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?

Friday 17 November 2017

Please Help Us!

Please, please vote for us in the Aviva Community Fund! Anyone can vote, from anywhere in the world, and Windmill Community Gardens really needs funds to create a warm and dry space for activities in Winter and bad weather. If you haven't yet voted for us in the Aviva Fund vote, please, please do! And if you can persuade friends and relatives to help, that would be even better!

We need as many votes as possible, not just 1000, so don't be put off and please vote before Monday!

Here's the LINK!

Look at us shivering in the chilly polytunnel, and look at all
those patched holes where the crows have pecked holes in it!

Christmas Herbal Workshop - back by popular demand!

Everyone loves our annual Christmas Herbal workshop with Katherine Bellchambers, so we're doing it again. This time Katherine, a trained medical herbalists will help us to make bath bombs and lip balm. You'll be able to take home lots of goodies, though we'll be asking for a donation of between £5 and £10 per person to cover ingredients and refreshments.

If you want to book a place, send a message on this blog, or a text to the number on the poster.

Look forward to seeing you, but book soon, as the places are already going fast!

Monday 6 November 2017

A little present from one of our volunteers

One of the nice things about having our volunteers is that they bring all kinds of talents and hobbies with them, and Stuart, one of our Thursday volunteers is a keen poet, so we commissioned a poem for our Pumpkin Celebration and here it is:

Sunday 29 October 2017

Best Pumpkin Celebration Yet!

Wow! What a fantastic celebration we had on Sunday!

Pumpkin carving workshops started at 10am, with a happy band who enjoyed the unexpected Autumn sunshine as they created masterpieces with the specialised tools that we have to do unusual pumpkin carving techniques like peeling and 3D carving under the tutelage of our resident expert, Tracey.

People continued to drop in to carve as we started to get set up with the help of some brilliant volunteers. Helen Domleo realised some of our early-bird helpers had succumbed to the flu that's going round so she dived in to start things off, then we were joined by Toto Sugiarto and Li San, NTU students who kindly volunteered to support us, along with Hillary who joined us from Click, despite having had a fall (we are full of admiration for her determination!). We also got some great early support from Jules and Tony who responded to our note on Helpfulpeeps, which was brilliant, and of course, our regular volunteers who hadn't been felled by the lurgy arrived and got stuck in - massive thanks to Ash, Jon, Matt, Rosy, Kathy, Cicely, Claire, Bryan, Ni, Dianne, Derek and Jeremy. Mary, Mo and Rochester arrived to provide some delicious pumpkin-based treats to supplement Kathy's soup and cake, and Ni's pumpkin pie, whilst Claire got a crash-course in taming the clay oven ready for the pumpkin and herb topped pizzas and Jeremy started on the pumpkin pancakes with toffee sauce.

We decorated the site with the "show stopper" pumpkins that Kathy, Tracey and Cicely had pre-prepared, and Helen's impressive haunted house pumpkin, then added some fun decorations to the "spooky woods", including a crashed witch and some creepy crawlies! Whilst we were doing that, Di and Derek were setting up a tombola, with a star prize of a giant teddy, kindly gifted by Collins Cash and Carry, which made the entrance to the site look very festive.

We'd already had "biggest pumpkin" entrants ahead of the event from AMC Gardens, Bulwell Forest Gardens and Ray Armstrong from Precision Stitching, so we thought we already had a winning giant from Ray at 45kg and 1.63m in circumference, but just as we opened a massive pumpkin was brought in by Cat and Miran from their plot on Bar Lane allotments. It took 3 people to weigh it and turned out to be 49kg, earning the star growers a £15 gift card (thank you to Braai King Restaurant on Aspley Lane for gifting this).

Whilst we were doing the weighing, people were having fun. The polytunnel was rammed with happy pumpkin carvers with Ni on hand to give them tips, people were bobbing for apples, making apple slinkies and apple juice, scaring themselves in the Spooky Woods, playing pumpkin related games or sitting around the fire toasting marshmallows. The food area was also very popular, with queues to sample all the pumpkin-related treats.

We judged the best pumpkins from adults and children - the winner of the Adult category was Claire Salter who won cinema tickets from the Savoy, and the winner of the Children's competition was Asher - who won a family day pass from David Lloyd Leisure. Our thanks to both sponsors for
giving us the great prizes.

Claire, winner of the adult competition
Asher's winning pumpkin from the children's competition
Then we lit all the pumpkins whilst the Nottingham Phoenix Fire Group put on a spectacular display of fire-juggling in the orchard outside - a wonderful climax to the day, though most visitors came back in to enjoy the glowing lanterns and sit around the fire for a while longer.

