Potatoes

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Over the past couple of years, we have grown potatoes in the community garden with varying success. So, at the start of this year I decided to get some professional advice from an organic farmer. I asked him where the best place to buy seed potatoes is, and he told me that it’s difficult to find good quality seed potatoes that don’t cost a fortune. A couple of days later, I saw some seed potatoes in Wilko for £2.50 – £3.00 per bag. Working on the assumption that maybe 50% of the crop would grow, I bought lots. Three months later, we are shocked and thrilled to announce that ALL of the potatoes have grown. ALOT. Today, we harvested the first of them. I haven’t had a chance to try them yet, but they look delicious.

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Thanks to Carol from Mackintosh Community Garden who gifted us some new plants this year, we once again have strawberries growing in the garden. There have only been two ripe ones so far, but there are lots more growing. Martyn also did a fab job of designing and making an up-planter from some plastic piping that the local builders were throwing away.

Gooseberry and blackcurrant season is also upon us once again. Get down to the garden Saturday 10am-2pm if you’d like to pick some fresh, tasty berries. You might even find a few raspberries and red berries.

We had lots of visitors in the garden today. It’s fascinating to meet all the different people who use produce from the garden for very different reasons. A lady came in with her children and asked if she could pick some of the plums. I told her they’re not ripe yet, and she explained that she wants the green ones to use in a medicine she makes.

Some of the children from Mackintosh Community Garden came along and watered the flowers and vegetables for us. This is such an important job at this time of year, so we really appreciate their help.

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After closing Plasnewydd Community Garden today, I joined the volunteers at Mackintosh Community Garden for The Great Get Together. Wow, what a party! It was great to see so many people coming together to enjoy the garden and each other’s company.

Don’t forget, Plasnewydd Community Garden is open every Saturday 10am-2pm. We love having visitors, so please come along and say hello. This Wednesday, 21st June, we also have a very special event. A herbalist will be visiting us in the garden 6-7pm to teach us more about the herbs we grow in the garden and how we can use them.

We hope to see you all soon 🙂

 

What a busy month!

dsc_0156We have had a crazy busy month in the community garden.

Back in October, we once again took part in the Made in Roath festival. Lots of you creative residents helped Martin to extend his cityscape of ‘Lowry houses’. They all look so colourful and really brighten up the garden. We also welcomed the caterpillar crawl, and were privileged to watch the caterpillar participants transform into a beautiful butterfly.

So far this month, we have joined in with the #loveyourclothes clothes swap hosted by our friends at Green City Events, AND on the same weekend we were also invited to the police Halloween party at Plasnewydd Community Centre. Martin was kept busy carving pumpkins with all the party-goers, and I had a go at some spooky skeleton and pumpkin face-painting (plus a butterfly, at special request). The celebrations and events did not stop there. This week, we were invited to another Halloween party at Mackintosh Community Garden (with vegan marshmallow toasting – yummy!). Finally, today we were back at Mackintosh Community Garden to witness the burning of the guy that some of the hard-working volunteers spent the morning making.

Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about the garden. Garlic and broad beans have already been planted for next year (and are already growing!!!), and we are currently busy preparing the empty beds ready for the winter frost. As always, we welcome any volunteers who would like to come along. If gardening isn’t your thing, Martin also has some exciting wood work projects on the go.

It certainly has been an eventful and tiring month, but also so much fun. As always, photos are up on our facebook page and twitter. The garden in open, weather permitting, every Saturday 10am-2pm. We hope to see you all soon.

 

Cabbages, Broccoli and a Wonky Leek

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For those of you who have seen the photos on our facebook page today, you’ll already know that the late Welsh sunshine has encouraged lots of vegetables to suddenly shoot up in the community garden.

For the first time ever we have grown broccoli and cabbages.

The cucumber and radishes are growing at last, although for some reason the cucumbers are growing curly. They still taste good though!

Even some of the crops that were devoured by slugs at the start of the summer have re-appeared. We have 2 ears of sweetcorn growing strong, even though the slugs ate all but the very bottom of the stalks. The little critters also seem to have given up on the second round of carrots and leeks that I planted. As you can see from the above photo, a few of the original leeks did survive but this one seems to have trouble sticking to the conventional shape of a leek!

We have some exciting events coming up soon. Check out our facebook page for more information about our upcoming celebration of our Green Flag Award on September 10th. Everyone is invited to bring some food along to share with the community, or make a donation to the garden if you would prefer. There will also be arts and crafts, life music and lots more fun and games on the day. We can’t wait to see you all there!

25th July 2016 – Garlic & Beans

IMGP2364.JPGThe free produce table is looking a bit lighter than it usually does at this time of the year, but there are some fruits and vegetables that have survived the slugs and the ants.

The berries are looking great. The redcurrants are the first to be picked, but we reckon by next week we’ll also have gooseberries and blackcurrants to give away. These are two fruits that we always produce in abundance, so if anyone likes making jam or anything else that involves large quantities of gooseberries and blackcurrants please come down to the garden and pick some.

The first of the garlic came up this week. This has been one of our most popular crops the past couple of years, and it always goes quick. We staged the garlic this year, to make sure the season lasts longer and more people get to try it.

