Author: SEAG

Spring 2021 at Shipley Woodside Community Garden

Spring has seen a flurry of activity at the Community Garden, sowing seeds, potting on plants, dividing perennials, painting wooden structures, turning the compost, mulching and making preparations for our first event ‘Greenfolk Festival’, which took place on the 29th May.

The Garden has changed dramatically visually with the completion of the Shedquarters build and the large Wildlife Pond.

Thanks to grants from Shipley Parish Council, Seven Trent Community Fund, Councillor Richard Iliffe and the generosity of Long Eaton Sheds Ltd we now have our ‘Shedquarters’ where we will be able to host talks, workshops and provide a shelter for a cuppa on those rainy volunteering days!

The Honeybees woke up from their winter slumber and got straight to work! They also now have their own beautiful little pond so they have a water source right next to the hive. Resident beekeeper, Keith has pretty much single handedly created the beautiful area for the bees and his knowledge and passion for beekeeping is infectious. If anyone is interested in learning about beekeeping be sure to pop in on a Saturday and have a chat to Keith.

Plans are underway to enable visitors to don a bee suit and enter the apiary with Keith to learn and experience hands on beekeeping.

Volunteers have been busy sowing vegetable seeds in the Raised Beds, native cowslips have been sown in the Wildflower Meadow, a cut flower bed has been started and planted with Sweet Peas, Zinnias, Dahlias, Cosmos, Lupins, Antirrhinum all grown by volunteers plus much more on the way! The Polytunnel is now full of vegetables and strawberries and a newly planted grapevine, which seems to love its new home. We have even had our first harvest of radishes!

The remaining raised beds have been adopted as have some donated tyres and all planted with a variety of vegetables and herbs.

Great examples of companion planting shown in the pictures below with the ‘three sisters’ in the tractor tyre and tomatoes and basil in the polytunnel. Companion planting is an organic way of protecting crops from pests and / or improving pollination of crops.

The three sisters guild is corn, beans and squash and is one of the oldest known methods of companion planting, utilised by the Native Americans over 3000 years ago. The corn offers the beans support, the beans pull nitrogen from the air and bring it to the soil to benefit all three crops and the large leaves of the squash protect the threesome by providing shade to the soil, keeping it cool and moist and preventing weeds.

Basil repels insects, enhances flavour and improves the growth of tomatoes.

Thanks to funding from Severn Trent Water Community Fund we now have a huge wildlife pond!

Spring 2021 at Shipley Woodside Community Garden - SEAG - Shipley Eco-Action Group

Some very kind men working in Ilkeston, far away from home, visited the garden, loved it and offered to come and dig the pond for us with the digger. Aren’t people just lovely! Volunteers were very grateful as just working on the finishing touches to make the different depths and shelves was challenging enough, especially in the wet sticky clay!

Over a couple of sessions, we completed the shelves, underlay and liner was laid down, the edging completed, pebbles and stones added to the beach area, landscaping and planting of the pond edging and banks, which included shifting some huge rocks donated by Waystone working on the Shipley Lakeside housing development. Lots of tall grasses have been planted in the bank and many more plants are to follow. The vision is to create a beautiful wildlife friendly habitat both in and around the pond.

Thanks to funding from Wash Arts CIC an arts organisation working to improve access to arts in Erewash and surrounding areas, we have carefully selected and sourced native pond plants to encourage a wide variety of wildlife. These will soon be ready for collection and planting.

Look out for our news with dates for summer pond-dipping.

The children’s natural play area took shape, with the completion of the mud kitchen, musical stand and the whole area mulched. There is more work to do on this but already, this proved a big hit with the kids at the Greenfolk Festival on the 29th May.

It is entirely down to volunteer Mick’s design and hard work that the Garden now has a fabulous firepit area, complete with seating and a wood store.

SEAG have teamed up with The Elka Project, a community archaeology based project inviting people to join in the excavations of some newly discovered ancient sites in Ilkeston. We have offered some land at the Garden to experiment with the clay extracted from the ground. This will then be put through a number of processes to achieve different qualities of malleable clay and from that, we can put it to the test by making Adobe kilns, Roman kilns, Bloom furnaces, Bread ovens, Pottery/Ceramics and Wattle and Daub, all done in the ancient ways and using the clay we have on site with no need for electricity or gas.

Tim Bennett heads up The Elka Project and has already got started on the first experiment by making an Adobe kiln, which is used for pottery and used the the clay extracted from the pond dig. We look forward to seeing how this experiment goes and trying out other techniques, the ultimate goal has to be a bread oven, mmmm!

