Although a more breezy day for our team we got our hats and jackets on and organised the main shed which far corner has not seen light probably from the day we put the shed up. Amazing satisfaction was flowing from a few shelves put up and we are ready to move in:)
We followed with a lovely lunch, more greenhouse work, preparing wood for the bonfire on the 5th of Nov and a little more gardening.
Thanks to Lester for gathering leaves up for us which will make a crumbly compost for next years potting and Bosco for finding the wood for us which we can use to make beds, planters and other structures.
Last weekend we surprised ourselves with the abundance of produce and friends who came to the plot.
Before we started feasting though we cracked on with removing dead grass, Duncan combed the grass with lots of determination and I swear I could hear the grass having a sigh of relief having lost bushels of dead hay. Later on Duncan went off with the new strimmer and was very impressed with its efficiency. One day when we have more volunteers than work we will go back to the manual tools but for the sake of efficiency we are resorting to battery powered tools.
Sarah started work on potting up the strawberry runners using some of our very own compost. Last year we must have had around 50 and they were quickly gone to friends gardens. Can we make 100 this year and get some donations to help us buy materials as needed? Remember to give your strawberries a haircut this time of year to remove dead leaves and the roots will spring new leafs before winter still. Give the plants space even foot wide to let the plant have a chance to deliver on its fruiting potential and not fight off other strawberries. With runners when you pot them cut the leaves off if there are too many. The root might dry out otherwise if the leaves have to transpire too much moisture.
Fiona painted signs for the allotment so it will be easier for prospective plot holders to get hold of the contact details of the main site society and also smaller signs for us so people can get to use easier.
We delivered lots of wood which will be used to build a pergola over the storage area which can be used for climbers such as our favourite (!) shark fin melon or an actual favourite which is the grape.
The families kept on streaming in and while some of us measured the plots to be able to create designs for the orchard and family plot others prepared the gazebo, tables and food and of course harvested the food.
We had our very own cherry tomatoes, welsh onion greens, grapes (10kg), courgettes, gem squashes, corn, kale, donated aubergines and cucumbers and anything else I might have missed. There was food a plenty and we rested while chatting.
Kids played and ate and played, it was a joy to see everyone relaxed and entertained.
At the end Piotr and his daughter offered us a gong bath which everyone enjoyed after a tiring but wonderful day. The vibration took everyone on a journey of relaxation and although only short everyone looked refreshed. Amazing what different interests and skills get brought and shared at the plot. Here’s to more surprises.
And some lovely comments from everyone:
Thanks for coming today. Please let me know how it was for you and I will include your feedback in the next blog post. It will help us and others understand the impact the project is making. It could be a word/sentence/ picture or paragraph describing yours or your child’s experience. As an example but not to limit you: What Connections have you made, what did you Learn, what did you Notice, what Physical Activity did you do or what did you Give to others of the project. Cheers and see you again.
food, chat, friends and fun outdoor play for the children
Nice to meet friendly people, lovely food, great playing opportunity for Samantha. She had loads of fun in the family plot with all the toys and play kitchen. And yes, grapes! Oh, and I learned about bananas being used to encourage tomatoes to ripen!
I enjoyed how my sense of well-being changed as I intermingled with gentle people. The sharing of each others food really resonated with me, eating, laughing, sharing and talking outside of your comfort zone has a positive impact on your mental health. To see people coming together to grow, dig and share their knowledge reminds me that I’m not alone in wanting a better future for me and my family. Thank you SIT for providing that
We popped over to the plot to feed the compost bins.
We do love compost. To get to compost though we need some help from our local gardening community. A few local gardeners are dropping off their green “waste” to us which we can use to feed the hungry compost bins. It makes life easier for them, cuts down on waste and builds our soil.
Lasagna composting – a layer of twigs or wood chip, some greens like grass cuttings or some food waste from a my local bistro Conscious Kitchen topped with some Waitrose coffee grounds and a flush of water. Repeat and in a few months time we will be sieving through nice and crumbly compost.