The rhubarb, as always, is still going strong. We’ve still got lots of rocket as well. I’ve been eating it in salads all week and it is really tasty. I’ve planted some other different varieties of salad leaves, so hopefully they will survive the slugs ready for when the rocket does all go.

Even in spite of black fly (which we’ve been fighting with warm soapy water), the broad beans and doing great. I’ve also been throwing these into my salad raw and they taste amazing! They’re also a really handy snack when I’m walking around the garden. As with the garlic, we also staged the broad beans this year so they will be available for a good few weeks.

We’re hoping the first early potatoes will be ready soon, which I am very excited about. The shallots and onions also look like the only crops to have come through the critter war completely unscathed, I can’t wait to see what they’re like when we pull them up.

Strangely, the cabbages are looking really good at the moment. I say strangely because, in previous years when the harvest has been much better, the one thing we have been unable to grow successfully is cabbage. This year, not much else is growing but they are thriving. We can only assume that the invasion of slugs and snails has meant fewer caterpillars.

On the subject of the slugs, and the fact they seem to be ruling in the garden this year, we have a new theory that maybe there are fewer frogs in the neighbourhood this year to eat the slugs. There has been a lot of building work going on locally, and with it a reduction in the number of ponds and wet areas. Seeing as we are building a rain garden anyway, Martin is now incorporating some small ponds into the design. Hopefully the frogs will find them attractive and decide to move in. If not, I’ll be on the look out for some frog spawn.

As always, if anyone would like to come along and visit us Saturdays 10am – 2pm you will be more than welcome. We are always on the look out for new volunteers. It’s not just digging and planting that needs to be done, we have lots of construction projects in the pipeline and events to plan. For more information contact us via our facebook page Plasnewydd Community Garden.

 

14th May 2016 – Sas vs Nature

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The sun is out here in Cardiff this weekend, and I have been making the most of it by getting lots done in the garden.

Some of the vegetables that we planted earlier in the season are coming along well, and it looks like we’re going to have a bumper crop of garlic, onions and broad beans again this year. I found a space for the rest of the onions yesterday, so we should be getting a second crop of those too!

I had another mass planting session again yesterday. After the slugs and/or snails ate the brussels sprouts and cauliflowers we planted under the closh, I’ve planted the remainder of the seeds into the brassicas bed in the hope that at least something will grow. We don’t have a great track record with brassicas in Plasnewydd garden though, so don’t get your hopes up for a lot of fresh produce from that bed this year.

The fennel seeds are in the ground, soon to be accompanied by the sweetcorn seedlings that Martin started off earlier in the year. I can’t wait for the fennel to grow, we grew some 2 years ago and it tasted so delicious roasted with other vegetables. The new seeds from the plants also  make a great salad topping, or a natural alternative to chewing gum.

Just like the sprouts and cauliflowers, the critters in the garden also ate the tomato plants that we started under the closh. When I dug the bed over to plant some directly in the ground, I found a MASSIVE ants nest. So, I’m not convinced that even they are going to survive. In an attempt to beat the slugs and ants, I decided to plant the last packet of tomato seeds into bags. Tomatoes have grown well in the garden in the past, so fingers crossed.

The courgettes are also in. This is a crop we don’t usually have to worry about. When these harvest, everyone in the neighbourhood feels like all they eat for 2 weeks are courgettes!

The last of the beans went in yesterday. Unfortunately, it seems the release of the new Star Wars film has led to an increase in our bamboo sticks being used as light sabres by the local kids. All that remains are shards of bamboo that I find dotted around the garden. Unable to build my normal bamboo structure to grow the runner beans on, I got into the spirit of re-using and came up with a new design with some plastic netting we had left over from a previous project. You can see my efforts to the right of the above photo. And if it doesn’t work for the runner beans, I can always develop a range of obstacle courses for squirrels.

We had our first crop of radishes for the year yesterday! A little girl who visited the garden with her dad took them home for her salad.

So, I’m off to the Edible Adamsdown seedling swap today. I can’t wait to see what I can swap for out sweet williams and strawberries!

 

 

 

23rd April 2016 – Planting Madness!

IMGP2335.JPGWe’ve been busy planting lots in the community garden today.

Spinach, kale, chard, lettuce, spring onions, beetroot, radishes, cucumber and potatoes. Basically, a whole salad.

Spring is most definitely here. Everything seems to be suddenly growing at warp speed, especially the grass. Check out our twitter feed to see Martin tackling the job with one of our scythes. Who needs Aiden Turner, eh?

It’s a really exciting time of year in the garden, and I love watching everything grow. The garlic, shallots and onions are already well on their way. The broad beans are starting to make their way up the bean poles, and it looks like we’re  going to have a bumper crop of radishes once again this year. It won’t be long before we have lots of tasty fresh produce to give away to the local community.

We had lots of lovely visitors today too, it was great to see you all.

Weather permitting, we’ll be planting some more seeds on Wednesday evening 5pm-7pm. We could also do with a hand trimming the edges of the grass around the raised beds if anyone is available.

Until then, take care and happy gardening 🙂