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








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

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




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.

seed bombs



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





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.




Snap shot of Pen Dinas

Selection of images from the Pen Dinas horticulture centre for BBC researcher.








Our location in Newtown, next to the Hafren theatre and Newtown College

Our location in Newtown, next to the Hafren theatre and Newtown College

View of the Cultivate horticulture centre

View of the Cultivate horticulture centre

Love Food Hate Waste? Free workshop, 9th May

Love Food, Hate Waste are running a free workshop to help people reduce their food waste and even save money. The session will be held at: Cultivate Community Garden, Llanidloes Road, Newtown, SY16 4HX

Friday 9th May 9.30am-12.30pm

lovefoodhatewaste walesThe sessions are aimed at trainers, advocates, community leaders or interested people in local communities and organisations interested in reducing food waste. Love Food Hate Waste will provide the know-how and the tools for attendee’s to pass on the environmental and financial benefits of Love Food Hate Waste to staff, friends and family. The messages are all aimed at householders, therefore anybody and everybody, covering the following:

  • How best to store food and the reasons/benefits for planning meals.
  • A frozen bin or a freezer that works for you?
  • De-mystifying the date labels …what do they mean?

Our latest figures show that we can save up to £60 a month by taking steps to reduce food waste from our homes.

This training is free and includes background information on LFHW to give attendees an idea of why reducing food waste is so important to us all; activities to encourage discussion around the main issues such as dates and storage of food; as well as looking at ways to help pass the messages on.

You can find more information about reducing food waste in general at Love Food Hate Waste.

To book a place on this workshop, please contact Eifion Williams on or 07985 953185

April in Llanidloes

sunken seatThings are developing fast in the Llani food garden. The sunken seating area has now had the wood slated seat fitted. This is made out of local untreated larch. Our aim was to give a more rounded seating area, the corners are to be covered with mosaic tiled art work made as part of a series of workshops during the summer with local artist Irene Gardiner.

wildlife area first plantings and new stepsOur next project is to develop the wildlife area which is part of the Grow Wild project funded by Kew Gardens and the National Lottery. In this area we are developing a wildlife pond, the soil being removed from this area will be used to fill micro allotment plots on a first come first serve basis. We have started to build the steps down through the terrace beds, these are also made from chunky untreated local larch.

Rosie tending her allotmentWe have a good team of regular volunteers now, which enables us to get a lot done each Monday during a volunteer sessions 10am – 4pm. Micro allotments are starting to come into use now and some of the plots that were started earlier in the year are even starting to get a harvest. There are still some available plots at only £10 a year. All tools are available on site and assistance available if needed on Mondays.

The willow hurdles we made earlier in the year are looking great around the seating area and so Level 2 gardening students are constructing some more to go on the other side. We will be making some more later in the summer to fence of the pond area, so if you are interested in getting involved get in touch.

Cob oven workshop

We are holding a cob oven 2 day FREE workshop in our LLanidloes community food garden. 24th & 25th February, 10am – 4pm. All welcome, wear suitable old clothes and boots. Shelter & drinks provided.

brian and oven baseBrian and I have been constructing the base for the cob oven. Neither of us are brick layers, so we learnt as we went along. We had to choose a day when the weather broke for a bit. Luckily it was like spring on Sunday.So we had a long day in the garden. A couple of other volunteers joined us and we had lots of visitors coming to have a look. On Monday the weather wasn’t so great, but we filled the base with rubble to act as thermal mass. We then started to play around with reclaimed paving slabs, working out how to construct the base that the oven will sit on. We have decided to slab right the way across and then put a layer of sand to bed in reclaimed house brick followed by block paviors, these will be cemented around the edges to prevent them falling off.

Rhys & Brian tidying upWe have been working hard in all weathers to finish clearing the site of unwanted bits and pieces. The last area to be cleared is the proposed area for the kitchen shelter and eating space. It is so good to see the last bit of rubble and rubbish cleared up.

We have mains water on site so we are hoping to install a sink and kitchen units so food can easily be prepared on site.  Then cooked in the cob oven.

Kichen area clearedThe main thing missing from the garden at the moment is a permanent shelter, but now this area has been cleared we can start to think about how this will be constructed.

Dave removing mud from the entrance

Lynda, a regular volunteer of the llanidloes wildlife garden came to help tidy the site on Sunday, raking up gravel ready for use on the entrance which was cleared by the two David’s on Monday morning.






Seed Day at Cultivate Community Garden Newtown

Screen shot 2014-02-17 at 11.36.53

Community Garden Open Day This Saturday 22nd February 

Come along and Get Growing at the Newtown Community Garden from 10.30am – 3pm. Come down with the kids, warm yourselves by the bonfire, have some hot food and drinks and take part in the activities we’ve got on. There will be seed sowing, competitions, arts and crafts and tours of the site.

Located right next to the college and theatre in Llani Road, the 2.5 acre site includes micro allotment plots, an outdoor cooking area, plant sales area, a community kitchen and rentable teaching / meeting room space. As well as wildlife areas and a community market garden for growing food.

