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

shop

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

hares

 

 

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.

 

 

 

entrance

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.

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.

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.

commuity garden tiles- reduced

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.

 

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.

oven open day

Andy cooking pizza in the clay ovenMothers day, glorious sunshine and the first bake in our new clay oven attracted 46 people to our open day and wild workshops.

Andy and Leanne from’ Andy’s artisan bread’ fired up the clay oven and spent the afternoon cooking pizza’s for all the visitors. The oven worked well and the pizza’s tasted great, first pizza- Ralph & Hannahaccompanied with lots of fresh salad harvested from one of our polytunnels at the Newtown community garden.

Hannah and Ralph snapped up the first pizza out of the oven. The base was a little sandy and grey with ash, but they got better as the day went on and as Andy mastered cooking in the new oven.open day- eating area

This project has been funded by GwirVol youth led grant scheme, that paid for the materials for the construction of the oven and seating area,  workshops in clay & willow and volunteer opportunities in construction, cementing, block and brick wall building and plastering.

We had been busy this week finishing the sunken seating area and today open day-seating areawe put the fire bowl in place and the local youths lit a fire and heated up marshmallows, having lots of fun and really enjoying this new space. It is a multi purpose area, that can be used by all ages. Parent and toddlers will be able to throw down a rug and some toys and use it for containing the little ones while they work on their allotments or enjoy a chat. While others can take the fire bowl from the shed when needed.

seating area and fire bowl

We started the day running workshops in making bug hotels and wild flower seed bombs. Individuals could choose their materials for making the bug hotels, using moss, wool, hollow sticks and leaves they tied them together or slotted the Bug hotel - zeff Lyonmaterial into tubes or bottles. These were then putt into place in our larger hotel between the oil tanks in the wildlife area or they could be taken home. We also were making wild flower seed bombs made from a mix of sand and clay rolled in wild UK native annual meadow flowers. The flower bombs were put into egg boxes to be taken home and then Gary & Kids making wildflower seed bombsdistributed. The open day was 10-2 pm but with it being mothers day and the clocks changing it was a slow start, although it turned out to be such a beautiful sunny day people came for pizza at lunch and stayed till around 5-6 pm and made the most of the new garden and the weather.

We have just been awarded another grant called ‘Grow wild’ this funded the native seeds for the wild flower seed bombs and will be funding many more workshops during the summer. Our next project is to develop the wild life area designed by level 2 gardening students. This will have a large pond and bog garden planted with UK native plants. We will be constructing a small fence to ensure child safety and a viewing platform over the pond. The craft workshops coming up will be run by local artists Irene and Terry, dates to be confirmed. There will be painting a mural in the eating area, mosaic tiles for the kitchen and making insects out of recycled materials.