The 29th May 2021 was a milestone for the Community Garden and a special day for all the volunteers as we held our first event. This was a long time in the planning having not been able to hold any events before now due to you know what! The sun came out for us, all the volunteers, musicians and stalls were on form, we had a fantastic turn out and really positive feedback. We honestly couldn’t have hoped for a better day. Seeing the garden being used and enjoyed by the community was heart warming and made all that planning and hard work worthwhile.

We also managed to raise an unbelievable £1,850.00 towards our next project for the garden, the barn workshop. Thank you so much to all those that attended, those that made a contribution to this figure and to all those volunteers and supporters of the garden that contributed and helped make the event happen, including the musicians Sensible Shoes and Blue Kettle Ceilidh Band, Derby Lodge Tea Rooms in Shipley Country Park, Shipley WI, Weleda, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and Derby Kids Camp.

We look forward to seeing you all again and meeting new faces at our next event on the 20th June 2021.

Finally, a lovely Spring Poem to conclude our Newsletter.

Winter at Shipley Woodside Community Garden

Winter at Shipley Woodside Community Garden - SEAG - Shipley Eco-Action Group

The polytunnel has proven to be a real asset this winter at the Garden. Volunteers have made raised beds, potting benches and staging ready for the growing season as well as providing shelter for donated furniture and soggy gardeners!

The bee project is buzzing into action with willow screen planting and a shed base being prepared to receive the storage shed.

Volunteers have been busy creating more raised beds. Thanks to funding from the People’s Postcode Trust we now have 3 more wheelchair height raised beds.

The tractor tyres proved such a growing success last year, we have turned two more into growing beds.

We used the Hugelkultur method for the beds last year and we couldn’t have been more chuffed with the way they turned out. Everything grew really well, with very little watering required. We have used the same method for the new beds, using up the piles of branches and logs, cardboard, newspaper and organic material we have been collecting.

This time, we remembered to take pictures of the process and have put together a specific page with information about Hugelkultur and guide you can download here.

Ideas for the children’s natural play area are coming together with the build of the mud kitchen started. Logs have been put in place in the Food Forest as seating for what will be a firepit.

Thanks to Kev Whitehead, neighbour to the Garden, we now have an amazing owl box. Not only did Kev design and build this beautiful box, he spent the best part of the afternoon hanging from the pole fitting it! Kev was helped by a amazing team of volunteers in the late February sunshine. Now we just have to wait and see what we get in the box!

March is a very exciting month as the wildlife pond will be created. We have taken delivery of the butyl liner and underlay. Rockery stone has been collected ready for use and native pond plants have been researched ready for purchase.  The pond will be a fantastic addition to the garden and will have different levels and plants to make it as wildlife friendly as possible.

After much discussion and negotiations Shed Quarters PHASE 1 has been purchased and March will see the arrival of our most ambitious project yet. Following the hard work of successful grants, donations and fund raising, our Shed Quarters is a summerhouse 30 x 14 ft, complete with double glazed opening windows, pitched roof with plans to insulate and clad the inside including a log burning stove.

Finally, volunteers are hard at work organising and planning for our first Greenman Festival following COVID-19 restrictions being eased. We will share more details very soon.

Vegetable Korma

plant based vegan recipe korma

Vegetable Korma

A lightly spiced dish using vegetables and coconut milk. Ideal for cooking with seasonal vegetables – you select which to include.
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 people


  • Large saucepan


  • 500 grams mixed prepared vegetables cut into chunks
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 cm root ginger, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon chilli
  • `1 lemon
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • cashew nuts
  • 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 400g tin coconut milk or cream
  • 2 tablespoon sultanas
  • salt and pepper


  • Fry the onion, garlic and ginger gently until soft
  • Add the spices and fry for 2 minutes, stirring
  • Stir in the vegetables and chopped tomatoes
  • Add a teaspoon of lemon rind and lemon juice and crumble vegetable stock cube
  • Cover and simmer for 30 minutes until the vegetables are just tender; add water if needed
  • Stir in half a tin of coconut milk, and add more if desired
  • Stir in the cashew nuts and season with salt and pepper
  • Top with sultanas


If using reduced fat coconut milk, recommend using half a tin if you wish to keep a thicker sauce consistency.
Keyword Plant based
Categories: Recipes

Shepherdess Pie

plant based vegan recipe shepherdess pie

Shepherdess Pie

A vegetable and lentil base topped with potato and parsnip
Prep Time 5 hrs
Cook Time 1 hr
Soaking lentils 4 hrs
Course Main Course


  • 2 saucepans
  • Frying pan
  • shallow ovenproof dish


  • 700 grams potatoes or a combination of potato and parsnip
  • 100 grams continental lentils (green or red can be used) soaked for over 4 hours or used tinned lentils
  • vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 onion peeled and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • 1 large carrot cleaned and diced
  • 100 grams mushrooms chopped
  • other ingredients of your choice eg peas or celery
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon dried herbs such as thyme and marjoram
  • 300 mls vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper
  • 700 grams potato or a combination of potato and parsnip
  • plant based margarine/spread


