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 28 November 2013

Lanterns for Lohri

Anyone for willow lanterns?

We had a great session today with the lovely folk from Gateway to Nature, who came to help us create really impressive lanterns, ready for the Lohri festival in January.

The basic design is made from 2 willow triangular pyramids, so it's easier than it looks.

Starting the pyramid
Masking tape is enough to stick the
corners together
If you fancy making one yourself, Tracey can show you how. Give us a call and she can arrange a workshop for you.

Many thanks to the volunteers who did a brilliant job with the last of the winter bed preparation, and to the DISO boys who worked with Maxine to de-weed the bark paths and mulch all the orchard trees.

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DISO guys doing great work
path revamping
Max gets to grips with the
landscaping fabric
Getting the strawberry bed under

Volunteers working hard

Thursday 14 November 2013

Preparing for Winter and Another Break-in!

We are getting pretty fed up of the two-legged rats that run around our area. We had yet another break in over the weekend! As usual, only a few things disappeared, but we'd just tidied the shed, so it was a real come-down to see the stuff all moved about in there. We think we've managed to solve the problem, so hopefully we are secure again, but it's still not the best way to start a week.

The good news was that our volunteers did another great session's work, and the result is a nicely weeded and mulched path around the keyhole bed, one set of polytunnel doors with their Winter plastic  neatly tacked on, cleared polytunnel beds and a new roller-vent system in place at the side of the tunnel.

We also discovered when we lifted it, that the horned cucumber had been hiding a very healthy crop, so various volunteers are taking them home to try. Tracey has the original one ripening in a fruit bowl at home, so we'll soon find out if they really do taste of melon and banana when they are ripe.

Tracey turned up with a pan of soup made from our sweet potatoes, potatoes, onions and carrots which went down a treat. Now we just need to hope we can finish battening down the hatches before the promised "big freeze" really sets in!

Thursday 7 November 2013

Another clever way to keep warm!

Maybe the sun decided that Thursday was a good day to shine, because we got lucky with the weather, despite the wet week, so our band of happy helpers got lots done.


The first job was to get the net off the top of the fruit cage - always important at this time of year so that we can make sure the weather doesn't damage it when it starts to get icy. Another great benefit is that it allows birds into the cage to seek out insects around the fruit bushes, and hopefully they will help us to get rid of any pests that are hiding there. Having a quick look at the bushes, we realised that we'd missed picking loads of redcurrants! They were still edible, so look out for them appearing on the menu at the Christmas!

Hassan picks the surprise
crop of redcurrants.

We also took the chance to tie in all the new growth of the raspberry - blackberry hybrids along the walls of the cage. They are all doing well and we ended up having to prune some of them, so we've taken cuttings. If they take, we'll let you know!

Joyce makes the cuttings

The cuttings in position

More work went on to finish clearing beds, and to mulch with compost. With such good weather, we had a bit of a clear out in the shed because the cooking kit got a bit disorganised in the last month and we needed to know where everything had gone!

We also had a clever wheeze. Because we use tyres to warm up the ground and air around our pumpkins, marrows and squashes, at this time of year, we end up with lots of spare tyres as we take them off. Last year we noticed that the pile of wood chips and leaves, that is delivered for mulch on the allotments, heats up really nicely. Regular readers may remember that we used this to heat up the cold toes of a class from Robert Shaw Primary who were planting trees for us! So - why not use the effect in the polytunnel to keep it a bit warmer? We decided to try it, and we've put the wood chips into towers made from the tyres. These have then been covered over, so we don't get lots of mould spores flying about. They've been christened "tyre batteries" and we'll monitor them to see how warm they get.

Carrie and Annette start making
the tyre batteries.

A plastic base stops the wood chip
from mixing into the soil
Filling the tyres with woodchip

In the middle of all the activity, Hassan organised rice and a nice "end of season veg" meal with lots of the last pick veg from the beds as we cleared them. It was warm enough to sit on the benches outside - so November hasn't yet lived up to the dire warnings about an early freeze. Actually, a bit more cold would be nice, because it looks like we'll need to cut the lawn again...

We'll see what we get next week!

Enjoying lunch in the sun!