On the 16th April, the Community Garden hosted a free family day including an Easter Egg hunt and craft activities for children. The weather couldn’t have been any better and it was a fantastic turnout. Volunteers had just as much as fun especially our Jude dressed up in the Bunny outfit – we love you Jude! Our thanks to Sainsburys and Warburtons for donations of garden pots and tea cakes for this event.
On the 5th March 2022 the Community Garden held our first Wildlife Family Fun Day. It was bitterly cold but that didn’t stop our hardiest of volunteers and visitors from braving the elements. It was an activity and educational day with children making creature houses, pine cone bird feeders, seed bombs, origami butterflies and more activities with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. Shedquarters had a lot of traffic thanks to the expertise of our volunteer Bob Deavin explaining and demonstrating all the pondlife identified in our wildlife pond and moths from the moth trap evening the night before.
We had some fantastic educational resources including stands from the Mid Derbyshire Badger Group and Russell’s Prickly Hedgehog Rescue raising awareness of and funds for their fantastic Charities.
We are once again very grateful to the Co-Op and Warburtons for their support with this event.
The UPS Foundation’s philanthropic approach centers on four focus areas: health & humanitarian relief, equity and economic empowerment, local engagement and planet protection. Owing to the volunteer hours put in at the Community Garden by Matthew Gayle, UPS employee as well as some of his colleagues and the Garden’s mission, we have received a significant grant from The UPS Foundation.
The monies will mean we can complete the next phase of the ‘Shedquarters’ build by insulating and cladding the interior and adding solar panels and/or a wind turbine to generate power. This will mean we can use the space all year round as an educational and community space.
We envisage hosting workshops, demonstrations and talks on a wide range of topics. It will also be our sales area for the quality crafts made by the volunteers, hold our smalll Honesty Library plus so much more.
Plans are already underway for this next phase and we can’t wait to get going!
We are delighted to announce that the Garden has been successfully chosen for the next round of the Co-op Local Community Fund which runs from 24 October 2021 until 22 October 2022.
If you are a Member with the Co-op, as well as collecting rewards from shopping with the Co-op, they also give the same amount to support community organisations and local causes in the Community Fund.
If you are not already a Member, it is easy to join. Just visit their website for more information.
You can see our own dedicated page for the Community Fund and read more about how funds will be used at the Community Garden here.
To celebrate the national Green Week, SEAG have hosted a series of events during the week 18 – 26 September 2021. We kicked off with a Beekeeping demonstration at the Community Garden, then on to a Community Litter Pick, Maintenance of Shipley Wood Entrance, Moonlight Walk in Shipley Woods and finished off with a Family Volunteer Day and Clothes Swap at the Community Garden.
It was a busy week for our volunteers but the events were so much fun to organise and be part of and they had a great turn out.
The walk in Shipley Woods was something quite special as it isn’t often that we walk through the Woods in the dark and if we do, probably not with the intention of stopping, listening and observing the nature around us. In a large group, this was a delightful, safe way of experiencing the Woods in the dark and we had a real mix of ages come out. We were also fortunate to hear the Tawny Owl throughout the walk and the bat detector picked up signs of bats.
The Beekeeping demonstration was popular as always. It is hard to describe what is so appealing about Honeybees – they really are fascinating and amazing creatures and we are so pleased to have hives at the Community Garden.
We held our first Clothes Swap in ‘Shedquarters’ at the Community Garden. People came with a maximum of 5 items of clothing and shoes, received tokens and swapped for something else. Anything left at the end was taken to local Charity Shops. Although we would have liked to have seen more people at this event, it was a great way to spend a couple of hours and there were lots of successful swaps. We will definitely be holding more of these in the Spring and Summer. They are a fantastic way of keeping clothes out of landfill and a fun way of changing your wardrobe up!
Our first attempt at a Cut Flower Bed. All the plants were grown from seed by our volunteers. We were a bit late in the season to decide to do this bed but the results have still been great and seeing all that colour and beautiful flowers can’t help but put a smile on your face. Volunteers have been able to enjoy making up their own bouquets and visitors for a small donation.
