We're here every Wed 2.30-4.30pm. Do join us to garden or say hello. We've restarted the allotment with local residents at William Dunbar/Saville House. Best way to find us is to go up Albert Road and turn right just past the low building and look out for the greenery.
Latest Activity: Apr 10, 2022
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ARE YOU INTERESTED IN FOOD GROWING AND WORKING IN A GROUP?
Our weekly work sessions at the WILLIAM DUNBAR/SAVILLE ALLOTMENT, Albert Road NW6 5DE (behind the community resource centre in the middle of the tower blocks) will start on Wednesday 19 March 2.30-4.30.
We will have a tidy up of the site, review our winter planting and do some planning for the coming months. Its a wonderful space - full of fruit trees, birds and plenty growing beds in which to plant our favourite vegetables plus some we have not tried before. We share out the harvest so everyone has something to take home. Everyone is welcome whether you are an experienced food grower or have never tried it before.
Although our numbers are small throughout the summer we have enjoyed a great feeling of cooperation and working together . Over the last few weeks we have been rewarded with a fantastic harvest. Proof that it was well worth the hard work earlier in the year of digging over the soil and planting all those potatoes. Both Desirees and Charlottes abundant and almost perfect with very little damage from slugs. Blauhilde the French climbing bean was a beautiful sight with their purple pods and flowers. We netted the kale and it seemed to have payed off as there are no holes indicating that the caterpillar is around. Our courgettes have now run out of steam and thats not surprising as they produced a couple of wonderful looking marrows. The yellow being the best cropper. The squashes sadly just disapeared and we never got to see a pumpkin. Our produce has made the transition from earth, harvest to cooking pot very quickly and been turned into some wonderful meals. If I had to pick a winner it would probably be the plum sauce, from our own plum tree, a magic sweet and sour combination. Great with those veggie sausages. On Wednesday we put in onions, cabbage and leeks. We will probably beat a hasty retreat at the end of October to our armchairs to do some winter planning before those freezing winter winds set in between the tower blocks. Meanwhile we are always on the look out for more people, experienced or otherwise, to join in and share the growing experience.
It was fantastic to enjoy such lovely weather yesterday. Too many Wednesdays have been cold and wet and found even the keenest food grower shivering. Five of us planted, weeded, dug, watered, discussed and planned. There was competition to use the hose and thanks to Tom who managed to fix the connector we didnt lose most of the water! Our beds are now full of potatoes, broad beans, runner beans, salads, artichokes, parsley, kale, beetroot.......Spinach, onions and salads were harvested. Squash raised from seed from last year's Seed Swap has been planted in a builders bag. Fingers crossed that we will actually get some squash this year. During our refreshment break Paula noticed that a bluetit had made a nest in a tiny hole in the wall of the tower block. A true example of resiliance and use of available materials! Thanks to Stephanie, Paula, Tom, Lynn and Pete for all turning up and getting tools out when the weather hasnt been great! We welcome everyone, new or experienced who is interested in growing food on Wednesdays 2.30-4.30.
17 bags of manure were delivered on Wednesday our first meeting of the year - thank goodness we now have a wheelbarrow! It was warm enough to enjoy a cup of tea outside and do some planning for the coming year. Seeing the robin and blackbird pecking over the new ground for worms made spring feel just around the corner! Our efforts in securing the nut feeder with wire seems to have been successful in keeping out those persistant squirrels. We hope to increase our yield and grow more of what went well last year ie potatoes and kale in addition to parsnips, brocolli, beans and courgettes. We will get some more builders bags, try them in a different place and see if the weather will be kind enough to give us some courgettes. We would also like to make a herb bed for mint and coriander. A lovely place where anyone interested in growing food is welcome.
LOCKED OUT AND £50.00!!
Starting with the bad or not so good news last week saw us locked out from the allotment for the third time this year. Seems an interloper put a heavy duty padlock on the gate. Our friendly partners at BHP are of the view that the space should be locked and have replaced the padlock with another. Those of you who know the site will be aware that until recently there were several points of entry to the allotment making it an accessible space. Well ...now there are none! We have been given a key but clearly we want the space to be open for residents to drop by at any time to see what we are growing and hopefully encourage involvement. We also want our gardeners to have access in the growing season. We will continue to make these points to BHP and hopefully reach a solution that it is acceptable to all stakeholders/partners. On a much brighter note we were lucky to finish off our growing year by participating in a Phd research project on community gardening via Southampton University. We took part in a 90 minute interview about our involvement in the allotment. I think I can speak for everyone in saying that we found it an energising experience. We discussed history, organisation, management, connection with other groups, wildlife and biodiversity. Not surprisingly, although we are a diverse group, we found common themes and threads that have brought us together. Continuing on an upbeat theme, for participating in the project we were thrilled to be given a £50.00 voucher to spend on the allotment! This is definitely the end of our activity for this year (apart from ensuring that the blue tits and our friend the robin are fed) but we plan to be back initially in the New Year with a teaching session on fruit tree pruning then planning for the growing season in February.
