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?

Tuesday 30 August 2011

More sad news from Windmill

After all our hard work and great fun from the last week, we are very sad to report that our polytunnel has been vandalised.  It is thought that the incident happened sometime between  Sunday Lunchtime and Monday and it involved the polytunnel covering being sliced, either with a knife or scissors, leaving the roof open and the contents exposed.  After all the dedication and graft which was put into the building of the tunnel we are very keen to see that the perpetrators are caught.  The police have been informed and we would kindly ask that if anyone has any information on, or saw the incident taking place to contact them as soon as possible.  Meanwhile, the task of buying new covering and rebuilding the polytunnel begins from now on and we hope to restore it as soon as possible.

Exposed - equipment and produce within the damaged polytunnel

Sliced apart - polytunnel covering

Mindless vandalism - roof bars can now be seen after the polytunnel covering was cut

Thursday 25 August 2011

Anyone for some lovely fresh fruit and veg?

Today was a thoroughly enjoyable day at Windmill! Tracey, Ellis, Helen, Ray and Lisa were joined by two groups of children along with their mentors from the Groundwork office: Sarah Briley, Nicola Liburd, Daniel Davis and John Haslam.

The first group who were accompanied by Sarah were from BOBS, a residents' group from the Bridlington Street Park area of Nottingham who plan activities to keep the young ones entertained during the Summer holidays.  Activities included a guided tour of the allotment with a fantastic talk by Tracey as to what we do and what we grow.  They picked many different fruits and vegetables including courgettes, beans, sweetcorn, tomatoes and plums.  They had also arrived just in time for lunch so Helen, Ray and Ellis fired up the camping stovesso we could boil up some of the freshly-picked home-grown sweetcorn.  This went down an absolute treat among the children and adults alike.  It had a delicious, fresh sweet taste along with a gorgeous sunny golden colour.  There was a general consensus that they were far better than anything you could ever get in the shops!

A young lady picks some sweetcorn with Sarah's help!
Tracey explains how to remove the husk from a corn cob - pictures from two directions at once!
Ellis and Ray fire up the stove

Could this be the largest ever lettuce?!

One little gentleman certainly enjoyed the sweetcorn!

The second group who arrived with Nicola, John and Daniel were a youth group from Killisick, a housing estate in Arnold, Nottingham.  They were given the task of harvesting some plums from the very well laden trees. It is believed that they are actually plums crossed with damsons.  Once again, the regular volunteers took up the task of firing up the stoves and we successfully made some jam with the fruits of the childrens' labour.

In addition to the wonderful help we have had from the children, the regulars did a brilliant job of weeding (including yet more horseradish, sigh), harvesting and watering. With fantastic weather it was a brilliant day all round!

Helen and Lisa take a break from weeding!

Thursday 18 August 2011

A Sad day at Windmill

Windmill Commnity Gardens mean a lot to us, and we love being there, but today was a sad one because it was the funeral of Paula, a great friend of the Gardens. Last year, whilst we were waiting for the Climate Friendly Gardens project funding to come through, Paula helped Ellis and Dan to keep things ticking over at Windmill. She was always full of energy and enthusiasm, and we were delighted to welcome her back to the Gardens only a few weeks ago at our celebration event. Paula wasn't one for sadness, so we let off a few party poppers that we'd been given and said some words then cut some of the red and yellow sunflowers she'd been promised on her last visit to give to her daughter Mikayla.

In memory of Paula Dixon, our dear friend and colleague

There is a plan to put a bench in the garden in memory of Paula, so we'll let you know when it is installed.

Of course, harvesting has to continue, and the crops keep coming, so we were kept busy. We had to harvest yet more plums and damsons, to prevent the trees from loosing even more branches. These fruit should be perfectly ripe by next week, but we can still make some great jam with what we've picked today.

Ellis with a large collection of onions from one of the beds

We also got lots of french beans, spinach, callaloo, runner beans, lettuce, tomatoes and blackberries, as well as picking the main onion crop, which we hung out to dry in the polytunnel.

Lisa picks some yellow French beans

The Brandywine tomatoes are now getting massive, so we made little hammocks for some of them and shored up the rest  with string, also re-inforcing the current top support string to spread the load.

Ray tends to the tomato plants

Brandywine tomatoes reinforced with netting
Helen waters one of the vegetable beds

We are also aware that, fox partying aside, we might be harvesting the sweetcorn next week, which will be a lovely treat. If we get it right, it will only take 10 minutes from harvesting to eating, so it should taste amazing.

Thursday 4 August 2011

Harvesting here we come!

Much of today was taken up harvesting and sampling the fruits of our labour, literally and metaphorically! The moment we have all been waiting for came when we noticed that our lovely damson and plum trees (and possibly some plum / damson crosses) are nearly ripe so we need to start planning for a proper harvest in a few weeks. Unfortunately, the crop is so huge this year that a lot of the trees are breaking their branches despite us thinning them over the last few weeks. We thinned them again, taking any soft fruit and fruit from branches that looked most likely to break. We'll make jam and chutney with these ones. Hopefully next week they will be wonderfully ripe so we can enjoy lots of fresh fruit, as we have some groups coming to see us who will enjoy that.

We had a bit of fun with one plum with a smaller twin plum attached - now known as "nosey".

Dan with new friend, Nosey!

Elsewhere, we found that there were lots of vegetables ready, including cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuces, radishes, kohlrabi, courgettes, calaloo, carrots and broccoli.  There have been wonderful reports regarding the cucumbers, radishes, lettuces and broccoli across the Groundwork office!

Here we come a-harvesting!

Tracey and Khaled also managed to take some veg to the Acorn Day Centre to let the folk there have the chance to get some really fresh veg.

Khaled guards the produce!

Sadly, however, it had been found that foxes had attempted to uproot the sweetcorn plants to see if they were ready to eat.  Most plants escaped unscathed, although Tracey has been forced to create makeshift protective cages out of wire, bamboo and willow.  We hope that this will have been successful in preventing further attacks!

In addition to harvesting, other tasks included the usual watering, weeding and plant maintenance such as re-tying the tomato plants, as well removing side-shootings to keep them in check. The Brandywine tomatoes especially are looking like triffids, and as their fruit can weigh up to a pound each, we will have to make efforts to help the plants hang on to them.

 Helene has offered to water next week while Tracey is away, so everything should be in good hands.