Chilly winter weather

After having had a busy autumn tidying and preparing all the gardens for winter most the staff and volunteers took a lovely long break for the Christmas festive period. Now we are back winter has properly set in, a bit of snow and plenty of frost have put the gardens to rest.

Llanidloes community food garden is all tidy and quiet with not many visitors now, so our Monday morning volunteer session has moved to the community wildlife garden next door. We are busy tidying the garden and this allows us to take cuttings and divide plants which are given to Seri on our nursery in Newtown to propagate and make us many more plants. In a couple of weeks we will be moving on to work on the back of Great Oak community shop where we have a plant sales area. We are going to give this yard a bit of a face lift so that we can expand the range of plants that we are able to hold at the shop.

archNewtown garden is looking good with crops still being harvested for the veg boxes and Tuesday market. Our winter project is to transform the front garden in to a sensory herb garden, with a selection of herbs for the kitchen and teas. We had a lovely frosty snowy time last week, too frozen to do anything in the soil, so regular volunteer Sasha and I set about weaving a willow arch to give an entrance to the new paving stepping stones leading to the front door. Regular volunteer day continues each week on Tuesdays 10- 4pm, with lunch at 1pm cooked by our chefs Chris and Alistair.

Seri has been busy on the Nursery potting on hardwood cuttings from last year, using all the compost as fast as we can make it. We stock a wide range of plants now, all grown on site. We are specialising in edible plants, alongside ornamentals for bio-diversity and native windflowers. The plant for the season has to be the dwarf daffodils and irises which are just coming up and will be in flower soon, Seri has arranged some in baskets with a bit of ivy which will make a lovely gift.

The food hub still has plenty of locally harvested food available, with veg boxes being topped up with organic produce from the wholesalers. The on-line shop is now up and running for ‘click and collect’, a wide range of staples are available to go with your veg and fruit order. If you haven’t tried it yet just click here it is very easy to use.

The lottery funded ‘Get Growing’ project that we have been working on for nearly three years is coming to an end. We have worked with many schools, we have established three community market gardens, helped with many others and linked people with local food. It is sad to see the end of the project, but out of this project has grown Cultivate co-op. The site at Newtown will remain our main hub and the other community gardens will come under the management of local volunteers and the community that use them. The Get Growing team want to thank all supporters, volunteers and customers by having a Get Growing celebration on Tuesday 3rd February. 3 – 6pm. Hope you can come.
3 – 4.30pm Feedback and Brainstorming about the future (please come if you can)
4.30 – 6pm PARTY

DSCN3106With the end of one project new opportunities arise. Cultivate is expanding and last week we went to visit Cultivate’s new site in North Wales ‘Moelyci’ . We are developing an eight acre market garden, shop and cafe as part of the 350 acre Moelyci Farm that Cwm Harry are taking on as an environmental, education,enterprise centre. The site already has two large multi span polytunnels and a veg packing shed/ shop. We will be expanding this to field scale crops and a one stop shop/ cafe with regular opening times. We came back with some lovely Welsh grown kiwi’s from a neighbouring farm, they are delicious and just ready to eat.

This Get Growing web site is now coming to an end, future blog update will be on our new Cultivate web site. You can also follow us on Facebook and twitter.

Happy New year to you all………..

Join us to Celebrate Get Growing and new beginnings.

Get Growing celebration on Tuesday 3rd February. 3 – 6pm.

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

 

 

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.

September in the garden

It is a busy time of year, with gathering in the harvest and planting crops for overwinter. The Pen Dinas site was busy with activity from staff, volunteers and a couple of visitors from our new project in North Wales ‘ Moelyci environmental and education centre’. There was at least 16 of us sitting down for a shared feast for lunch, prepared by our regular volunteers Chris and Alister using veg from our gardens. Today another new volunteer joined our team, Jack has written this weeks blog post…….

calundulaAs autumn begins the wildlife and plant growth seems abundant with a bumper crop of pumpkins and new shoots for the foreseeable winter turnover. Flower production in late bloom gives the cultivate project that added colour. The polytunnels with new seedlings prove to be a constant level of production, where tomato plants are still in late flower with a good looking amount of produce to be cropped in the upcoming months. Root vegetables such as beetroot and carrots are still in their young state.

 

applesMaintaining the growth with regulated watering and cutting stations gives the annual crop of vegetables and herbs a successful outlook for the sale side of things for when the colder season occurs. The sale area is stocked with a wide range of different species for sale to the general public and replanting on our community gardens. With the organic compost at a very dry state it shows that the soil is not lacking but containing the needed nutrients for a level of sustainable growth during autumn. Orchard trees are producing rosy red and vibrant green apples that set the colourful tone of the garden as a high yield year.

pumpkin harvestRipening and leaf evolution is showing an all-round success, due to well cared and persistent maintenance, evident in the different sections of garden areas during late September. Where replanting and new life lengthens the cultivate project’s success in deliverance of a wide range of different types of plant life for the forthcoming frost. Keeping the new seedlings and shoots at a maintained level of temperature is essential.

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.

International evening in Llanidloes food garden

Photo-0102Llanidloes Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorer Scouts enjoyed a sunny international evening in the community garden Llanidloes on Wednesday 14th May. The younger Beavers and Cubs made bugs from around the world whilst older children made bunting to represent different nations.

international evening

The older Scouts and explorers sawed and chopped wood and made a fire in the cob oven for cooking pizza’s and made a fire to sit around. Everyone enjoyed traditional Italian style pizza from the clay oven, about 40 in all.  Stacks of pancakes with sweet treat toppings were consumed and drinks from around the world were tasted, such as: laasi from India and Ice tea from the States.

 

fire-pit seating area

Llanidloes Scouts are  fundraising for a trip to the international scout camp in Kandesteg, Switzerland. The 9 participants will be part of a jamboree camp with over 1000 Scouts worldwide. While individuals are paying for their own transport, camp fees and food, they are fundraising to take part in extra events such as staying in alpine huts high in the mountains and glacier walking.

willow fenceThe Scouts from Llanidloes will be sharing Welsh culture by inviting other nations to supper to share food, songs and games as well as exchanging Welsh symbols such as daffodil badges, rugby motifs etc while at the jamboree. They will also be visiting other nationalities to learn about their cultures.

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

ketchup

fillme

tormato

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

g

pic2

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.