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 25 September 2014

Still feels like Summer!

Today was a bit quieter compared to last week with 2 school parties, but we still managed to get plenty of work done. The main job was a big harvest, as the tomatoes are still going strong, and we want to make some nice things with them. We also have a respectable crop of beans, plenty of the nice, small and very tasty Celebration squashes, and the "Summer Sprouting" broccoli finally decided to do what it was supposed to, so we had a few heads of that.

Rebecca visited on Monday and collected
some of our wonderful fresh veg.
Guy continued with his mission to beat back the brambles that are trying to take over the orchard. He is off to do some training shortly, so we wish him luck, and thank him for the hard work, which has made a big difference.

One big job to do at this time of year is seed collecting. We have a great crop of different flower seeds, as well as seeding radish, saag, callaloo, beans and peas. Joyce and Tracey had a good time with this, though with the saag, we had left it a little late as the pods were already popping. We predict the crop will be huge next year - probably all over the path and on the floor of the polytunnel!

We also picked a "selection box" of goodies to deliver to the Dunkirk Lenton Partnership. These will be used to create lovely food at Crocus Cafe for their free meals on Tuesday evenings.

A goody box for Crocus, + some of our pumpkins

Thursday 18 September 2014

Harvesting, Pizza and Compostology with Robert Shaw Primary

Robert Shaw School Visit Windmill

Had a super day today with 2 classes from Robert Shaw Primary who made their traditional visit today to make pizza using our tomatoes, learning a few lessons about sustainability in the process.

Making pizza

Picking tomatoes for the pizza

Pupils first of all found out a little about how we and why we compost on site, took the compostology challenge, then split into 3 groups to either make pizza and help harvest our crops, help us to weed and tidy the fire circle area or to harvest seeds and make seed bombs. Everyone got to try every activity, so it was a busy scene.

Enjoying sustainably-cooked pizza
from the clay oven

Collecting seeds and flowers 
Making seed bombs - messy but fun!

We were thrilled when some of the party said they didn't want to leave and we were pleased that so many of the groups enjoyed their pizza and had taken on board the idea that we are cooking with energy stored in the last few years by our own trees (or those at Attenborough), instead of using fossil fuels.

Harvesting is always fun!

Some of the pumpkin harvest

Thanks to the volunteers who make this kind of visit possible. Chris did a great job supervising the weeding, Hassan managed to beat the clay oven into submission, so we could get the pizzas cooking, and Joyce did a great job with the seed bombs. Thanks also to Brian for turning up to finish fixing the ceiling in the shed, and to Guy for continuing the battle against the bramble invasion in the orchard.

We like growing in tyres at Windmill....

Monday 15 September 2014

Experimental strawberry bed

Hassan clearing the bed last week

Today we put in a big effort to get the strawberry bed finished because we have 2 school groups coming on Thursday, and we wanted everything tidy and organised. Although we had already dug over the bed, doing it again revealed just how completely bindweed can take over a permanent bed. If we were farming the stuff, we would be rich by now!

Part of our healthy bindweed crop! 

We also decided to run an experiment because of something Hassan has suggested. He noticed that when old strawberry plants develop long stems, the tops of the stems have small roots hiding amongst the leaf bases. He has apparently taken off the base of the stem and replanted them with some success, so we are trying it ourselves to see how they do. We have divided the bed into 3, with older strawberry plants with the bases removed in one part, rooted runners we potted up last year in the middle, and some of this year's runners in the other end. It will be interesting to see how they do.

The completed bed, older plants at the near end.

Thursday 11 September 2014

Jam Tomorrow, Sweat Today

Today we started a long overdue process - renewing the strawberry bed, or rather the strawberry, couch grass and bindweed bed, as we ought to call it. Strawberries gradually get less productive as they get older, so it's a good idea to renew them after 3 or 4 years. Our bed has been in place for 4 years, and it was getting very crowded, so the obvious solution was a whole-scale clear out.

Hassan works to remove the old strawberry plants

The team did a great job, digging out the plants, and then sorting them out into rooted runners and old plants.

Mark takes a break from sorting strawberries, Brian takes
a break from ceiling fixing.

Meanwhile, Brian did sterling work making sure the ceiling in the shed doesn't fall down, and Guy helped to make a lunch of Spanish Omlette, which we enjoyed with fresh bread in the sunshine. Sometimes it doesn't feel like work at all at Windmill...

Guy cooking the veg to go in the Spanish omelette

Monday 8 September 2014

Indian Summer

Lifting the pumpkins

Today we really enjoyed the Indian Summer we're having. Thanks to all the volunteers, we got loads done. We decided to lift the pumpkins, because we've had some break ins and these often get pinched. The place looks less decorative now, but it means that we'll have some lovely lanterns at our Pumpkin Day on Saturday 25th of October. Keep an eye out for more details!!

Pat E Pan
Somehow the patty pan squashes just demand to be eyes in a face, so we gave in to temptation!

Looking for Jamaican peas

Bursts of colour from nasturtiums and

The next lot of lettuce

Guy does sterling work keeping the brambles at bay

Saturday 6 September 2014

Grow Your Own - As We Do

The Grow Your Own day at Woodthorpe Park today was crazy busy, especially when we mentioned the "free seeds"... So busy that my first attempts at taking photos of our stall just looked like lots of people's backs, so these were taken a little later. They do mean that you have missed the sheer fabulousness of our veg display in all its glory, but you'll get a flavour. 

Huge thanks to Chris, Hassan and Mark for manning the stall, and to Joy Killowewho was such an excellent neighbour, and saw to the gang's ice-cream needs (she's lovely!). Thanks also Jo Tarrant for her hard work in arranging the whole day.