If you have ideas for mutually beneficial relationships between the plot and its community and the neighborhoods, its residents and businesses call us or visit the plot for a cup of tea.
Great weather, plot of land and plenty of helpers made for a splendid open day. People were pouring in and finding ways to get themselves involved. It is nice when newcomers build confidence and over time feel like they can and want to help out on the plot. It is not a requirement as we enjoy having people for just company but the place is at its most therapeutic when one gets lost in as simple an activity as weeding, watering, thinning or compost making.
The kids played in the shade, on the water table and explored the allotments but I think they will remember the water balloons most:) and so will everyone who got splashed.
The gazebo was again blessing us with its shade and it is certainly hard to miss us from a distance now.
Me and Duncan went back to my base to pick up the scaffolding boards we had been kindly donated by LAB Scaffolding 01702535265. By the time came back the hungry folk were stuck in lunch and enjoyed the potato salad and everything else that was brought in.
Ines and Alex signed their souls away…ahem… signed the health and safety note and were going to use their advanced woodworking skills to get the work started on the raised beds on the family plot. We were thinking and dreaming of that plot and its design for months now so to see it actually happening is very satisfying. The tools we bought from the Essex Foundation grant will help us accomplish the work quickly and give man and women a level playing field in working with the scaffolding boards.
See you Sunday the 23rd 10-14 for another open day. Bring yourself, friends for a jolly time. If you want make or bring some food for sharing but most important just give yourself the permission to feel better about the place and community you live in and look after the body given to you by nature.
The last Taster Day felt like the community allotment is coming of age. There was lots to do, lots of generous helping hands to do it and plenty of chatter and food.
We had Freya and Tom help us with the grass mowing and the team cleared the prolific broad beans to give the gooseberry some breathing space. It will make lovely compost in months to come.
People kept on streaming in and the weather was becoming hotter and hotter so we decided to set up the compact gazebo and fold-able table which we purchased from the Essex Community Foundation grant. Great thanks to Tilly and her family for help with setting it up – good to have someone who knows what they are doing. The gazebo is of professional standard and will last us for a long time. Built in Britain so it will be easy to source parts if needed. We got it for exactly for this purpose – to protect us from the elements on the plot and events. The gazebo sheltered us from the scorching sun and wind this time but in Autumn when it rains intermittently it will be nice to have a dry spot to wait the worst out with a cup of tea.
Ines and Alex visited and told us more about the community theater workshops and the people’s choir. We will be working together to make use of the plot and maybe stage a play! I would love for us to have a play there, maybe in the evening with some candles and lampoons hanged on the trees and plenty of burning herbs to drive the mosquitoes away. To find out more about the work of the theater company see www.capataro.com.
Thanks to the grant we were also able to purchase some battery powered tools and Duncan was able to crack on with the fencing for the family plot and in no time erected a many of the required posts. The quality tools will enable us to speed up some of the DIY efforts and involve a greater number of people to learn how to use them and build confidence. Alex and Ines came forward to help with the wood work on the plot so we might see some construction work going on soon.
We had more visitors streaming in with Piotr and his family who brought tasty smoothies and cookies. The latter ones must have been very popular as they disappeared in no time. The kids played with the water and in between the beds and then we enjoyed the beautiful lunch.
Following lunch we explored the wilderness next to our patch. Some revelers from other plots must have cleared paths in the thick jungle and we went for a walk about. The ivy covered wild cheery trunks shooting straight up to the sky give an impression of tropic wilderness. There were deep holes dug up by foxes and birds enjoyed the thicket. It’s going to be a few more weeks and we will be able to gather the juicy black berries. At the moment we have to carefully navigate their branches growing in all directions and reaching out for us like greedy fingers.
We returned to the tasks and some of us chatted about life, community and projects.
See the pictures and come see us in two weeks time.
Some late pictures from a wonderful day on the plot. Thanks to LAB scaffolding for the donated boards. Planted potatoes and flowers in the new beds on the family plot under the watchful eye of Duncan working on the heights of the shed.