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 August 2014

Harvest Fun with the BOBS Group

"Unscrewing" a courgette

Harvesting is a big part of the fun of growing your own, and at Windmill we are always delighted to give people the chance to get involved at harvest time, so it was great to welcome the BOBS group to the site to do some picking with us today. They visited us a few years ago, and it was brilliant to hear stories from some of the children about how much they had enjoyed their previous visit, and the taste of the sweetcorn. Those new to the site also got stuck in, and were soon experts in harvesting carefully to make sure the plants didn't get damaged.

Shark's fin melons hiding under their leaves
Where have the beans been hiding?
Tomato about to be enjoyed

Luckily, we had ripe sweetcorn to give the willing workers again this time too. It's always nice to be able to reward hard work. Whilst some of the older children helped us to prepare the corn, the younger folk and their parents and carers used some of the harvest to make a picture. There was a bit of disagreement amongst the artists, so the face you see is a woman with long hair, carrot earrings and courgette hair slides, but with a beard - she'll be representing the UK at Eurovision soon, no doubt!

Preparing the sweetcorn

Plum Job!

Today was the major plum pick of the year. Thanks to Helen, Ash, Guy, Hassan, Kathy and Cicely for all your help in picking our huge crop! It is earlier than usual, due to the warm weather we had in July and early August. If you look back to previous years, you'll see that we normally pick them in September. We don't want to disappoint the folk who like to make plum jam with us then, so we're freezing some so they can still do that later. If your group is one of them, give us a call!

The fruits of our labours

Cicely found a new friend!

Kathy stayed for a well earned lunch of ratatouille.

Thursday 21 August 2014

Tomato 'Costoluto Fiorentino' makes a great pizza topping

Tomato 'Costoluto Fiorentino'. What a beauty. 

Thursday's session was mostly in praise of a new tomato variety we have tried this year at Windmill - the tomato 'Costoluto Fiorentino'. Not sure what costoluto translates as, because Google won't oblige, but Fiorentino means it comes from Florence, so we hoped it would bring a taste of Italy with it. The tomato doesn't disappoint with a really nice fruity hit of flavour, which is less sweet than most cherry tomatoes, but still strong enough to make a great sauce. It is meaty, with very few seeds. It is heavily ribbed, but this isn't an issue if you just slice it across its width, and the resulting slices look really attractive with their scalloped edges. We think the green ones will be amazing for making fried green tomatoes, especially because they seem to hold their shape well when cut..

These tomatoes have the added value, as we saw on Monday, of providing some fun deformed fruits which taste fine, but can look quite entertaining.

Tracey used the first pick of the crop to make tomato sauce for pizza, and we fired up the oven. One of the things we proved is that the wind direction and speed makes a big difference to the way the oven functions, especially because it was strong enough to blow back down the chimney a few times, even with a healthy fire going. That meant it took a bit longer than usual to provide a pizza treat for the volunteers of the day. Despite a bit of a wait (hey, more weeding time - what's not to like!) Guy, Joyce, Ash, Chris and Mac were very happy to enjoy a well-deserved snack. Mac is a vegan, so we used almond butter instead of cheese on his, and he had a bit of a fight on his hands as several folk wanted to tuck in to try it.

Pizzas ready for action

The finished article

Monday 18 August 2014

About Jam Time Again!

After some dodgy weather last week, we had a great day's harvesting today. It was perfect sunny weather with a light breeze. Just as well, since we welcomed some local folk to come and make bread and jam with us from scratch, and doing that in a gale isn't so much fun!

We also got on with harvesting lots of yummy stuff, and some weird things too. Every year, the tomatoes surprise us, and this year we seem to have a few alien spaceships arriving on site...

The aliens have landed...

One of the harvests was potatoes that we grew in tyres. The long dry spells make it difficult to keep these moist enough, because the leaves tend to deflect the rain when they are grown in a tub. Desiree potatoes seem to work best for this, certainly they don't wilt like other varieties, and as Chris found, they produced a decent crop.
Chris with his Desiree.

We're pleased to report that the clay oven behaved beautifully, and that the bread tasted great with the freshly-made plum jam.

Birgitte enjoys the fruits and bread of her labour

It was also great to see Mac, who visited for some ideas for setting up a community allotment, and did a great job helping out. Hope to see you all again soon.

Some of today's harvest