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?

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Pumpkins, squashes and courgettes

Today, we risked getting the pumpkin bed planted up. We call it the pumpkin bed, but that's not quite true as apart from Jamaican pumpkins and baby bears, we also have patty pan squash, butternut squash, blue kuri squash and green and yellow courgettes - but they are all in the same family, so pumpkin bed is easier to say! It's completely different weather to last year, and the pumpkin family are possibly not going to like what they experience, but they are getting too big to be in pots, we have no room in the polytunnel, and so we've had to bite the bullet.

Mark, Ellis and Dan plant up the pumpkin bed

There are things we can do to help them. The first is to plant them deep. We make quite a big hole, then  put the plant in up to it's first seed leaves. If these aren't there any more, we plant up to the first true leaves. This helps the plant in several ways - it supports the stem better, so they don't collapse, also so they aren't so likely to get bent over in the wind, and it gives them a chance to make more roots higher up the stem. Leaving the plant in a bit of a dip also helps to make sure any water goes down by the roots. Then we add some kind of shelter. The preferred one is a car tyre. This warms up in the sun and also keeps the wind off the plant really well. Once the plant starts to outgrow the tyre, the weather is usually good enough to allow it to be taken off without the plant growth being checked. We put tyres on some and not others, and it's clear that those in tyres are growing much better. As we don't have enough tyres, we are also making "castles" of earth around the plants without them. These help keep the wind off a bit, though not as well. All these will also get mulches of compost and well-rotted manure because they are heavy feeders and will enjoy it.

Ray using his special carrot seed planting technique

Ellis, Dan and Mark all helped to weed and then plant up the bed. Meanwhile Ray worked on the high raised beds to save his back, re-sowing carrots where we haven't had a good set, and also more chickpeas. Helen beavered away in the polytunnel, pricking out calabrese and callaloo for us.

Helen potting up.

Whenever we had a break we enjoyed watching the wrens feed their 2 chicks. They are a little nervous around us, but seem able to cope if we aren't within about 5m of them.

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