuesday, Richard hosted a hugely popular event on compost mixes and recipes. Those who could attend enjoyed a fantastic presentation on compost recipes, with years of knowledge shared and plenty of hands-on learning to take part in. Well done, Richard.

Excess turfs, leftover from our wildflower bank, have been put to good use; filling in our new raised beds as well as being used as the building blocks of a new hotbed. The new raised beds have also had a healthy dose of topsoil and are ready for planting. The hard graft hasn’t stopped there, with volunteers excavating the bank and pathway around our new gates and giving a fresh lick of paint to our Growing Well shed and compost toilet.

I like to also give a quick mention to Jill Barnard, having secured The SCG a pair of Garden Organic membership cards. Once the cards have been laminated  all members will be able to book the cards out for discounts and free entry into places such as Ryton organic Garden and more.

Lastly, I’m happy to announce The Palace Hotel has agreed to provide our Nature Tots group with a space to start a wildflower patch. I look forward to working with Frances and the whole Nature Tots group to spread our joy of gardening around Buxton.

23 April: I hope you have all found time to be out in the garden this week. Though the weekend has turned more on the dreary side it really is starting to feel like the growing season is upon us. For starters our community programmes are back under way, with both Growing Well and Nature Tots back on the agenda. This week the groups made their own compost, learned about soil health and sowed seeds of cucumelons, peas and gourds. Our weekly volunteers have also been on the sowing trail, planting Achochas, french beans, mizuna, pak choi, lettuce and spinach as well as planting out a raft of peas and beans. Alongside the veggies there have been plenty of flowers planted out and potted on, with wildflowers and aqualigia planted throughout the new flower raised bed, driveway and brash pile.

The big news of the week though is the completion of our shiny new gates. Though it was a long and arduous process the gates look and work great and everyone involved deserves praise. A special mention to the workman for taking some time out from excavating on site to fill our new raised beds. I’m sure the Wednesday group were happy for the break.
I’d also like to say a special thanks to Anne and Keith for not just completing the new raised beds but for coming in today and putting a real shift in on repairing some of the old ones. And don’t forget this Tuesday morning, Richard will be hosting an event live at the garden titled – Compost Mixes and Recipes.

16 April: As we all know the weather in Buxton can, on occasion, cause havoc in the garden. Our regular volunteers and visitors will be aware that our entrance gate is the latest casualty of the cold. Though some temporary measures have taken place to secure the site as of late everyone will be happy to hear that the new installation has been approved and work will take place this coming week.

The week began with our first live event of the year – a presentation of composting, bokashi and vermiculture by Helen and Diane. As I’m sure we are all aware nutritious soil is the first step to growing nutritious food, and for those who were unable to attend the event there is plenty of information available to browse through in the social tunnel as well as a follow up event on the 25th of April; Compost mixes and Recipes, led by Richard.
On the subject of soil we have received the analysis of our soil samples from the old depot area. Peak Environmental Services have provided us with a detailed report from three sample holes across the area. For anyone interested in reading the full report please get in contacted we will forward you a copy.
Next week we look forward to the start of two of our popular community programmes. After a long winter break we welcome back a new cohort of Growing Well participants starting on Monday the 17th of April, as well as our Nature Tots group from the 18th of April. I’m pleased to say after our family activity day last Sunday we were visited today by a young family with three young boys interested in vegetable gardening. Not having a garden themselves the boys were delighted when I offered them a space in our square foot bed to plant out their sweetcorn, which is currently growing in pots on a window ledge at home. Now that’s what a community garden is all about.

9 April: I hope you are all enjoying the Easter weekend as much as we did at the garden today. Though the weather started a little drab things soon picked up and our Sunday volunteers were busy as ever, watering, weeding and having a general spring clean around the grounds. There was even a lovely tea break with almond cake to celebrate Linda’s birthday, which went down a treat with everyone (thanks Linda).

Today was also the first of many family activity days we hope to showcase throughout the year. I’d like to say a special thanks to Frances Sussex for her hard work and for taking the lead role in educating the children about the garden. Amazingly, with France’s enthusiasm, the kids were just as interested in the bug safari and reading about nature as they were hunting for chocolate eggs. It’s great to have Frances on board with her upcoming Nature Tots programme, which if today is anything to go by the kids will love. Read up and share information about Buxton Nature Tots here >>>
Elsewhere this week our volunteers have sown parsnips, celeriac, Tundra cabbage, Rudolph broccoli, parsley, dill, coriander, coreopsis and safflower. The brash pile has also been topped up with old turf cuttings and planted with perennials. Keith, intent not just settling for building new raised beds and fixing the old ones, has been mending some leaks in the irrigation system ready for the summer.

2 April: Funny to think that just a few weeks back we were knee deep in snow. Now the spring flowers are out in bloom and bursting with colour. To continue the sowing spree from the last month our volunteers have planted red cabbage, cauliflower, cerinthe, asters, borage and a few rows of carrots.

Elsewhere the new raised beds have received a base layer of composted bark, delivered by JPR farms, and are ready for topping up with leaf mould and top soils layers. Soon our friends at Alliance Environmental Services will deliver plenty of soil improver to finish off the job, as well turf trimmings for our new wildflower bank. As timing has it we also happened upon a free delivery of wood chip for path surfacing, courtesy of a local arborist, and the bio-diversity group that does so much in The Serpentine Walks is transforming a patch of The Slopes into a wildflower area, allowing us to use the displaced turfs.

There has been much going on away from the garden also. Madeline Hall and Anne Wood represented us at the Wilder High Peaks first gathering – an excellent afternoon of workshops, activities and networking. We are now, literally, on the map with Team Wilder. Check it out here –

Melissa and some of our volunteers have put together an Event’s Diary, laying out important days and events throughout the year. This includes workshops and open days within the garden, as well as other events throughout our community. I will attach a copy of the calendar as it stands today, but keep an eye out for updated versions in the future. Our first workshop is this coming Thursday, the 6th of April, from 6.15pm to 7.15 pm. Titled – 2023 SCG Sowing and Growing Plan; growing for value, interest and taste – via a zoom chat, Melissa will go through this year’s growing plans for the garden. I attach more information below, and a link for the meeting will follow in a separate email.

Finally, as you know we are always looking to help out with local causes where we can. Transition Buxton, working alongside BugLife and some local schools, are planting £500 worth of wildflower plug plants to develop their ‘Bee Lines’ throughout Derbyshire. We will be playing our part by caring for these plug plants for a short while until they are ready to be dispatched around the local area. Similarly, come May, we will be taking on the Town Team’s Fairfield Road planters, giving them some well needed space to develop for their autumn changeover.

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