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Green power, broccoli man!

Green power, broccoli man!

Scroll down for posts on latest project events, courses, news tips and much more!

We are based in Newtown Powys, next to Theatr Hafren/ Newtown Coleg  & work all over North, Mid Wales and Marches region promoting community growing.

We have an organic market garden and horticulture training centre and are open to visitors and volunteers Monday to Thursday every week.

In 2014 we rebranded as Cultivate and we remain part of the Cwm Harry family of enterprises.

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Snapshot of the Cultivate team in the Newtown Community garden, home of the Get-Growing project

cultivate logo + web

Llanfyllin High School students at Cae Bodfach

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Teacher Emyr Jones (left) with Steve Jones surrounded by Llanfyllin high school students. Pic by Dewi Morris

Many thanks to teacher Emyr Jones and his Land-based studies GCSE class for their continued hard work on the Cae Bodfach community orchard project. On what was a bitterly cold and rainy day 20 students joined us to start planting the phase three development on this orchard and forest garden project.

Students have designed their own fruit tree guilds, to support the apple trees they are also planting as part of their GCSE project. We planted 7 more apple trees, on M106 rootstocks along with comfrey, borage, mint and other flowering herbaceous plants which will help attract pollinating insects. On our next outing we plant to add black current, raspberry, chokeberry and more fruiting bushes to the collection.

We hope this will grow to be a great community resource as well as something to support local wildlife and help protect biodiversity. Plants we supplied by the Cwm Harry in Newtown who have developed a nursery as part of their Cultivate enterprise to support community growing such as this across the Mid Wales area. We were lucky to have a visit from Emma Maxwell, lead horticulturist from Cultivate, who gave us tips on tree care and planting as well as leading on the planting practical.

Emma Maxwell from Cultivate leads on the tree planting

Emma Maxwell from Cultivate leads on the tree planting. Pic by Dewi Morris

We are grateful for support from Cwm Harry’s Get Growing proejct, Keep Wales Tidy, Llanfyllin Town Council, Dewi Morris and Sector39 in this project

Newtown open day

tourWe held our Autumn harvest open day at Newtown community garden last Saturday. The rain held off most the day allowing people to have a long tour of the site with our gardener Dave Chester-master, and tours of our plant nursery.

nursery entranceSeri who works on the nursery showed visitors behind the scenes, discussing propagation in the polytunnel and the outdoor cutting and stock beds. The nursery is busy preparing Christmas gifts which are now for sale onsite at Pen Dinas, at Newtown Tuesday street market and online. We have Hyacinth bowls and baskets, gift wrapped Aloa vera, Christmas wreaths and some gorgeous little house leeks in cans.

Aloa bags

houseleek tin

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The day saw the launch of our online shop. Currently orders can be taken at any time with pick up days on Wed, Thur and Friday from the Newtown community garden, we hope that with more customers we can create other pick up points. Please try out an order and give us your feed back. Don’t forget we do still deliver veg boxes and these can now be ordered on line. Hampers are now available to order for Christmas either onsite or online along with all our other Christmas gifts. Nursery plant sales are not currently online, but orders can be emailed to  emmam@cwmharry.org.

membership posterThe open day also  saw the launch of our membership shares, which gives individuals the chance to support the good work we are doing in ‘linking local food and communities’. Our aim is to increase the local food economy, by supporting local food producers and spread the word about global environmental and food issues. Shares can be bought as gifts and we have three different gift options available from £25.

 

 

 

During the day we held an apple pressing workshop by Emma Maxwell, a honey extraction workshop by Richard and Catharyn Edwards and seed saving by expert Sue Stickland.

seed savinghoney

 

Our resident volunteer chefs Alistair and Chris served up another culinary treat of pizza, onion barjees, cake and biscuits.

The cob oven was fired up in the round house for some lovely fluffy stone backed pizza. This oven was made during a workshop this summer ran by Matthew at the Fabulous Cob oven Company. On November 16th he will be featured on BBC1’s Countryfile. This edition will focus on rural crafts, much of which was filmed at Acton Scott working farm museum in the Shropshire hills.

Future event where you will find a Cultivate stall:

Turning on of the Christmas lights 28th November.

