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, 4 October 2012

Chasing Rainbows at Windmill

Now that Apple Day has passed, we have a chance to get back to looking after the plants at Windmill, pulling up those that are over, ensuring that we harvest the crops we have left and putting things in ready to give us crops over Winter and into next year. We also welcomed another new volunteer - Pete - who is keen to get in as many hours as he can to help towards a qualification he's doing in Horticulture.

New volunteer Pete helps pick the beans

Over Wednesday and Thursday, we got a lot done. The pumpkin and squash plants are flagging now, so we took up most of the crop. A few still seem to be going strong (like the amazing Shark's Fin Melon), so we've left those to get a little bigger, but the rest are dying. The "giant" pumpkin that we put in has only managed something the size of a grapefruit, so we're not too impressed!

Dan and Mark were delighted with the sweetcorn in
the low bed.
We also got most of the remaining beans, and took out the sweetcorn that was left, all but 2 cobs that are well filled, but amazingly, in October, have yet to ripen! The rest of the corn was ready and tasted so good we were able to eat it without even cooking it. One or two cobs hadn't set properly and had just a few knobbles, but the rest were pretty good.

Alex wasn't too impressed by this ear of corn

A close up shows how only a few kernels have
been fertilised.

The tomatoes are still ripening, although more slowly than before, but we still got a nice picking which we're hoping to use for slow-roasting to concentrate the flavour. We decided to leave the rest of the fruit for a little longer to keep ripening, but once it gets a bit cooler, we'll probably make some green tomato chutney and we might have another go at the fried green tomatoes that we enjoyed last year.

Tomatoes still going strong in the polytunnel

We also harvested some seed. Our callalloo seed heads look like great furry mauve spikes, and were about to drop a blizzard of seed on to the ground, so we collected them and put them to dry in the polytunnel. Anther set of seeds that we need to collect is from the Red Orach, which is completely covered in seed. It grows well but is quite easy to remove when young, so we might even try some for green manure.

Dan strips the seed from the red orach

Callalloo drying in the polytunnel

The seeds beginning to shed.

Everything was livened up a lot on Wednesday, by sudden sharp showers, which created amazing rainbows (much to Sibel's delight, and ours). Unfortunately we missed the peak of the show, when we could clearly see a secondary rainbow and hints of a third under the main bow, with another faint rainbow well above these as well - quite spectacular!

One of the gorgeous rainbows

In between the harvesting and admiring the light-show, we found some time to plant. Japanese onions, grown from sets, have done well for us in the last few years, so we put in some of those. We also planted some overwintering cauliflower and a catch-crop of hardy lettuce to keep the sprouting brocolli company. Both these crops will be in the ground next year, so we've planted them in the appropriate beds for next year's rotation. If that seems a bit complicated, don't worry - we'll explain our rotation system soon.

Chris and Dan prepare a bed for winter growing

The winter brassica bed

The last job was the most fiddly. We needed to work some clay into the cracks in the clay oven from the inside as well as the outside. This involved almost climbing into the oven, so you were shoulder deep in it. Mark felt as if he was helping to birth a cow! Hopefully though, it's done the trick and the oven should be strong enough for plenty more baking.

Mark does his country vet impression!

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