Incredible Edible

Community gardening is growing! This Saturday over 100 people attended the Be Incredible Conference in Todmorden, the home of the international Incredible Edible movement. It was inspiring to see so many people ‘progergander’ gardening in their towns. Todmorden started Incredible Edible in 2007 and now the town is absolutely full of edible plants, it’s fantastic to see.

Youth Centre raised beds

Youth Centre raised beds

Communal herbs outside the Theatre in Todmorden

Communal herbs outside the Theatre in Todmorden

The idea behind the movement is to provide good local food for everyone through working together, supporting local businesses and learning about food. We are doing all of these things right here in Newtown, so it was great to meet up with other people doing the same thing across the country.

In Todmorden, even the new Health Centre has been planted up with pears, apples, raspberries and herbs all up for grabs. The canal path is lined with mint, the station with herb beds. There is even a ‘vegetable tour’ to take in all the sights.

Edible bench in the Health Centre car park

Edible bench Todmorden Health Centre car park

The movement has captured the imagination of so many towns, that a national network has been developed to allow people to share ideas and get in touch with other projects.

We have a fantastic community garden established next to the College…is it time to branch out and start ‘propergander’ gardening around the rest of Newtown?

Seed saving course, one day with Sue Stickland

seedsWe are very proud to have Sue Stickland, former head gardener at Ryton Organic Gardens and regular contributor to the RHS Garden magazine as a regular volunteer here at Get-Growing.  Sue is also a  published author on the subject of Seed Saving and her Back Garden Seed Savers book has a 5 star review on Amazon books.

Sue is offering a one day course on the subject of seed saving on Saturday 28th September at Pen Dinas, the Get-Growing proejct base in Newtown. You can book directly via this website

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Seed saving – essential strategies and information

seed saving book

Backyard seed saving by Sue Stickland

Plants are rather obviously living things. They are evolving constantly, their genes are being selected by the success of the mother plants.. so they adapt to disease, changing environmental conditions, local soil types and many other factors. Saving seed is a way to pass on these desirable characteristics and to positively respond to opportunities represented by plants adapting to your local conditions.

Big seed companies look for uniformity, they want things that ripen at the same time, for easy harvest etc..whereas local growers don’t necessarily want all those things. Diversity is good for wildlife, it gives opportunities for cross pollination and other things to happen that generate further diversity such as longer harvesting seasons as well as resistance to a range of disease and pest threats.

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Seed Saving one day course

Saving seed is an art.. you need to know the difference between those plants that cross pollinate with other plants from their families and which ones hold true to type. Also saving seed is a set of strategies which begins at the start of the growing season, not just as an after thought at the end of it.

Sue’s 2 part workshop is the ideal way to learn all the key things you need to know to save seed successfully and comes at exactly the time you need to be thinking about to be able to get the best results from your activities.

This one day course in April is subsidised by the National Botanic Gardens of Wales and is the perfect opportunity to come and meet successful garden writer, designer and teacher Sue Stickland and to enjoy a day at Newtown’s foremost organic horticulture training centre Get-Growing.

Book your place here Booking Form

 More info on the Seed Saving Course

Part one: Preparing to Save Seed

Saturday April 13th, 9.30am-1pm

Pen Dinas Community Garden, Llanidloes Road, Newtown SY16 1HX

£15-£10 (discount for low income/students)

Saving your own seeds can not only save you money, it can help conserve a diverse range of vegetable varieties which will grow well in your garden – and it can be great fun.

On this half-day course, come and find out:

  • How vegetables grow, seed and adapt to local conditions
  • Which crops are easy to save from seed
  • How crops cross-pollinate and how to avoid this
  • How to start off seed crops to get good results
  • What to look out for during the growing season

You will also get chance to take home locally saved seed to try for yourself.

A second workshop will be held on September 28th to cover seed harvesting, drying and storage – in between we hope to arrange an informal garden tour to look at the seed crops growing, date depending on the growing season!

