Welcome to the Secret Garden behind Bobber's Mill in Nottingham

Welcome to Windmill Community Gardens, home of the Climate Friendly Gardeners Project.

We are a group of local people, helped by Groundwork Greater Nottingham, who are resurrecting a wonderful community garden in the heart of the city. You'll find us at the South end of Ascot Road, near Collins Cash and Carry. The Gardens are a great place where anyone can come to find out more about growing their own food in a changing climate. We cater for all abilities and welcome any nationality or age group.

Why not come and join us?

Friday, 2 August 2019

Summertime is in full swing!

Realised we haven't put up a blog post for a while, so here's the latest seasonal offering from our resident poet, Stuart Vanner

 


Summertime

The summer season must be the best, 
For it is when with the world I am most impressed. 
It is time to be out and to have constant fun, 
To be under blue skies and the endless Sun.

Time for scorching hot days and muggy nights, 
To see smiling faces all filled with delight. 
It is time to relax and time to unwind, 
While all about you there is joy to find.

Time to visit the beach and be by sea, 
For colds drinks, ice cream and for feeling free. 
Once again we'll mention the sweltering heat, 
Since all the seasons it must always beat.

And it is time to look round and appreciate 
These summer moments and celebrate, 
For this lovely season shall in time be past, 
So remember - enjoy it while it lasts.


For more regular updates - check out our Facebook Page HERE

Friday, 22 March 2019

Our resident poet Stuart has written us a new poem to welcome Spring.


Spring

We adore the spring, such lovely weather. When blue sky and sun come out together. The blossom blooms, as do the flowers, And we may expect some April showers.

See chirping birds and buzzing bees. Feel the temperate air and gentle breeze. View the plants and trees, we see them greening And this is time for us all to start spring cleaning 

What a perfect time to be outside.To roam this our wonderful countryside.
Yes we have so many a reason 
To love this beautiful special season.











Thursday, 21 March 2019

The Water Tank has arrived!

If your experience of last year was like ours, you'll have found that the rain water you saved in butts ran out surprisingly early in the season. In our case, we can store about 1200 litres of water on site, but we still ran out, so when we were offered a huge IBC tank from the Water Works project, we jumped at the chance.

It's a great addition and will add 640 extra litres to our capacity, and hopefully make us far more self-sufficient in water. If you do have a water but yourself, we'd urge you to add one or two more at least. The way the weather is changing means that it rains less often but in larger amounts at one time, so you need that extra capacity if you're going to make the most of the rain that does fall!

Thanks so much to the Water Works project and its sponsors, The Postcode Lottery.



Sunday, 24 February 2019

Some thoughts on thoughts


Our resident poet Stuart wrote these thoughts about a big issue for many people. He finds coming to the garden really helps him.

Obsession 


O yes, they can drive us really mad - our peculiar obsessions. 
Perhaps you are cleaning all the time or buying too many possessions.

Or are you being miserly and keeping all your savings? 
Or you need to do or see something to satisfy your cravings?

Perhaps your obsession is so odd so no-one can understand. 
May be it is has taken such a hold that it's getting out of hand.

What happens when you go cold turkey and you try to resist? 
Do you find the awful yearnings still seem to persist?

Does stopping it induce your mind to keep forever niggling? 
Or will you pace all about or endlessly be wriggling?

You could try to distract yourself, the obsession may diminish. 
And talking should help as well, then it might completely finish.

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Wassailing and the Lohri Festival


Lovely to see so many people willing to come out on an overcast and chilly day to help us celebrate the Lohri Festival and Wassail our fruit trees! Thanks as always to the wonderful Prakash for providing the gorgeous food, and to Mark for bringing his drums to provide the heartbeat.


It was a good day for learning too. Tracey began the day being interviewed about what we were planning on Radio Nottingham, so at least 1 listener learned about the session and came to see what we were doing. And Tracey learned she's been saying "Lohri" wrong for quite a while - apparently it should be pronounced "Loiyi" - so hopefully she'll get it right next year! 

Making tickling sticks to use to wake up the trees.


Tracey leads the Wassailing

Adding the heartbeat.







Thursday, 13 December 2018

That's us done for this year now, following a wonderful Festive Fuddle. We were delighted to welcome many friends who have visited during the year to provide workshops as well as our wonderful volunteers past and present. Well done all for braving the cold. We hope you enjoyed making pine-cone owls, wreaths and home-made crackers (complete with a real snap!). 
Some of the fun crafts we made in the polytunnel.

Many thanks to the Small Food Bakery for the pizza dough which everyone loved - our resident cooks Zariffa and Mary also used it to make Zatar breads - delicious!  Well done to Hassan for stepping in to beat the clay oven into submission so the pizza got cooked! 

Hassan - maker of perfectly cooked pizza & only really warm person that day!
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire & some happy folk who can only
remember the first 2 lines of the song about that!
Thanks to David, Bryn and Jon for the "Christmas tree" - and for the decorations in the tunnel (thanks also to Ash for those).Great to see so many of you, and thanks so much for all your help and hard work this year. 
We're back on Monday 14th January, so until then - Happy Christmas to all, and a lovely Festive Poem from our resident poet laureate, Stuart.