Newtown Christmas market 6th December

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Llanidloes open day

kitchen party

We had a final push to finish jobs in the Llanidloes garden yesterday before our open event in the afternoon. The weather stayed dry if a little windy, but we had around 70 people call in through the day to look at the transformed community space.

open day

 

We enjoyed pizza cooked in the cob oven, by our Newtown volunteer chefs, Chris and Alistair. We ate salad harvested from the garden.  On display was the photo diary of how the garden has progressed over the last year. Transformed into diverse habitats for wildlife, whilst providing food and sanctuary for all of us.

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We made wild flower seed bombs for people to take home and spread around the place.

 

 

 

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In the morning Dave, David and Brian put up the flag pole, we forgot to bring a flag so David quickly made one from scrap material. The flag pole was a request from the scout groups, so that when they are using the garden they can fly the Union jack. Most the time we will be displaying our Green flag award. If anyone is feeling artistic and wants to make us a community garden flag, please do. Brian and I finished the entrance sign off, attaching the waterproof clip frames, that will allow anyone to put up fliers and notices in the dry.

finished viewing platformRhys and I laid the paving in front of the viewing platform to give a smooth level surface to access this area. Whilst keeping an eye on the fire in the cob oven that needed to be lit three hours before we started cooking. Beryl arrived early for the open event and stepped straight in to help us out, planting the last of the plants in the bed for dye plants.

 

The garden is open at all times for anyone to visit, volunteer sessions are on Monday mornings. You can find the site behind Bethel Street Chapel in the centre of town.

Next week in the garden I will be teaching a two hour practical session on over wintering crops. Come an get stuck in, we will be planting and sowing a variety of crops that will give you a crop from May next year. Peas, beans, onions, garlic, salads, herbs. No experience needed, and it’s FREE. 10 – 12am. Booking is essential for this course, through the botanic garden of Wales.

 

 

 

Busy volunteer day and willow workshop

This Monday saw a busy day in the Llani garden, finishing off different projects before our open day next week. When we will be firing up the pizza oven, making wild flower seed bombs and praying for good weather.

The weather wasn’t looking to promising this week, but it turned out to be a lovely day, the rain held off and the busyness of activity kept everyone warm.

willow workshopwillow fenceBeryl Smith ran a day long workshop in willow weaving to create a beautiful and practical fence above the terraces. This was constructed with fresh green willow just cut this week, so still with leaves, but these will drop off over the next couple of weeks leaving a clean tidy weave. As we now have a pond in this area it is important that we close this area off from unattended children. The pond can be viewed from the new platform and there will be a gate giving access to this area for maintenance, harvesting and education. The fencing will give the neighbouring houses a bit more privacy, and hopefully they will feel a little less overlooked as visitors eyes are taken away from their back gardens and onto the planting around the pond. Now that this area has been completed It is wonderful to see the realisation of the wildlife area design that was created by level 2 gardening students from WEA Cymru (formally Coleg Harlech WEA). I think all will agree it is well designed and constructed and works beautifully.

gateBrain got together with Dave and David to hang the new gate, and fix the new gate post. Not an easy job as the post hole didn’t go far in the ground before hitting concreted bricks.

 

 

Rhys cob ovenMeanwhile our regular volunteer Rhys worked on his own make a clay, sand mix to patch up the oven before next weeks pizza session. The oven suffered some rain damage a while back before we had time to cover it, but it now has a roof to protect it and it no longer leaks. Rhys patched up the oven and gave it a new coat of clay all over, so hopefully this will keep it good for the winter.

Tinisha popped in for a lunch time session, when she grabbed an hour off from toddler and new baby. Plenty long enough to build a raised bed for her micro allotment, where she hope to grow herbs and salad for their great little venue The Old Mill.

seating plantedThe Cultivate team were here on mass this week, with Seri from the Cultivate nursery and Rachel working with volunteers to clear and plant the area around the sunken seating area. In preparing the ground four large pieces of slate were dug up, which we will find uses for around the garden. The bed was edged with wood and topped up with 1/2 a ton of top top soil. A box hedge was planted to back the bench seat, with rosemary and lavender for scent and to attract insects.

Hope to see everyone next Monday for pizza and pictures of the site development.

Fruit tree guild planning with Llanfyllin High School

It is hugely exciting to have the opportunity to build on the work we did with the school and local community last year, planting a forest garden in Cae Bodfach, the community managed field by the health centre car park.