Last week so that the allotment didnt miss out on Halloween (or to reconnect with pagan roots) someone kindly left us two (plastic) skeletons on sticks to watch over us whilst we were working. Four of us plus our honorary member the robin, fought off the cold to plant more onions and garlic. So far the young brocolli seems to be surviving under its shelter of fleece. Thanks Pete for the kohlrabi from your plot which sadly lost its beautiful colour so quickly after being picked. The battle with the squirrel over the nut feeder continues and is not lost or won yet. Imagine the despair on finding that squirrel has found a way to force up the mesh of our lovely new feeder. We are searching for a way to keep his claws out but not yet found it ........
I attended a resident involvement meeting today in the resident's room in one of the blocks. It was great to see their newly restored and decorated room up and running. One resident has declared a positive interest in becoming involved in the allotment. There is also a possiblity of doing some preserving with the allotment fruit next year when the resident's room gets a cooker.
There will be no meeting this Wednesday. Our last meeting of the year will be on Wednesday 14 November. Hopefully we will get some kale to complete our winter planting. A warm welcome to anyone who is brave enough to face the cold!
Six of us plus two visitors had a lovely day on Wednesday. Digging over and digging in manure made me think back to when we started last year and how hard the ground was. A drill for digging up roads might have been useful but back breaking work by volunteers has really paid off! Adding manure at the start of the growing year greatly enhanced the soil which had been left to its own devices for the last ten years. Instead of hitting a rock hard surface the spade now glides through the earth - we even have our own worms to help us do the work! Sadly no sign of the robin this week. Garlic, shallots and Japanese onions were planted out in our slightly haphazard crop rotation plan. It was lovely to have a visit and make links with Lesley from Granville Community Centre. We sent her away with a large bunch of chives and hope to return the visit to view their fruit growing beds. Keeping the best till last ......we harvested the sweetcorn and just had enough to share out with everyone. It tasted devine so that goes to prove that small harvests have big impact! Thanks Lynn for the green tomatoes which I have now turned into chutney. Thanks also to Mohan, Stephanie, Paula and Tayho for all your enthusiasm and committment in keeping the space vibrant and alive. Everyone is keen to carry on so long as the weather holds up so we will be there at least for the next few weeks.
Five of us (with our resident robin watching from the sidelines waiting eagerly for worms!) turned over the soil and dug in some lovely, rich, manure. Although the beans have been disapointingly poor the potatoes have been surprisingly abundant. For the last few weeks we have been overjoyed with the number of large, beautiful potatoes that have been harvested. Not only have they rewarded us with a large crop they have also been undemanding in attention, sitting in the ground working away on their own waiting to be turned into delicious meals - so win, win, all round. Other delights have been the parsley which started off as a few small plugs and has now turned into large, green clumps. We still wait for the grapes to ripen - maybe in time for Christmas? Thanks to everyone who has contributed and worked towards making this into such a productive, friendly space.
We transplanted some raspberry canes this week and harvested runner beans, raspberries and salad. After the dry spell we needed to water though looking out of the window now that's hard to believe.
More allotment tales or tails?
We continue to have interesting and productive times at our food growing space. We were surprised when filling up the wheel barrow with some old bags of grass seed that had burst open to see a tail! Seems a mouse had set up home in one of the bags and was about to be made homeless. We let it free and hopefully it will find somewhere else to set up a home. There were further surprises when I found what I thought was a slug attached to a potato only to be informed that it was a leech! Now how did that get there? Our final wildlife tale is that we have been adopted by a robin who follows us around looking for worms and food. Our committed group of gardeners continue to meet weekly and with their energy we have produced: a wonderful harvest of potatoes, sweetcorn that are forming their cobs, runner beans, French climbing beans, beetroot and parsley. The plums were shared out and ended up as chutney, compote and muffins. We have just planted some leeks and are thinking about what can sustain us through the winter. Although some of our planting has not produced a huge harvest one of our food growers pointed out that "our vegetables are special because they have good vibrations!" Last week some of us went to visit the vegetable garden on the roof of the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank. We exchanged tales with the gardeners and were given a verbena plant for the allotment which will attract butterflies. We picked up some great ideas such as making our own herb garden, planting a few unusual vegetables and putting up a chalk board so we can record what is growing. We will continue meeting weekly until mid to end October then have a review. Everyone is welcome to come along on a Wednesday 2.30-4.30 until then.
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