  • Simmer the soaked lentils in water until tender and drain off the liquid. If using tinned lentils, follow instructions on tin
  • Peel the potatoes, cut into pieces and boil until cooked
  • Fry the onion and garlic until soft
  • Add the carrots and fry for 2 minutes then add other vegetables
  • Stir in the lentils, tomato puree, herbs and seasoning
  • Add sufficient vegetable stock for the mixture to be moist but not too wet
  • Set oven to 200C/fan oven 180C/gas mark 6
  • Mash the potato (and parsnip if using) with plant based margarine; season to taste
  • Spoon the lentil and vegetable mixture into a shallow ovenproof dish
  • Cover with the mashed potato/potato and parsnip
  • Bake in the oven for 30 – 40 minutes until golden brown at 200C/180C fan/gas mark 6


For a creamier mash topping, add a splash of plant-based cream or milk alternative. 
Keyword Plant based
Categories: Recipes

Vegan Chickpea Curry

Vegan Chickpea Curry - SEAG - Shipley Eco-Action Group

Chickpea curry

Quick crowd pleaser and excellent for freezing
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Servings 4


  • Large saucepan


  • 1 Red onion Diced
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 Red pepper
  • 150 g Cauliflower Cut into small florets
  • 140 g Peas
  • 2 400g Cans of chickpeas Drained and rinsed
  • 1 400g Can of coconut milk Use full fat for a creamier taste
  • 1 400g Can of chopped tomatoes
  • 100 ml Water
  • 4 tbsp Tikka masala paste
  • Fresh coriander leaves For garnish
  • Salt and pepper For seasoning
  • 280 g Rice Any rice of your choosing
  • 4 tbsp Vegan yoghurt or whipped coconut cream Optional for topping
  • 1 Avocado, sliced Optional for topping


  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan
  • Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, until softened
  • Cook rice according to packet instructions
  • Add the peppers and season with salt and pepper. Cook for a further 2 minutes
  • Add the cauliflower and tikka masala paste, stir and cook for a further minute
  • Add the chickpeas, tomatoes and peas, stir well and add the water and half the can of coconut milk
  • Stir well, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer or 15 minutes
  • Pour in the remaining coconut milk and cook for a further 5 minutes
  • Serve and top with fresh coriander, avocado and yogurt (if using) and serve with rice


If using reduced fat coconut milk, try not adding the water at step 6 if you want a thicker sauce. 
Keyword Plant based
Categories: Recipes

Plant-based Mushroom Risotto

Plant-based Mushroom Risotto - SEAG - Shipley Eco-Action Group

Mushroom Risotto

Simple and delicious risotto
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4


  • Large saucepan
  • Measuring jug


  • 150g Chestnut mushrooms Thickly sliced
  • 200g Any other type of mushroom Thickly sliced
  • 1 Small onion Finely chopped
  • 2 Garlic cloves Finely chopped
  • 350 g Arborio risotto rice
  • 1 litre Vegetable stock
  • 200 ml Vegan white wine
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 20 g Vegan butter or margarine
  • 1 tbsp Dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp Parsley leaves Finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp Nutritional yeast
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning


  • Heat oil in a large saucepan
  • Add the onion, cook for 5 minutes until softened
  • Add the garlic and thyme, cook for a further 2 minutes
  • Add all the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper, cook for a further 2 minutes
  • Add the rice, then pour in the wine and give it a good stir
  • Let the wine evaporate and then add a quarter of the stock, stirring frequently until liquid absorbed
  • Repeat until stock all gone
  • You know it is cooked when it has a creamy texture
  • Now add the nutritional yeast and butter/margarine and give it a good stir
  • Top with fresh parsley and serve immediately
Keyword Plant based
Categories: Recipes

December 2020 at the Community Garden

As we come to the end of the year, we look back at the progress made on the Garden and are immensely proud of what has been achieved by all of our members and volunteers. The feedback and support from the community has been incredible and means so much to us all.

We look forward to the time when COVID restrictions are not necessary and the Garden is more accessible to everyone that wants to visit or volunteer. There are so many exciting projects happening at the Garden in 2021 and the addition of a large shed will provide us with the space and shelter to hold workshops and talks on a wide range of topics. It will also be a space to just sit and have a cuppa with friends!

So from all of us …

Volunteers have been putting their crafting skills to good use this month making wreaths, wooden Christmas trees and attempting to make the polytunnel look festive!

The Honey Bees are coming!