It was the culmination of lots of hard work in preparation and many fantastic volunteers on the day. Thank you again to everyone who helped and all who attended. Thanks to Matt and Chris for the bulk of the photos, and to all who sent us photos on Facebook. Well done all!

Sunday 1 October 2017

It's almost time for Pumpkins!!

Just 4 weeks to go before we have our annual Pumpkin Celebration. It's a great day with all kinds of fun and games with a pumpkin theme, pumpkin recipes to taste and loads of amazing carved pumpkins to enjoy.

If you would like to bring along your own carving masterpiece to the event, we are running competitions for the best decorated pumpkins with adult and child categories, but we're also having a pumpkin carving masterclass from 10 until 12noon if you'd like some help from us. We'll have prizes for the best food made with pumpkin and if you have grown a really big pumpkin, there will be a prize for the largest.

Hope to see you there!

Monday 3 July 2017

The Return of the Feel Good Garden Party!

It's that time of year again, so we're running our "Feel Good Garden Party". We hope you'll join us!

Wednesday 14 June 2017

Grow, Cook and Eat Sessions at Windmill Community Gardens - The Recipes

We have been lucky enough to have a wonderfully diverse group of volunteers for the past few years, and that has meant some absolutely delicious meals for us to enjoy.

Because we like to share with the community at large, we try to hold some sessions which we really advertise to the outside world, and that's what we've just done, with the "Grow, Cook and Eat" sessions we've just had. Here are some photos along with the recipes for the lovely food we got to enjoy.

Pakora – done the authentic way!

Ingredients - choose from
Onions - (finely sliced)
Spinach (finely sliced or left whole for small leaves)
Potatoes - (in small cubes no more than 1cm)
Cauliflower - (chopped small)
Aubergines - (can be sliced or chopped small)

Add the following spices
Chilli - (finely minced)
Gram flour
Cumin Seeds
Ground coriander
Dried fenugreek
Fresh coriander (finely chopped)
Chilli powder
Healthy cooking oil, like rapeseed, coconut or olive oil.

Pakora can have a wide range of ingredients and the mix copes well with altering the ingredients as you go along. The main method is to put in onions, alongside a mix of vegetables that you like which have been prepared small enough so they will cook through when fried. 
Put your chosen vegetables into a dish, then shake gram flour over them until all the vegetables are coated. Add spices to suit your taste. Our version was heavy on the fenugreek and quite light on the chilli. Add salt to taste.  Mix together with you hands, then add water until the mix holds together with a slightly runny texture and the flour coats all of the ingredients. 

Now take spoonfuls of the mixture and drop into hot oil. We found that golf-ball sized or smaller worked better.  The oil shouldn't be smoking, but needs to be hot enough so that a test drop of the batter fizzes and rises to the surface. Cook the mix in batches with plenty of tasting to decide if you want to amend the spices or seasoning. You can also use this to have some less hot pakora before adding chilli for the heat-lovers. Slices of aubergine also work well in the batter, as do small spinach leaves which cook very quickly to come out like large green crisps - delicious!

To serve - mix mint sauce with yoghurt or tomato ketchup to make a tangy dip and eat hot and fresh to preserve the crispy texture.

Bengali Day - 

Aubergine & Mooli Curry

Potato - 2 medium (in dice-sized cubes)
Aubergine - 1 medium  (in dice-sized cubes)
Mooli Radish - 1 large (in dice-sized cubes)
Onions - 3 medium – (finely chopped)

Garlic - 3 cloves (finely chopped)
Red dried chilli
Bay leaf
Garam Masala
Coriander Powder

Fry dried chilli and bayleaf in plenty of healthy oil then add the onion and the garlic and fry until browned. Add the vegetables and fry a little more. Add 1 teaspoon of each of the spices, and cover in hot water. Cook until the the vegetables are soft. Add salt to taste and more garam masala if liked. Serve with rice and crispy fried aubergine.

Crispy Aubergine

Gram flour (chickpea flour)

Slice aubergines in half length ways then slice into 1/2 cm thick slices. Put some gram flour in a dish and liberally dust the aubergine slices a few at a time. Fry in a frying pan in healthy oil until well browned and crispy. You can re-dust the fried slices to make the crust thicker if you wish. Salt a little to taste.

Palestinian Butter Beans – Feeds  10 or more.