 

Book on-line at www.get-growing.org.uk

Get-Growing gets busy

February is a key month for gardening.. preparing the soil, sharpening tools, getting ready for the coming growing season.  We have been propagating our perennial plants, grafting fruit trees, making paths, training our crew, planning courses and events and meeting with partners and funders. A hugely busy and exciting time of year.. here are a few pictures giving insight into some of what has been going on at the project.

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View of the Get-Growing organic garden Feb 2012

permaculture revolution

Permaculture is the fastest growing grass roots movement in the world, its simple philosophy of working with nature challenges the very foundations of current behaviour. Many of our ideas are informed by Permaculture design.

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Globalised production systems means there is no longer any accountability or traceability in the most important and fundamental of things.. food

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Two of our project team, here on work experience and apprenticeship and learning how to grow

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Work on the main path to the community micro allotment area

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Project member Richard tends the fire at the centre of the garden

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Fruit tree grafting workshop.. it is actually possible to graft the wood from several different trees onto a rootstock

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As part of our grafting workshop, one of our regular Get-Growing courses we practised with cutting of dogwood to learn the various techniques required

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Fruit trees are made by grafting Scion wood onto a chosen root.. you can see the scar and healed up area where the new wood has established and grown

mycelium_digest

I am fascinated by mycelium, that part of the fungus organism we don’t see… it creates a massive amount of surface area by branching and it exudes enzymes to digest its food

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Another view of mycelium.. in the tree of life, our closest relative is fungus.. like us it breathes in oxygen and out CO2 and was possibly the first organism to live on land

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This pic is for Matti, I am hugely pleased and proud to be see our Newtown made raised beds at the community growing project in Liverpool, made by our apprentices they are helping people grow in other locations

First draft of an advert for our raised beds

First draft of an advert for our raised beds, being made by the project apprentices as part of our community entrerprise project

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Climate change is here, it is a real and present danger and we need to learn how to rapidly respond to this challenge

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Permaculture founder Bill Mollison has an uncanny knack of putting his finger right on the pulse… the solutions to our problems are simple. we just have to do it!

Permaculture is the study of natural systems and the application of that insight as a design system

Permaculture is the study of natural systems and the application of that insight as a design system

 

Understanding natural organic systems and preparing for growing

NBGW (Col Logo)This course is being offered in partnership with the National Botanic Garden of Wales and is fantastic opportunity to get to grips with plants, wildlife, soils, gardens, construction tips for horticulture, tools, design, permaculture and more.

It is a free course, part of the Growing The Future program and will be taking place at Pen Dinas every Tuesday 9.30 – 1.00 for 22 weeks. We are encouraging participants to attend all the modules but it is fine to join in even if you have missed the first few sessions. Places are limited so first come first served.

Richard Stephenson, carpenter on a recent workshop

Richard Stephenson, carpenter on a recent workshop

We are really excited to be inviting Richard Stephenson, carpenter and designer who will be introducing us to wood working by hand to make garden furniture, benches and more; Amanda Dean, herbalist and wild life enthusiast will be telling more about herbs and wildlife; Pete Williams form Red Dragon Bush-craft will be teaching knife sharpening  and maintenance as well as fire craft; Bruce Stanley from Fine Pluck herbal teas will be leading on wild food foraging and Beryl Smith leading tutor in willow weaving and living structures. There will be sessions on Permaculture design led by Get-Growing’s Steve Jones and on Horticulture by Emma Maxwell, also part of the Get Growing team at Pen Dinas

Booking is essential please complete the online form to indicate your interest.

Organic growing course starts this Feb

The Newtown course will run at Pen Dinas, Coleg Powys, each Friday from 12.30 – 3.00 pm. Please contact Emma directly for details, or email via this website. This is an excellent course for all novice and intermediate growers, and runs during the growing season offering a mix of theoretical and practical knowledge to get you growing successfully and with confidence.
Organic growing course