Students from year 11 at the High school have been busy researching forest gardens, the beneficial relationships between plants and working on their own designs. They are planning to enlarge the garden by adding 7 more fruit tree guilds, inspired by the work that was done last year.
fruit-guild
The idea behind a guild of plants is the understanding that plants work together, while some like comfrey are deep rooted and can access nutrients unavailable to shallower rooted trees and shrubs, while others like the leguminous plants fix nitrogen and increase soil fertility, whilst the flowering plants help attract pollinators and other beneficial insects.

A good mix of different types of plants not add colour and diversity it also actually helps the garden stronger as a whole. whole

Keep Wales Tidy
The project is supported by a £500 grant from Keep Wales Tidy and working to this budget the students have designed, costed and are now ordering the plants for their fruit tree guilds.

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Next up, we will working in the field marking out areas and calculating the correct spacings for the trees before we go ahead and plant the guilds.

A big thanks to Emyr Jones, Dewi Morris and the Land based studies group at Llanfyllin High School for all their work on this project.

Micro allotment harvest party

The end of another growing season is upon us, harvests have been gathered, and over winter planting has begun. The perfect time for a celebration of harvest and a get together without getting our hands dirty. We have over 30 micro allotments and this time of year is when we get together around the fire to discuss successes and failures and plan the year ahead.

potato surveyAfter a rather wet morning the sky cleared and we had a bit of sunshine for the afternoon get together. Our regular chefs in the kitchen Alistair and Chris excelled with a fantastic feast of pizza and salad. But for starter we had a taste testing session to trial the five varieties of blight resistant potatoes that have been grown on site for the last two years as part of a trial to find ‘Easy organic potatoes’ that will suppress weed growth, give good yields with low input, and taste great. The results will be written up over winter and available next year, for anyone who is interest.

cob ovenWe fired up the new cob pizza oven during the day, it takes a few hours to build up the heat in the oven, but once hot it will remain hot long enough to cook for a couple of hours. The oven had been built as a workshop during the summer and is situated just off the round house. Now the the oven has been tried and tested by our resident chefs are keen to have many more pizza sessions.

pizza party

We will be firing up the pizza oven again on our autumn open day on November 8th. There will also be apple pressing, tours and talks, more info to follow.

New pond for Llani

We had another good day developing the wildlife area in the Llanidloes cocaroline & Rees- digging the bog gardenmmunity garden. Regular volunteer Rees started the day with the help of Caroline and myself weeding the apple terrace and path, clearing seedling brambles and rosebay willow herb. We then moved on to digging out the bog garden. This is positioned at the end of this area just under the edge of the corrugated roofs, where it will catch the drips to keep the soil moist for all the bog loving plants.

The day started wet, with some heavy rain showers, but that was just what we needed to fill the pond that we had lined last week. The rain stopped mid morning, so we finished filling the pond with a long hose. Once the pond was full of water we could then trim off the excess liner and start to bury the edge.

julie & Caroline bog gardenThe trimmings of liner gave us just what we needed for the bog garden liner. These were laid in strips in the prepared bog area with a few holes made for drainage. We want the bog garden wet but not flooded. Level 2 gardening students that had designed the area came back to help. Julie and Alison came to join Caroline in the afternoon to get the area finished. Last but not least the planting could begin.

new wildlife areaThe planting plan has been designed for year round interest for us whilst providing food and habitat for wildlife. Planting is mainly based on native plants with a few naturalised and non native plants for added interest or to restrict growth and spread. Choosing a variety of colours and shapes of flowers attracts a wide range of insects. Always selecting single flowers for pollen collecting insects, rather than being tempted by multi petalled hybrids, that often are missing the sexual parts of the flower that carry the pollen.

Julie pondA mixture of woody plants (shrubs and climbers) and herbaceous plants (soft stemmed plants) gives habitat for a range of insect and amphibians all year. This area is one of the shadiest places in the garden, which is not ideal for ponds. The design has ensured that the pond will catch any available sun and will not be further shaded by planting. Lower growing ground cover plants have been used on the east side, so as not to block the sun, whilst taller plants at the back of the pond give protected exit routes for pond life.The sun directly hits this area most of the morning, whilst the decking continues to catch some sun into the afternoon.

What is needed now is a selection of nice big river stones to go around the pond and bog area. These will hide the pond liner and give hiding places for a range of wildlife.

