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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

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Newtown food festival

food fest reducedWe had a busy weekend at the Newtown food festival. The stall looked great, full of locally grown produce. The weather was great too, which bought out lots of visitors to the event.

We do a regular market every Tuesday in Newtown and today was the first day that Dan our regular garden volunteer worked the stall. He will be taken over the running of the stall in a couple of weeks when Joe Ashley leaves to head off to Uni. Now is the perfect time to be buying local produce with the community garden and local growers producing masses of tasty seasonal harvest the stall is full of a wide variety of fruit and veg.

raised beds and nurseryBack in the garden at Pen Dinas everything is growing well and still thriving even though the night time temperatures are starting to drop. Now is the time to watch out for early frosts. In Llanidloes we have had a couple of light frosts this week, enough to kill off the squash leaves. If frost is looking likely in your area, cover plants with fleece overnight, uncover during the day otherwise things will stay damp and be susceptible to mildew.

blackberry picking

We have a bumper crop of fruit this year. Earlier in the season we have harvested strawberries and raspberries, but in the last few weeks we have had Discovery apples and most the plums. We are just starting to crop blackberries and hazel nuts.

The nursery is getting busy propagating plants for next year. Seri works on the nursery three days a week and is always busy. She can always do with a hand on a Wednesdays and is looking for some keen volunteers, it is a great opportunity for anyone wanting to gain some experience in propagating and nursery work. Please get in touch if you are interested. Plants are sold from site Monday to Friday and also are at the market on Tuesdays.

For anyone keen on taking on a micro allotment we are having a harvest get together on the 7th October at Pen Dinas, for all current and want to be micro allotment holders.

Sunny September in Llani

water collection- reducedWe had a lovely hot and sunny volunteer session this week and the perfect job for such weather. Starting the day with sorting out the water collection and recycling. We have been donated a very mucky IBC which regular volunteer Rees gave a good scrub to get clean.Whilst Brian fixed the gutters and down pipe running off the chapel.  We have also been offered a second water butt which we will link into the system when it arrives. A lot of the garden is made up of raised beds without a lot of soil under them, so they do require a lot of watering. We may not have had the water collection sorted for this summers hot weather but we will be ready for the next spell of dry weather.

tile workshop reducedThe next job for the day was fixing the finished mosaic tiled wall to the kitchen area. It was originally to go on the breeze block wall as a sink splash back, but it looks so fantastic we decided to put it in a prime visable location on our stud wall which makes up the kitchen area. This way it can be seen as soon as you enter the garden. The mosaic was created during a two day workshop hosted by Terri Sweeney as part of the ‘Grow wild’ summer activities. The participants cut and laid the tiles to make up individual letters, then designed insects and plants for the corners. Tiles were place upside down in an indirect method which later Terri fixed and grouted to the eight foot board.

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Terri is a local artist who runs a variety of courses and workshops in the community, at festivals and for schools.

finished tile wall- reduced

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Grow wild project has been running through the summer promoting wild and native plants and animals. We have had some funding to enable us to do a series of free summer art workshops for all ages. The last part of this project is to complete the wildlife area in the garden, including establishing a pond and native plants. I have the pond liner ready to go in and have just been donated some old carpet to use as underlay to protect it from stones. Come and get involved on Monday 29th September and 6th October.

Next week in the garden we will be making the last of the raised beds to be used as micro allotments. There are still a few plots available on a first come basis and we still need a donation of a few more planks for our 2m by 1.2m bed. Get in touch or get involved Monday 15th September 10am – 2pm. This will be followed by a short National Botanic Gardens course ‘Extending your growing season’. This course is on 11th October 10am – 1pm and only cost £5. Get started with some over wintering food crops for harvest early next year. To  enrol contact bookings.

Poster short gardening course 2014

We will be finishing our summer season with a half term Grow wild get together in the garden. Keep and eye open for confirmation of time and date. Join us for  a harvest gathering,  bring and share, fire up the pizza oven, sit around the fire pit and have fun with kids activities.

 

Grow wild

10593178_10202302906485938_8824817254722291747_nWe have had a series of grow wild craft workshop over the summer. Irene started the season with creating a colourful wall mural to cover the breeze block wall that backs the kitchen seating area. She followed this last week with a two day workshop making up-cycled insects that are decorating the garden, rambling over walls, crawling up plants and flying around our heads.

It might have been wet but there were still some creatures hatching. Here our regular volunteer Brian is busy helping one emerge.

