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.
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.


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.

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

Art and design for Cultivate

The Get-Growing project is located on the Coleg Powys campus, and how coming under management of the Cultivate Horticulture team. A recent project in collaboration with the college has been around exploring messages and marketing of how we might communicate so of the aspirations and values of the project via logos and design. We now have the hard task of judging the best entries, meanwhile here are some of the ones that caught my eye

Cultivate logo

Cultivate logo

Dancing carrot

Dancing carrot




Some of the Cultivate team viewing some of the art entries

Some of the Cultivate team viewing some of the art entries

Super hero

Super hero

Recycling logo

Recycling logo

Green power, broccoli man!

Green power, broccoli man!

Water bucket/ headphones

Water bucket/ headphones

Broccoli figure

Broccoli figure



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.






Youth led grant for Llanidloes garden

sunken seating area -beforeThe Get Growing project in Llanidloes, in association with the Scout Explorer group has just been awarded £1000 for a sunken seating area and a cob oven. This youth led grant from PAVO will give young people of the town somewhere to meet up with there friends. We will be running a series of workshops to teach young people new skills in construction. This picture shows the area to be developed- it was a sunken green house base filled with soil. Brian, Dave, David and myself- Emma have been emptying it over the last couple of weeks.


strawberry plantingThis is the best soil we have on site, so we have used it to top up the strawberry beds and prepare the beds for the espalier apples. The apple trees are being delivered this week and we will be planting them on Friday morning along with more strawberries.

Once we have the soil all removed from the new seating area we will be arranging some volunteer weekend dates towards the end of January for youths to get involved and learn some new practical skills in construction. Then during February half term we will be running a weekend workshop to build the clay pizza oven. Please get in touch if you know anyone who would like to get involved.


Work begins on Newtown’s new community growing hub

After two years or more on the Vastre estate, behind the Cwm Harry compost factory it is a real thrill to be in a much more central location and working with students and volunteers at our new base at Coleg Powys. We have been offering work experience placements to students from the college, who have been taking in part in sessions looking at the future of energy and food as well as getting involved in work on the ground itself..

Students working on a ‘dead hedge’ using up hedge trimmings to subdivide the new community growing space

Our Monday group worked hard on a grey drizzly day making a ‘dead hedge’ from old hedge trimmings as well as constructing A frames to do some basic survey work mapping the contours in the field, where the main veg growing beds are planned to go.

A section of hedge was completed.. its great to see some progress happening finally in the field after months of waiting to move here

The other job we have been hard at is clearing all the dead poplar poles at the top of the garden. We really wanted to get these cleared as it is a visible sign of progress and we are keen for neighbours and passers by to notice that things are underway here. We now have two young men here on work experience placement, and they plan to be with us all year and will have the chance to get involved in a variety of tasks over that time.. helping us get the garden ready for the coming growing season. There is no shortage of things to be done… just getting ready, let alone actually producing any actual produce… that will come later.

Clearing the old dead poplar poles

We have another little interesting challenge at hand as well…. we have been invited to grow some salad leaves to be served as a live selection for an event featuring local food. Easy enough i guess, but we have the challenge of getting all the details right, not least the timing.. so that they are ready just in time, not too soon and not too late. We have also experimented with different growing mediums, seed mixes and by thinning some out and not others.. when you come think about there are a great many variables to explore to get it exactly right!

Salad leaves growing on the widow ledge at Cwm Harry for a local food banquet.

Pen Dinas, our new home

Well we have finally moved in to our new project home and base at Pen Dinas, right next to Coleg Powys/ Theatre Hafren, Newtown. It is a fantastic opportunity for us to bring our community growing, permaculture focus into a real community learning environment. it feels like forever that we have been taking down the old garden and moving but we have finally taken the plunge and moved ot the new site. We had out firest college group of students in tfor the day on monday and interviewd to young men who will be doing a year’s placement with us yesterday.

much of the site is heavily over grown and we are tyring to tame the wilderness as well as get started on the site dec=velopmentm, following the design we did earlier in the summer.

First cut of the top field at Pen Dinas

Here is my lovely new office.(Below) I have been self employed since I finished my coordinator role at the RISC roof garden proejct in Reading back in 2005 so it is thrilling form to have an office again that isnt a spare room at home! The bungalow at Pen Dinas had been empty a while and the college have had buildiers in who have transforemd it from a home to a work place, with 2 offices, a classroom, volunteers room and kitchen

My new desk and office at Pen Dinas. very exciting ondeed. I have been self employed for the last 10 years and living out of shoe boxes, this is luxury!

We have a lovely classroom and this is the volunteers room, resource area and where we have breaks and lunches. We will carry on with our volunteer wednesdays and we are open toanyone interested who wants to come along get invovled. There is no minimum commitment, no enrolement process, all are welcome to come alog and find out how they can fit it.

We have to submit a planning application before we can put up an permanent structures in the fields and we do hope to establish 3 polytunnels, re erect the roundhouse and establish a compost loo, tool shed and a pizza oven.. as well as another ouside cooking area, and a huge greenhouse. Hopefully we will have clearance for all of that by the new year.. so there is going to be no shortage of things to do over the coming months, as well of course of establishing our grorwing beds an getting plants in the ground for the coming season.

Schools enterprise project

Pupils from a school enterprise project in their garden

This is a recent piece of work led by Emma from Get Growing which has come to an end, the project aim was to introduce horticulture to the curriculum in a way in which it linked with the enterprise and business at a local Powys school.

Students were offered a contract to supply veg to the Cwm Harry Food Company with Emma on hand to run some weekly sessions to offer the necessary growing skills. The students have successfuly developed a productive garden and managed to produce a range of produce for sale. The key moment came about when they were handed a cheque for the sale-able produce they had managed to grow. This is a kind of initiative, although just in small scale here that could be developed significantly in the future.. watch this space fo further developments!

The all important cheque for the produce grown by the students