Come and check out this amazing green space. There are so many different ways to get involved. Lend a hand with the gardening, construction or nursery. You can also help out in the food sales area and have lunch. There is a beautiful round house on the site and indoor rooms that can be used to run workshops, host groups or just hang out in.

We have micro allotments for people that want to grow vegetables. Everything you need to make it easy is here, tools, compost, a helping hand and advice on how to do it.

Stick you nose into the open day and have a look. Then is you want you can give the Cultivate team your input and suggestions on how we can make this a space for the community to enjoy.

Pen Dinas, Llanidloes Road, Newtown, SY16 4HX

For more information get in touch with Rachel by email, or phone 07876563657

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Mowers for Pen Dinas

JonoAs you all know we were broken into a little while back and all our tools were stolen, leaving us without a mower or strimmer. Thankfully a couple of weeks back we were donated 3 old, sad mowers. Our regular volunteer Jono got to work straight away. He used to attend Coleg Powys and spent his work placement with us last year, one day a week. Whilst there he learnt machinery maintenance and is now able to put those skills to good use, by the end of the day Jono had successfully renovated two of the mowers by stripping parts from the third. We then had a mowing race on our meadow, tidying it up for winter. Unfortunately Jono now has to find a job, and is spending every day at the Job centre. We would love to employ him here. We are keen to start a machinery repair drop in, putting our workshop space to good use and bringing in some income for our youth volunteers like Jono.

Terrace bed

steep bankWe do not have much open ground with good soil on this site, and the one area we do have is a steep inaccessible slope with a long drop off the edge. This is on the south side of the neighbouring houses so we can not plant anything too big or it will cast shade on their gardens below. So the plan is to terrace the area and plant apple trees trained as espaliers along wires and then a row of current bushes and some strawberries. This permanent planting will not require a lot of maintenance, so should not require a lot of people working right on top of the houses. Once planted a regular mulch to feed the soil and suppress weeds, a yearly prune and the best bit.. harvesting.

Brian placing wiresWe started by making the area safe to work in. Brain  got started will placing wires ready to train the trees. The next week the job was finished by local lad Rees, our regular volunteer.

We have been luck enough to receive nearly £500 and a days labour from a team of RWE npower renewables (RWE) wind farm engineers and office staff from Llanidloes have put their “green” fingers to good use in support of local Mid-Wales lottery funded project “Get Growing”.

RWE Operations manager Simon Ling explained that the team had heard about the ‘Get Growing’ project and was eager to work with its horticultural tutor Emma Maxwell to construct a series of terrace beds at the ‘Cultivate’ community food garden.

He said: “There’s a fantastic local ethos at Llanidloes. Almost everyone’s local and really keen to help the local community and businesses. When we heard about the work ‘Get Growing’ is doing in Llanidloes, as part of the ‘Cwm Harry’ group, we saw a great opportunity to do some team building work while making a real contribution to a really good local cause.”

Team work.The team undertook  some pretty tough tasks, helping to convert a plot of sloping, unloved, wasteland  in the centre of Llanidloes, into organised terraced beds, a footpath and wildlife gardens.

Added Simon: “There was a pretty substantial amount of work to do, but the team are all used to it, working to maintain RWE’s wind farms out in all weathers and conditions. It was cold, but luckily, the rain stayed off and we were able to crack on.”

Llanidloes is the home of RWE’s UK Wind Farm Service Centre, from which a team of over 20 mainly local engineers and support staff maintain the operation of the company’s fleet of wind farms across Wales, the Midlands and South West England. The staff regularly support the local community through charitable donations and support in kind, as well as investing millions into the mid Wales economy through employment and contracting local companies, from caterers to civil engineers, steel fabricators and transportation.

The work of all the staff and contractors at the facility, including a number of unique, highly skilled wind turbine Apprenticeships are entirely linked to the operation of wind farms in Wales, such as Gwynt y Môr, offshore, and Bryn Titli, Mynydd Gorddu and Carno onshore wind farms in Mid Wales.

Teraced beds.We have just received notification from Powys county council nectar tree scheme that we have been awarded 15 trees for  the site. These are coming from local nursery man Gareth Davies at Old Chapel Nursery Llanidloes. We will be getting 15 young apple trees that will be trained as espaliers along the wires, planting will be next Monday morning 9th December . We have also been donated a few current bushes from a local garden that we need to go and dig up and move to their new site. We have strawberries that we have be propagating at the Newtown community garden as part of the Cultivate plant nursery.

The area at the end around the corner of the building is going to be a wildlife area, with a small pond and native plants for biodiversity. This will attract a wide range of insects, birds and small mammals that will help with integrated pest management. Ladybirds and hoverflies to eat aphids, hedgehogs, frogs and toads to eat slugs and snails. This area is being designed and a planting plan created by students on Emma Maxwell’s level 2 gardening class. We are after ideas from anyone on fun workshops we can be hosting to develop this area, workshops in sculpture or wall art related to wildlife. If you know of anyone get in touch.