 

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Meanwhile Terri has been working on the final fixings for the mosaic tiled wall. This workshop was held over a busy 2 days with 20 people attending on Monday to cut and fix tiles to spell out ‘Community garden’. Local youngsters went home inspired to draw designs of insect that were then made from tiles the next day to decorate each corner of the wall. We will be fixing the tiled panel to the wall behind the sink to give a washable hygienic surface in the kitchen area.

As a continuation of our Grow wild season we will be creating a wildlife area to increase the beneficial insects needed to protect all the wonderful bounty of fruit and vegetables from pests. Work will start soon on a viewing platform that will over look this area. On Monday 29th we will be fitting the pond liner and planting native plants. If anyone has any native plants that they can donate to the garden or if you wish to help form this new area please come and get involved or contact the Cultivate team. We will also need old carpets or sand as a liner underneath the pond liner to protect it from sharp stones. Donations gratefully received.

There are still some micro allotments available and we are after donations of wood to help make the raised bed to reduce barriers and encourage people to get growing. Planks either 1.2m or 2m long are needed please contact the team if you can help. On 11th October we are running a National botanic gardens one day gardening course ‘ Veg for autumn sowing’ Only £5 and perfect to get you started. For those wanting a bit more you can join courses through WEA Cymru starting 25th and 26th September in ‘Essential Gardening skills’ for beginners or ‘Level 2 gardening’ for those more experienced and wanting a deeper understanding.

The next couple of Mondays in the garden volunteers and micro allotment holders will be sorting out the water collection system…… better late than never, it will be ready for the next dry spell….

We will also be mulching perennial beds and preparing ground for planting.

 

 

Cultivate co-operative launched with a share issue

First workers shares for Cultivate were issued on Friday – celebrations followed the formal welcoming of these founding shareholders. Looking forward to more joining the formal cooperative and joining in with our local food journey. Cultivate worker cooperative has evolved from the team who have delivered the Get-Growing project. We are committed to developing a strong local food economy and believe this to be an essential component of a future sustainable society.

Get in! Day

Here is a video of Cwm Harry’s ‘Get In’ Open Day which was held on Wednesday, 23rd of October, 2013. Young local people were invited to attend the Cwm Harry Pen Dinas Community Garden to learn more about the local food economy, self-sustainability and more. The day was a great success and this video demonstrates the learning outcomes.

Much thanks to Gary Mitchell, Anne Marie Pope, Kerry Lane, members and volunteers of the Cwm Harry Group and of course every attendee on the special open day.

Filmed and edited by Jamez Wilson

Summer craft workshop

Grow wild-summer craftsAs part of our summer season of Grow Wild workshops we have Terri Sweeney this coming Monday 11th and Tuesday 12th August, in Llani community food garden.Come and get involved making a mosaic tiled mural for the kitchen wall. Hang out in the sun and discuss future potential for this exciting new space. To keep younger children entertained and anyone else, we will be making wild-flower seed bombs to take home.

Please tell your friends and anyone who may be interested, families, artists, cubs, brownies, scouts etc.. Bring your own lunch. This FREE summer crafty workshop for all, is between 10am – 3pm on both days.

Then this will be followed by Insect sculptures on the 26th and 27th August with Irene Gardiner.

Throughout the summer as part of our Grow Wild summer season we will be creating a wildlife area.  Following the design produced by level 2 gardening students from ‘WEA Cymru Llanidloes’, the area will include a pond, planting, viewing platform and fencing. We are looking for donations of native plants, building materials, peoples time and skills. Please contact the Cultivate’s ‘Get Growing‘ team if you can help. Or visit us in Llanidloes on a Monday 10am – 4pm.

For anyone interested in Getting Growing we still have some micro allotment spaces left and we have a selection of growing courses coming up. From taster half and one day practical courses to regular weekly lessons.

25.9. 14 – Level 2 gardening 22 wks each Thurs 9.30- 3pm. – Llanidloes

26.9.14 – Essential gardening 12 wks each Friday 9.30 – 12 – Llanidloes

26.9.14 – Essential gardening 12 wks each Friday 1- 3.30pm – Newtown

11.10.14- Extend your growing season 10am- 1pm – Llanidloes

3.11.14 – Purely practical – overwintering crops 10am-1pm Llanidloes

9.1.14 – Garden design – design your own garden. 12 wks Friday Morning

20.2.14 – Organic gardening, 20 wks Friday afternoons

21.2.14 – Extend your growing season 10am- 1pm – Llanidloes

21.3.14 – Back garden edibles 9.30 – 1pm – Llanidloes

30.5.14 – Summer pruning 10am – 4.30pm – Newtown

Poster gardening courses 2014

Record breaking Welsh cake

 

Last weekend was the Llani chartered market 734th birthday and to celebrate they made the biggest welsh cake ever, aiming to smash the world record.