At Christmas Time 
Christmas - a time which we love and adore. 
When we’re merry, excited and o so much more. 
It’s when certain magic can quite be believed, 
And when special gifts are sent and received. 

It is time for our families to all get together. 
To be merry and joyful whatever the weather.
It is time to put all our quarrels aside, 
And to have fun and laughter. 
There's no need to hide. 

It is time for us all to be cheerful and jolly, 
And even quite silly, perhaps full of folly. 
It is time to be thoughtful and time to be kind. 
It is time to relax and time to unwind. 

It’s a time to tuck into a fabulous feast. 
And as we indulge, all talk may be ceased. 
It is time to excuse one for having a drink, 
And then have another. There's no need to think. 

Then as this festive time starts to come to an end, 
Another year’s coming which we must attend. 
And then to the future we must start to look 
And begin a new chapter of our new book.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Smashing Pumpkins - it's not all about soup!

Great session helping people make some different and delicious things with pumpkins today. 


We started with a little chat about which pumpkins worked best for different recipes. Essentially, there are more watery-fleshed ones (usually with a lighter orange, pink or yellow skin), and drier-fleshed ones which tend to either be darker skinned, green skinned, striped or white). They all taste good, but the drier fleshed ones work better in pumpkin pie, cakes and pumpkin gnocchi. 

If you bake either type, they will loose water, and if you mash the wetter types, then put them in a sieve, you can reduce the amount of water. Happily, if you use the water, you can make a rather nice pumpkin-juice lemonade, which is how we started the cooking preparation, and seemed to go down very well (if fighting over seconds is any indication!). 



Next on the menu was pumpkin gnocchi made using a Crown Prince squash with its lovely dry dark-orange flesh that contrasts with the characteristic grey-green skin. Tracey had prepared the pumpkin in advance by baking it whole in the oven - much less effort than cutting it up, as it cuts like butter when cooked. You just slice off the top, scoop out the seeds and then scoop out the flesh with a spoon. The texture is so smooth, you can just mash it like potato. The recipe below is useful, but you need to allow for different levels of moisture in different pumpkins, so Tracey actually made the gnocchi by estimating. The great thing about these little pillows of pumpkin and flour is that they are great to make in a group - many hands definitely make light work. And they have loads of pumpkin in them and they work really well with sage and garlic butter and parmesan. It's also possible to make them vegan if you leave out the egg. 

Gnocchi going down very well with the willing workers.

After our gnocchi snack, we then went on to make pumpkin pancakes with toffee sauce, which were a really big hit with the children especially - most of them asking for their own personal "stack"! 

Thanks to all who attended, and we hope you've taken away some new ideas.



The "how to" photos below are from another session some years ago now.


Ingredients

Pureed pumpkin flesh, with as little moisture as possible
Plain or self-raising flour
Eggs
Salt 
Nutmeg

Method


Add 1 egg for every 1/2 pint  / 280ml of pumpkin and whisk
(We had 1 1/2 pints)

Then start to add flour.

Keep adding flour until you need to use your hands to kneed
the mixture lightly. Do the minimum work to get it firm
enough to make into discs about 4cm in diameter (use lots
of flour on your hands to avoid overworking the mixture). If the
mixture is right, it will feel a bit like your earlobe if you pinch it!

You can also tell if the mix is right when the gnocchi
can hold the indentation of the prongs of a fork.

Gnocchi ready to cook. The traditional shape comes from
squeezing in the sides of the circle.

Boil the gnocchi in batches. If made with plain flour, they
will be done as soon as they rise to the surface of the water.

We served the gnocchi with garlic and sage butter - essentially just 2 cloves of garlic gently heated in the butter with about 15 sage leaves chopped finely, and finely grated strong cheese. They were a big hit!


Pumpkin Pancakes with Toffee Sauce

Ingredients
50g butter
225g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
50g caster sugar
Up to 200ml milk
2 medium eggs
500g pumpkin puree (roast pumpkin until soft, blend then rest in a sieve 
until most of the liquid has gone)
1 tsp cinnamon

For the toffee sauce – it’s easy to make your own
50g unsalted butter
50g light muscovado sugar
2 tbsp double cream


Make the toffee sauce. Put ingredients into a heavy bottomed pan and bring slowly to the boil then turn down the heat for another 3 – 5 minutes. Stir frequently during cooking. 
Put flour, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar into a bowl and stir to blend. Add eggs, pumpkin and half the milk if pumpkin is one of the drier types. Whisk until smooth and thick, adding more milk as necessary to give a thick batter. You are looking for something that spreads to a ½ cm thickness in the pan.
Heat a large, non-stick frying pan. Put a knob of butter in the pan and melt ensuring it doesn’t reach smoking heat. Add 4 tablespoonfuls of the batter, spaced well apart, and cook for bout 2 minutes until they are slightly brown on the bottom. Flip and cook for another minute. Transfer to a metal or china plate and keep warm by keeping a cloth over them, or eat as soon as they are cool enough.
Serve with toffee sauce if liked (many types are on sale if you don’t fancy making it, but give it a try – it’s really easy).