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 8 January 2015

And We're Back!

Happy New Year from all at Windmill Community Gardens!

Today was our first session of the New Year, and we got straight back into the swing of things. After all the stormy weather, and with more forecast, we were lucky to get a mostly dry and sunny day, which made everyone feel more cheerful as the day went on.

Currantly, I'm being pruned...

January is a good time to prune the soft fruit, so that was the main focus of the day. We are hopefully getting fairly good at this now, but because it's not a good idea to prune away more than 1/3 of the wood on any one bush at a time, some of the bushes are only now starting to have the shape we want. A few suffered a lot in the first year because we got too busy to weed the fruit cage and they had a lot of branches bend down to the ground because the weight of bindweed pulled them down. This has been annoying as good fruit was lying on the ground, but has also had the effect of layering several of the bushes. This means that the branches in contact with the mulch below have rooted into it, creating new plants. It's a useful way to increase your stock of most soft fruit. If you have the room to pull a low branch down and fix it into the ground, it's worth a go. Mark is getting quite good at the method now, and is becoming a dab-hand at pruning gooseberries without getting prickled (or maybe he's just being stoic).

We showed Ellie and Andrea the basics and they had a go, though Andrea is enjoying weeding out the bindweed and ground elder roots, so we didn't argue too much when she said she preferred that job and went back to it! We also had a visitor - Hollie, who hopes to volunteer with us soon, and she was also interested to have a try.

A cuttings bed in one of our builder's bag planters

The other way of increasing the stock of plants is to use the prunings for cuttings. We usually do some each year, though the success can be variable depending on the weather and if we remember to water them enough. We find they are quite vulnerable to early dry spells, presumably when they are just getting their roots going and their first leaf growth starts to pull up water. We have now laid out a bed of red currant cuttings, another of gooseberries and also a tyre bed of blackcurrants. It all looks wonderfully neat now, but we will need to keep on top of the weeding with plenty of mulch.

Ellie vs. a vine

We also dug up some of the successful cuttings from last year. Ellie was impressed by how well rooted the grape vine cuttings were, and then less impressed when she got the job of digging them up. It's obvious why Hassan says that they root like weeds!

It may look small, but it's like an iceberg -
not much on the surface but masses underneath

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