_MG_7315Chameleon Engineering made the 6 foot pan to cook it on, whilst Welsh Oak Frames donated the wood for the fire. The fire was prepared and kept going by the Llani scout explorer group in the Llani community food garden.   A large scaffolding tripod was made as a trivet shown here.  A whooping £50 worth of ingredients was donated by the Co-op and mixed up in giant mixing bowls.

_MG_7481 copy Once cooked the pan was carried down Great Oak street, weighed and cut with pastry cutters to make ordinary sized welsh cakes for all to try.

When cooked it weighed a massive 26kgs. A world record – was made by a group of volunteers and then cut up and distributed in aid of Air Ambulance.

The last four were saved to put on eBay, buy one here.

 It was Yummmmy. Well done all involved. See moremoremore.

Grow Wild- wall mural

Wall art LlaniLast week saw the first of our ‘Grow Wild’ summer art workshops. The good weather and the start of the school holidays saw a good number of youths getting involved. Thanks to Irene Gardiner for leading the workshop based on creative art to do with biodiversity and wildlife.

We have two more workshops coming up….. mossacia tile walls for the kitchen area with Terry. Followed by insect sculpture with Irene. Come and join in,bring a picnic and stay the day, these workshops are free to all.

This summer we will be finishing the wildlife area and pond. There will be some more top soil coming out of the pond area, so the perfect time to fill a raised bed and there are still a couple of plots left if anyone wants one please get in touch with the cultivate team.

Cae Bodfach: Llanfyllin community orchard

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Kelly and Diane and the fruit tree guild

It was too hot this week for more than an hour’s work in the garden, where we are collectively scything and chopping the grasses and nettles growing between the orchard trees to mulch around them and reinforce them. The biggest threat currently is the local sheep who in the summer period have learned to ford the river and get in to the community field, Cae Bodfach. The idea that sheep eat grass is a bit of a misunderstanding, because given the choice they tend to go for anything else, especially tender herbs and juicy fruit tree leaves. So thanks to Richard and Dewi who chased out some 50 sheep the other day and hopefully have since managed to fence them out.

Lovely picture above on Kelly and Diane from Meifod, who popped by to see how the fruit tree guild they planted is developing.. and we talked about the possibilities of doing more of that kind of thing as it had worked so well.

We also met with Andy Lee at the Workhouse this week to discuss further plans for the Green Hub who have some resources still for further workshops and to continue the development of this another bio-diverse and productive community spaces. I am very keen to offer a series of Forest Garden workshops in the Autumn, and building some more plantings over the Autumn and Winter season.

Anyone interested in getting involved either pop along on Thursday mornings. 10 – 1.00 when we are usually there or get in touch directly via this website.

Biochar growing experiments

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Seed pots with a coir and perlite mix with biochar added at three different concentrations. No plants nutrients have been added yet, so at this stage this is purely a germination test.

We have been experimenting with Biochar as a soil amendment over the last few months and today we have set up a pot trial to test germination rates and growing rates for three different mixes and for three different brassica plants: Kale, Cabbage and Mibuma. 15 seed pots in total

B1 = Mix of coir and perlite with a this topping of vermiculite

B2 = Mix of coir and perlite with approx. 1/3 by volume biochar. We made a batch of biochar on a burn at Pen Dinas in June as part of the PDC course we were running at the time. Also topped with a this layer of vermiculite. 12 pots in total

B3 = We used the same I mix as above but extended the mix with more coir and perlite to make 18 pots in total. Also topped with a this layer of vermiculite.

All the pots have been placed outside and will be treated exactly the same. We are specifically interested in germination success and rare, plant development and plant health. We will add a liquid feed to all the pots when they develop their first true leaf. This will be a nettle and comfrey ‘tea’ mix.

1.2m square bed with 1 wheel barrow of Cwm Harry compost added

1.2m square bed with 1 wheel barrow of Cwm Harry compost added

The other test is a straight growing test in 2 identical raised beds, one with the addition of 1.2 Kg of biochar, both have 1 wheel barrow of Cwm Harry compost added. They have been been planted with 9 Oca plants, at equal spacing.

Oca may not be the best choice of plant to get a clear result, but i chose it as it yields a tuber which is therefore very easy to measure and compare.  Doing some simple growing tests has also taught me that growing test are difficult to do accurately, as there are so potential variables to eliminate.

1.2m square bed with 1.2Kg of biochar and 1 wheel barrow of compost added

1.2m square bed with 1.2Kg of biochar and 1 wheel barrow of compost added