Monthly Archives: February 2018

Sunburned in Feb

We did have our doubts about starting up Taster Days in Jan and Feb but the weather and people were very kind to us. The weather kept its worst face hidden away giving us good and even glorious days like today to get on with the work and the joy of meeting together. People seemed hungry to start up the plot days and turned up in great numbers despite the chill of the first two days. Those who came today felt the sun take care of them as if it was Spring already.

Tony from the Youth Offending Team was the first to arrive today to introduce himself and tell us about the community allotments being started up in Norwich Avenue allotments site. They are there every Tue 9-12 and if you see a big Connexions van then you are certain they are there. Sounds like an ambitious project and we will make a visit to them as well. There are a number of plots in this area now moving us towards the dream of having a community allotment on each big allotment site and in every residents walking distance. Only in this area we have the St Lukes Community Allotment, Eastern Avenue Figure of Eight allotments and now Norwich Avenue joins the ranks. Great! Tony enjoyed and we will be support each other in developing our sites.

Then came Janice and did not shy away from the wheelbarrow and heavy soil to fill in some holes in the paths and then started working with Nella on weeding the strawberry patch. It is great to see the little on developing confidence and skill and you could hear her tiny voice asking “this one?” when picking out weeds from among the strawberries.

Fiona whizzed around with the cordless sander (courtesy of the Essex Community Foundation grant) preparing the shed surface for the layers of paint we hope to get from the kind folk at Homebase.

We put on the storm kettle to heat up the soup prepared for Alicja and had some fun with keeping the fire going and drawing using the burned sticks.

The lunch was gorgeous as usual – thank you Fiona for the bread and Alicja for the soups. Dessert was bread with slow gin jam or Hamstel Road honey bought from the Trade Hut. Flushed down with plenty of coffee and tea.

Vanessa visited us to chat about gardening and we exchanged gardening tips and tricks.

I continued digging up soil from our neighbors compost heap as they kindly agreed for us to use it for our hungry raised beds. A few more sessions and we will have them ready for planting.

Fiona was preparing the strawberry saplings and seeds for the Seed Share next week and we have closed the day very happy with a little sunburn.



Soggy Saturday

A bit of rain never stopped us!

I moved to the UK from sunny South Africa 14 years ago and the fascination with the weather is one of those British traits I have embraced. I think this is especially true of gardeners. I have to confess I am a fair weather gardener so I did have joy in my heart arriving on the plot on a lovely sunny crisp February morning.

We did the usual patrol around the plot to see how things are progressing, the willow walk planted a few weeks ago has settled in nicely


There is always a long list of tasks needing to be done but today our original, much loved, shed spoke to me. It has been looking sad and unloved for some time but today was the day something had to be done. Sarah and I set to, scraping off the old paint. As we did so it was clear that the wood at the front had started to rot in places and there was quite bad subsidence. An urgent confab was held and Duncan and Sarah came up with a plan to brace up the shed and make portico roof for the front so the rain can run off.


Did someone mention rain??

Kath carried on weeding with great British spirit

We had a bumper crop of new visitors to the plot despite the soggy weather. We welcome anyone to come and look, have a chat and a cuppa, get involved, whatever they want to do. One family, who live nearby, were considering whether to graduate from a balcony to an allotment, another family had heard about our child friendly family plot. Newbie J ended up helping Duncan with his shed- bracing construction.

While Duncan went to collect lunch ( and Kamil) Sarah and I seized control of the power tools and put up the portico, with satisfying results.

Once the wood has dried out we can treat the damp bits, prime and repaint it. I am working on a new design for a mural.

We plan to plant another vine by the trellis to take advantage of the water run off and to clamber over the shed. The side of the shed is south facing so perfect for beans or small squashes but watering has always been a problem, this way we have created a solution.

Today we couldnt imagine those dry summer days ahead. It was raining harder than ever! We all beat a hasty retreat to the large shed for lunch. Delicious veggie stew and soup to warm the cockles.

Our next plot day is tomorrow Sunday 18th Feb. We have bought it forward a week as next Saturday 24th Feb we shall be at  Seed Potato day at Trust Links Growing Together, Westcliff. 10 am to 2pm. South East Essex Organic Gardeners will be selling a large range of seed potatoes and onion sets. We will have a stall with seed swapping and more. There will be fantastic Indian food and tea and cakes. Music and lots else.