Welcome to the Secret Garden South of Bobber's Mill Bridge in Nottingham

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

We are a group of local people, who are nurturing a wonderful community garden in the heart of the city. You'll find us just South of Bobbersmill Bridge, on the allotment site at the South end of Ascot Road. 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 19 May 2011

If you don't like the weather, wait a bit...

We've had a busy and fun week at Windmill, with lots of visitors and good work done.

It started on Wednesday, with a visit from Breathe Easy North Nottingham to have a look at how we are set up to make gardening easier for those with mobility and other physical problems. We have tools for those with reduced strength or reduced wrist and hand movement, and a seed sowing gadget for those with lack of finger sensitivity. We also have raised beds and potting tables at different heights, and a lot of the paths are wheelchair and walker friendly. We're also very proud of our wheelchair-accessible compost loo, which got the seal of approval from the group, including passing the "sniff test"!

The Breatheasy Gang!

Ellis and Dan fired up the Kelly Kettle and provided hot drinks for everyone - much appreciated as it got quite chilly. The group tried out a range of equipment and prepared and planted up a variety of seeds for us. They've also promised to come back later in the year to help us harvest the crops.

We finished the day building the raised beds to go into the polytunnel - with Ellis doing a brilliant job, and almost at the end of the day, we found a flint that looks very much like it's been worked to make a blade - which would be wonderful - evidence that this area has been in use for a really long time!

Ellis carefully assesses the raised bed area before beginning his stirling work!

And hey presto! The beds are complete and the children are having a great time with their planting!
Helen waters the tomato plants which she grew in her bedroom from seed and mulls over their condition

Then on Thursday a class from Robert Shaw Primary joined us to help plant up the polytunnel with tomatoes. They worked really well - with groups also doing some really careful weeding and planting up some of the high raised beds for us. They've asked to come again, and we will be delighted to have them back - they were such a super group.

The children doing a fantastic job, very kindly weeding our raised beds!

Helen, Ellis and Helene then helped finish off a second raised bed in the polytunnel. It's now planted up with more tomatoes, and we have an area of cucumbers too. Unfortunately all the plants have suffered a bit because we were waiting for the polytunnel to be finished and didn't pot them on, as we thought we'd  have been ready before now. Still, with some tender loving care, we hope they will thrive.

Helen poses with tomato plants
All planted up!

Wednesday 11 May 2011

We've got a polytunnel!

Today we finally managed to get the cover on the polytunnel. Thanks to Mike for his help and direction, and to Dan, Ellis and Nicola for helping on the day. I know Helen and Alison really wanted to be there for this but we've left the doors and the ventilation for them!

The covering begins!

Wait for it...

...And hey presto! Ellis, Nicola and Mike pose with the wonderful new polytunnel!

Thursday 5 May 2011

The day we nearly finished the polytunnel!

The big push at Windmill at the moment is to get the polytunnel finished. It's been quite a saga, with the space created for the structure found to be 3 feet too short and left at rather an angle. Not quite the layout and drop in situation we hoped for. Because we didn't want to leave it out to be pinched, all the bits have had to live in the container shed, leaving us with no indoor space, so it's all been a bit fraught. Enter knight in shining armour, Mike Gosnall, who has put up more polytunnels than most folk have had hot dinners. He's worked to help us get the beast up and put in a 9-5.30 for us today.

Ellis, Nicola, Helen and Alison turned up to help, and all of us did a bit to help the process along, though Ellis definitely did the lion's share. In between things we could help with, we managed to plant some peas, sweetcorn, carrots, parsnips and radishes, and also to continue the war against bindweed, couch grass and mare's tail. The other big scary weed in the allotment is horseradish. Presumably planted deliberately at some point, it is appearing all over the allotment, despite a lot of it being dug up last year. Horseradish is one of nature's big-hitters, with roots that are trying to reach Australia. Fortunately, the very dry weather makes it easier for us to tackle it, as it is too dry to shower us with it's burning sap. However, even with trenching spades (extra long and thin), it was exhausting to remove the larger roots, which were easily 3 feet long, and had to be chopped out in stages. Well done to Alison and Nicola for their hard work in doing that. Helen also did a great job, making us more popular with our neighbours by beheading a lot of the dandelions, weeding with great care and watering all the things that were desperately needing it.

Ellis doing a stirling job of assisting Mike with the polytunnel!

"Mini ploytunnel" containing some embryonic sweetcorn plants!

Some herbs surrounding wildflowers - we've probably saved their lives now!

Despite it being revision week, New College Nottingham managed to send a small group to continue painting the  murals on our raised beds, which are looking increasingly stunning. They were also entertained by our first use of the Kelly Kettles which will be our main water heating on site. These are a little like a samovar, and very useful as they will boil water in a few minutes with the heat of a few sticks, giving us carbon-neutral hot water. We're aiming to produce all our fuel on site, with willow and hazel coppice being the main sources. All the gardeners had a go at lighting them with varying degrees of success, but we did manage to create plenty of hot water, with the small amount we had left being poured on a large horseradish that has forced its way up through tarmac by one of the raised beds!

The artists pose with one of their masterpieces!

It's so much fun all this kelly kettle business!

All hands to the deck - Helen, Nicola, Ellis and Mike

Sadly we didn't quite manage to get the polytunnel covered, although it's so close to being finished that we are confident we will be finished next week... Fingers crossed!