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 24 May 2012

The Heat Is On - and the Volunteers Do Us Proud

Tracey would like to say a special thank you to the team this week. We're still reeling at Windmill from the change in temperature these last few days. As late as Sunday, we were all shuffling around in our winter gear, but suddenly we've got July temperatures in May, and a polytunnel full of stuff that needs to go in the ground right this minute or it's going to cook. So bring on the Windmill Volunteer Force. Everyone has been brilliant, working extra hours to get as much done as possible to help catch up. On Thursday, some of the group almost literally worked themselves to a standstill so we're nearly caught up.

Of course, we didn't help ourselves by having dug a massive hole in the floor of the polytunnel that also needed to be filled in and covered up. Rosy, Dan and Ellis took charge of that project, and got to work re-levelling the base of the trench and then lining it with polystyrene to retain heat. Tracey prepared the drain -pipe and land-drain arrangement that will be used to distribute the heat into the bottom of the hole and everyone else mucked in to help collect and clean up rocks from the store pile ready refill the trench. These rocks are important as we need them to retain the heat, and also they have to be put back in a way that allows air to flow through the heap.

Ellis using polystyrene insulation off-cuts
to line the trench

Dan and Rosy add the last bits of insulation

Once we'd got the bulk of the rocks sorted, we left the team to finish off, and got on with planting up sweetcorn, pumpkins, squashes and beans. In the polytunnel, Mark made a great job of getting the tomatoes, sweet peppers and no-heat chillis in, and Helen beavered away in the orchard, putting a buddleia and sunflowers into the sensory area. Of course, lots of watering also needed to be done, but we made sure that the plants going in were placed into dips so that the water could be easily concentrated around the roots. We also put lettuce seedlings around plants like squash and courgette so that these will provide a living mulch and take up the space around the young plants that could otherwise be filled with weeds. Another trick we do is to put marker posts next to plants like pumpkin and squash that sprawl and spread, so that we can see where the roots are and know where to water, once the plant gets large and leggy.

Helen makes some additions to the
Sensory Garden

Chris weeds in preparation for planting the 
sweetcorn bed

Mark with his beautifully planted up
tomato, pepper and chilli bed.

By the end of the Thursday session, we had planted the bulk of the things that really needed to be in, and the heat sink team had completed their job. A great effort! Now all we need is to add a few more rocks, then hook up the pipe work and the solar panel. We'll keep you posted as to how well it works.

Ellis and Dan with the almost finished heat sink

One great benefit of all the sun though - we've invested in some solar showers. We think the flow rate wouldn't be too useful for an actual shower - it would take quite a while to get wet! But that's not why we have them, so we don't mind. Because of them, we got all the washing up done in sun-heated water, and have enough left over to soak our feet. They worked so well, the water was almost too hot to use!

Dan displays one of our solar showers

Philippa - are you enjoying washing up in
hot water?!

Well done all!

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