Volunteers always welcome on a Monday. Over the next couple of weeks we will be building an entrance arch and notice board. As well as helping new allotment holders build their micro allotments ready for the free practical planting course on Monday  3rd November. This Saturdays course (11th Oct) is ‘Extend your growing season’. Booking for both courses is essential.

Come and join us for pizza and tours of the garden on our open day Monday 27th October 12-4 pm.

New wild life area

carrot harvestbugsLlanidloes garden is buzzing with activity….. new micro allotments being built, summer harvests and the development of the wildlife area.

The wildlife area has been design by level two gardening students and has been funded by the ‘Grow wild’ project. Yesterday past students came back to help finish digging out and shape the pond area. We used recycled carpet as underlay to protect the butyl pond liner from sharp stones. Above this sits a viewing platform that over looks the pond and wildlife area, this has been built by volunteer Glen over the last week.

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Next Monday we will be developing the bog area and planting the whole area with native plants following the planting plan created by gardening students. This area has been designed to be both ornamental and of benefit to wildlife. It will provide all year around pollen, berries and shelter, to increase local insects that are so important for food growing. They provide pollination services and act as predators for our food pests. For more info on why this is so important follow this link from the WWF report on global loss of wildlife over the last 40 years.

September in the garden

It is a busy time of year, with gathering in the harvest and planting crops for overwinter. The Pen Dinas site was busy with activity from staff, volunteers and a couple of visitors from our new project in North Wales ‘ Moelyci environmental and education centre’. There was at least 16 of us sitting down for a shared feast for lunch, prepared by our regular volunteers Chris and Alister using veg from our gardens. Today another new volunteer joined our team, Jack has written this weeks blog post…….

calundulaAs autumn begins the wildlife and plant growth seems abundant with a bumper crop of pumpkins and new shoots for the foreseeable winter turnover. Flower production in late bloom gives the cultivate project that added colour. The polytunnels with new seedlings prove to be a constant level of production, where tomato plants are still in late flower with a good looking amount of produce to be cropped in the upcoming months. Root vegetables such as beetroot and carrots are still in their young state.

 

applesMaintaining the growth with regulated watering and cutting stations gives the annual crop of vegetables and herbs a successful outlook for the sale side of things for when the colder season occurs. The sale area is stocked with a wide range of different species for sale to the general public and replanting on our community gardens. With the organic compost at a very dry state it shows that the soil is not lacking but containing the needed nutrients for a level of sustainable growth during autumn. Orchard trees are producing rosy red and vibrant green apples that set the colourful tone of the garden as a high yield year.

pumpkin harvestRipening and leaf evolution is showing an all-round success, due to well cared and persistent maintenance, evident in the different sections of garden areas during late September. Where replanting and new life lengthens the cultivate project’s success in deliverance of a wide range of different types of plant life for the forthcoming frost. Keeping the new seedlings and shoots at a maintained level of temperature is essential.

News bulletin from Llanfyllin’s Cae Bodfach: The young forest garden well and truly on its way!

Over the summer the Cae Bodfach volunteers scythed and made sure that there was a good mulch to protect the trees from overgrowth and would rot down to feed the young Forest Garden. The young forest garden well and truly on its way

This Wednesday 24th September Dewi Morris: a local freelance environmental educator will be visiting the Land Based Students of Llanfyllin High School and delivering a series of lectures and practical session out in the Forest Garden. Emyr Jones: the course tutor has committed his students to engage with a programme of learning centered on Llanfyllin’s Forest Garden project – Cae Bodfach.
Over the course of the academic year, the land-based students will learn about the principles of perma-culture and community gardening in particular forest gardens. They will then research and design the second phase of the forest garden. The student will have direct access to the funding made available to the project by Llanfyllin’s Town Council and potentially Keep Wales Tidy. They will use these funds to procure the next phase of plans from the Cwm Harry Cultivate Project based in Newtown.
Dewi Morris will then train the students to lead planting sessions in the forest garden over the coming months for themselves, the eco schools committee and fellow High School students. The project also has the support from Llanfyllin’s Green Hub: a project based in the workhouse Llanfyllin, who have a considerable workshop full of tools for the job. High School Students will also organise guided educational visits by the nearby Primary School and for members of the public.
There are ambitions to organise a series of public seasonal events in the Forest garden starting with a Wassail in the New Year.
Watch this space for more news:

Dewi G Morris
Steve Jones Cultivate/ Sector39