Water is a valuable resource and we continue to work on being as sustainable as possible by collecting and storing as much water as we can. Volunteers have been busy fitting guttering to Shedquarters which leads to an IBC ,ultimately there will be a series of these to collect a larger volume of water.
A large hole has been dug for an IBC to sit in the ground near the Polytunnel. Drainage was put in place at the side of the Polyunnel and this IBC will be able to collect rainwater from the cover. So we now have a dedicated IBC for the Polytunnel. No water will go to waste in this garden!
Lots of free rocks have been sourced to form the edge of the Wildlife Pond. Over time many more marginal plants will be added and the back of the bank planted with taller plants, which will create a densely planted, undisturbed area for wildlife, whilst also providing some privacy from the road.
We have been amazed at the wildlife the Pond has already attracted just with a few very young plants, but with the wider habitat around the Pond, it has been teeming with Damselflies, Dragonflies, Water Soldiers, Beetles plus much more and we even had a visiting Goose who seemed quite happy resting there all day!
Last Summer, Bridgford Drone Photography volunteered their time and expertise and took some footage of the Garden for us. One year on they returned and the changes are just incredible. Last year we were blown away by the images and how much had been achieved and this year even more so.
We now have our new colony of Honey Bees established, they are super calm and are doing exactly what they should be!
Our Beekeeper Keith Stevenson will periodically be giving talks on Beekeeping, with the next one coming up on the 18th September. You can find out more here if you are interested in coming along.
There is something about Honey Bees that just get to you, they really are fascinating creatures and his talks always prove very popular.
We had a brilliant social night for the volunteers making pizzas in the pizza ovens with some produce grown in the Garden. We are looking forward to many more of these socials!
Volunteers led by Tim Bennett of the Elka Project have started work on a Keyhole Compost Bed. This is a round raised bed with a pie-slice cutout for access to a composting basket in the center. The bed is filled with rocks, garden waste, decomposable plant material, and a thick layer of soil/compost on the top for planting. The center basket collects kitchen waste and other biodegradables. Watering into the basket disperses moisture and nutrients throughout the keyhole. These were originally designed for growing food in Southern Africa where droughts and poor soil conditions challenge farmers. This is because of its easy to reach design and it produces amazes results, allowing gardeners to build soil nutrition and reduce watering.
We harvested some Willow from the garden but were fortunate that a neighbour donated two large pots of established Willow which meant we had just enough to weave for the frame, which will ultimately be the wattle and daub walls. The next phase is to get very messy with the clay we are harvesting from the garden to finish the wattle and daub.
Jim Steele, Derbyshire Butterfly Conversation Officer updates on the progress of the Wildflower Meadow:
“The Wildflower Meadow has responded to treatment and there has been a significant step forward in its evolution this Summer. A sowing of supplemental, perennial, wildflower seeds last Autumn, and a good amount of Yellow or Hay Rattle, together with an additional, more modest extra amount in the Spring, seems to have done the trick and good variety of plants grew and flowered. These included Ox-eye Daisy, which usually dominates in the early years of a new meadow, as it did this year with the covering of white blooms in July, and Lesser Knapweed, Wild Carrot, Self-heal, and the various Fescue grasses. It is hoped the Yellow Rattle will ‘do its job’ and semi-parasitise the roots of adjacent grasses in an effort to control their vigour, allowing a more diverse range of wild plants to flourish within the meadow; the Rattle was patchy but took fairly well, and it has gone to seed which is hopefully good news for next year as the plant is an annual.
An increasing number of invertebrates have enjoyed the new habitat, including good numbers of Soldier Beetles, whilst I spotted at least four varieties of Bumble Bee and the Honey Bees from the adjacent hives have been helping themselves to the very local source of pollen and nectar! Butterflies have been a little scarce this Summer, but of note have been Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Large and Small Skipper, Large, Small and Green-veined White, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and my favourite, the diminutive Small Copper, all of which have been seen feeding from the meadow’s floral blooms.