Keith Stevenson, Chairman of Shipley Parish Council has been an avid beekeeper for many years and will be introducing the beautiful bees to the garden in Spring next year. Keith had this to say:

The location for two National hives is being carefully chosen, giving consideration to neighbours, as well as providing a suitable and safe area with sun/shade balance, that the bees will comfortably enjoy.

There will be access control into the hive site, which is important, in order to create an environment that is safe for the bees, provides protection from inquisitive animals, and yet allows people to view the bees going about their business of gathering pollen and nectar.

Consideration is also being given to the bees flight path, and the natural existing hedgerow screening will be used, soo that when the bees leave the hive, they will fly up quickly above head height, where they will not be a nuisance.

A secure storage area, for spare hive parts, as well as a safe viewing area is to be created near to the hive site for visitors to quietly enjoy watching these marvellous bees.

Honey bees are wonderful pollinators, and when they are foraging, they are not defensive. They just want to get on with the job of pollination and nectar collecting.

In 2021, I will be concentrating on establishing the bee colony on their new site. There will be regular beekeeping visits throughout the year, as well as the chance for people to get up close to the bees and get an understanding of how they work.

The area has all been planned out with Keith’s expert input and he has been hard at work preparing the area.

The doors on the polytunnel have now been installed, staging is all repaired, painted and built along one side and some seeds have already been sown! We are now ready to make the beds on the opposite side.

We have purchased four more IBC’s and placed them next to the pond site ready for us to use the harvested rainwater to fill the pond, when this is built in early Spring.

November 2020 at the Community Garden

This month has seen the ground cleared and prepared ready for more raised beds to be made. One of our volunteers has kindly donated a real Christmas Tree and volunteers have been digging a huge hole, which will hold an IBC to collect the rainwater run off from the polytunnel.

Planting and extending the Food Forest continues. This is really starting to fill out now but still plenty more to be done!

As we head towards winter, our attention has turned to planning for next year, including building the wildlife pond, shelter, developing the children’s natural play area, building more raised beds, plus much more.

Volunteers were busy crafting, making poppies and poppy wreaths we displayed on the entrance gates and in the notice board, in support of Rememberance Sunday and Armistice Day earlier this month.

Rum Truffles

Rum Truffles - SEAG - Shipley Eco-Action Group

Rum Truffles

A chocolate treat for sharing or giving as a gift
Prep Time 1 hr
Course Snack
Servings 16


  • Bowl
  • saucepan
  • Sweet cases


  • 100 grams plain chocolate or vegan chocolate
  • 1-2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 40 grams butter or plant based spread
  • 50 grams icing sugar
  • 50 grams ground almonds
  • rum or rum essence
  • 2-4 tablespoons plain chocolate strands or vegan chocolate


  • Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of water on the cooker. Or melt it in the microwave but take care not to overcook it or it will go 'grainy'.
  • Stir in the butter or plant based spread and the orange juice. Wait until the fat has melted into the chocolate.
  • Sieve the icing sugar and stir into the chocolate.
  • Stir in the almonds.
  • Add rum or rum essence to taste.
  • Leave in the fridge until firm enough to handle.
  • Roll into 16 balls, and cover with chocolate strands or icing sugar.
  • Place the balls into sweet cases.


To coat the balls in chocolate strands, tip 2 tablespoons of the strands into a shallow bowl and roll the balls about until they are covered.
Use the same method to coat in icing sugar.
Keyword Plant based

Categories: Recipes

Gingerbread Biscuits

Gingerbread Biscuits - SEAG - Shipley Eco-Action Group

Gingerbread biscuits

Gingerbread men are usually made but you can choose other cutter shapes for these biscuits. Ideal for children to make and have fun decorating!
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Snack


  • Bowl
  • Baking trays
  • Cooling rack


  • 350 grams plain flour
  • 2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 100 grams butter or plant based spread
  • 175 grams soft brown sugar
  • 1 egg (or flaxseed and water as egg substitute)
  • 4 tablespoons golden syrup
  • currants
  • icing


  • For vegan option, mix the flaxseed with water and set aside.
  • Pour the flour into a bowl. Stir in the ginger and bicarbonate of soda.
  • Add the butter/plant based spread and rub into the flour mixture.
  • Stir in the sugar.
  • Beat the egg and syrup together and add to the mixture or add flaxseed mixture.
  • Knead everything together to make a stiff dough.
  • Roll out to 0.5cm thick and cut out shapes with the biscuit cutter.
  • Place the biscuits onto greased baking trays spaced apart as they will spread when cooking.
  • Decorate with currants.
  • Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown at 190C/fan oven 170C/gas mark 5.
  • Leave on the tray for 3 minutes before moving gently to a cooling tray.
  • When cool they can be iced.
Keyword Little Cooks, Plant based
Categories: Recipes
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