1kg Onions – half red and white. (finely chopped)
½ of one large head of garlic (finely chopped)
2 bags of butter beans
2 tins chopped tomatoes
Tomato puree
Olive oil
Black pepper
Ground coriander
Dried fenugreek
Fresh coriander (finely chopped)

Fry the red onion, then half the garlic in plenty of olive oil. (The dish can also be made with meat, in which case dry fry this and use the oil it releases instead of the olive oil). 
When transluscent add tins of tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of puree, then 1 ½ glasses of water. Bring to boil and simmer for ½ hour. 
Add beans and salt to taste, bring back to boil then simmer until beans are tender. 
Whilst beans are cooking, fry remaining garlic and onions until nicely browned and add to the mixture along with black pepper, ground coriander and dried fenugreek to taste. Dress with chopped coriander. Serve with rice and a Syrian salad – recipe below.

Syrian Mixed Salad – Feeds 10 or more.

This recipe doesn’t have exact amounts, so you can decide on how much of each ingredient you’d like to include. This version has a lot of flat leaved parsley (which equates to about 2 bunches of the parsley sold in UK supermarkets) and is also heavy on the onions.

4 large spring onions including all the green part
Large bunch flat leaved parsley
2 large lettuces (Kos for preference, but any will do)
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
1 green pepper
1 large carrot
1 sharp crunchy apple
1 cucumber
Fresh coriander leaf
2 lemons
Extra virgin olive oil


Finely chop all the vegetable ingredients apart from the lemon and place in a large bowl. Slice the zest from the lemons and chop this very finely. Add to the salad along with the juice from the lemons. Dress salad with oil and salt to taste.

Flat bread with Za’atar

These are easy to make with shop-bought flatbreads. The middle-eastern breads often sold in Asian shops will be more authentic, but you can also use tortillas. Za’atar is a spice mix that is loved in the Middle East, which contains roasted sesame seeds, sumac and thyme. You’ll often find it in Asian shops.


Toast the bread under a grill, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil then top with a liberal coating of za’atar and a garnish of sliced tomato. 

Green Papaya Salad – ingredients for 1 person serving

1 clove garlic - crushed
¼ cup peanuts – dry roasted in a pan and chopped
1 – 2 teaspoons raw sugar
1 cup grated green papaya (or green mango)
4 cherry tomatoes, quartered
4 green beans – ends trimmed off and cut into 2cm lengths.
1 – 2 teaspoons tamari soy sauce
juice of 1 lime
birds eye chilli finely chopped – recipe suggests ½ to 1 per person, but it’s ok to use a lot less!
salt to taste

In a mortar and pestle, grind chilli, garlic and peanuts and sugar. Add papaya, tomatoes and green beans and bruise lightly with mortar or spoon. Add tamari and lime juice and stir well. Taste and add more flavours until you like the combination of salt, sweet and sour.

Fried Green Plantain – serves 1

1 green plantain – chopped into 2 cm pieces
Healthy oil for frying – rapeseed, coconut or olive oil
Flaked rock salt


Fry plantain in a deep pan of hot oil for 5 minutes or so until golden brown, and turn over half way through. Remove from pan and allow to drain, then put on a board and use the bottom of a plate to squash each piece into a flat disk. Slip this off with a knife if it sticks to the board. Return to hot oil and fry again until golden, then drain on a cloth or towel. Sprinkle with sea salt to serve.

Thursday 6 April 2017

Herbie Goes To Town at Windmill!

What a fantastic day at Windmill Community Gardens! We made the most of the lovely weather and had 28 volunteers and visitors on site!

The aims for the day were to enjoy the sunshine, finish clearing all the herb beds to get rid of the weeds and the dreaded horse-radish, work with Sarah from Bio Opal to do a survey of Windmill's worm population and the pH of our soil and to enjoy some good food to go with the good company. We even had music supplied by Ray with a little help from Trevor.

We got a huge amount done. Thanks to everyone for their hard work, especially Nature in Mind, Rosco and Michael for doing such great work on the revamped herb beds and the new annual wildflower bed. And we have to applaud the amazing Mo for arriving with a pushchair full of goodies for lunch. Wonderful!

Getting the herbs planted

Sarah helping Rosco to survey our soil fauna

Even the garlic was looking gorgeous in the sunlight

The water buttercup standing guard over the tadpoles

Pear blossom has coped with the low night temperatures

We reckon our friends here from Nature in Mind look like a
rock group in this one. Herbie & the Herbalists maybe?