The meadow needs to be cut before long and the cuttings or risings removed after the seeds and ‘creepy crawlies’ have settled, with the cuttings piled up off the meadow – such a grass pile is a valuable habitat in itself, sometimes even for the Grass Snake, a species that is present in the area. This cutting and rising removal is important in that gradually removes some of the nutrients absorbed from the soil by the growing plants, giving an opportunity for a broader range or variety of meadow plants to establish themselves, rather than the sward becoming dominated by the faster-growing, more robust species that are able to take advantage of a nutrient-rich soil – complementing the intended effect of the Yellow Rattle.
It can take some years for a wildflower meadow to become fully established and stable, and you don’t always get quite what you planned – we await next year’s growth with interest!”
And last but not least we say a special thanks to Derby Lodge Tea Rooms in Shipley Park for the their continued support and recent generous donation of a recycled plastic picnic bench.
There is plenty of work to be done in the Garden over the next couple of months and new volunteers are always welcomed. No need to commit to volunteering every week, just as and when you want to!
Summer Raw Vegetable Buddha Bowl
- 2 Large tomatoes, quartered Beefstake or Plum
- 2 Carrots, peeled and sliced lengthways
- 1 Small beetroot, cooked and thinly sliced
- 1 Spring onion, finely diced
- 1 Red pepper, sliced lengthways Add yellow, green, orange peppers if you wish
- 2 Radish, thinly sliced
- 1 handful Red cabbage, shredded
- 1 handful Spinach
- 1 handful Small Broccoli florets
- 1 Avocado, quartered (optional)
- 1 handful Basil or Coriander for garnish (your choice)
- Simply prepare the vegetables and arrange on the plate.
- Add any dressing of your liking.
- Food processor
- Large frying pan
- large bowl
- 1 Onion
- 2 Garlic cloves
- 250 g Silken Tofu
- 100 g Fresh Beetroot (cooked)
- 400 g Black Beans
- 1 tbsp Tomato Puree
- 100 g Plain White Flour
- 2 tbsp Flaxseed
- 250 g Brown Rice (cooked)
- 200 g Chestnut Mushrooms
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil
- Finely chop the onion and garlic.
- Heat 1 tbsp of oil in the large frying pan, add the onion and fry for 10 minutes until soft.
- Add the garlic and fry for 1 more minute. Add the mixture to a large bowl.
- Put the mushrooms in the food processor and pulse until they also resemble rice. Heat the remaining oil in the pan, add the mushrooms and fry for 10-15 mins, until any liquid that’s released has evaporated and the mushrooms are tender. Tip into the bowl with the onions.
- Heat the remaining oil in the pan, add the mushrooms and fry on low heat for 10 minutes, until any liquid has evaporated. Then add to the bowl with the onions and garlic.
- Put the tofu, beetroot, beans, tomato purée, flour and flaxseed in the food processor with and blitz until smooth. Scrape into the bowl.
- Add the rice to the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add to the bowl.
- Now the fun bit, use your hands to shape the mixture into patties roughly the same size as your burger buns.
- Place the patties in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
- Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and brush both sides of the patties with a little oil. Cook for 5-8 mins on each side, turning once after a crust has formed and hot through to the centre.
- Build your burger with your favourite sauce and toppings.
Green Bean Salad
- Large Saucepan or pressure cooker
- 800 g Fresh green beans
- 6 tbsp Olive oil
- 4 Large Tomatoes i.e Plum, Beefsteak
- 1 White onion
- 2 cloves Garlic
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Sugar
- Wash and trim the Green Beans
- Finely dice the onion and add to pan
- Chop tomatoes into small cubes and add to pan
- Cut Green Beans in half and then lengthways and add to pan
- Add salt, sugar, garlic and olive oil to the pan
- Give pan a gentle shake, do not stir and cook for 20 – 30 minutes until Green Beans are soft.
- Allow to cool and serve