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Spreading the organic growing message…..

I have lots of visitors to my allotment, some want to come and share tea and biscuits with me in my shed, some laze in deckchairs, some swap allotment tips while others stay for longer and cultivate their own area for growing (oh and a few visit in the night but that’s OK too!)

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Forward Footing on Allotment 17b

On Monday 24 August I hosted a Wellbeing funded art project on my allotment! I was pleased that several members of Dementia Support South Lincolnshire attended, along with several others. We made creative interventions to make us look more closely at the local landscape and had a wonderful picnic.
Forward Footing on Allotment 17b

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Lincolnshire Master Gardeners at Big Boston Festival

Lincolnshire Master Gardeners at Big Boston Festival

I was asked to make some creative interventions for the BBG festival site for the weekend of 4/5 July and also provide some activities on the day….I asked MG Tracy of Boston if she’d like to join our marquee for the Saturday; so pleased she was able to make it.

Here she is enthusing about recycling, organic gardening and Lincolnshire Master Gardeners. We had a great time, met lots of lovely people and listened to some amazing bands.

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Allotment 17b

Allotment 17b

I keep an allotment blog and write a regular column for Spalding Free Press and Guardian.

You can check out both here https://theshed1.wordpress.com/my-art-horticulture-monthly-allotment-column-for-lincs-free-press/, there’s even a mention of Garden Organic Master Gardener induction day at Hill Holt Wood!

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Jam Making!

Jam Making!

It seems to be a bumper year for fruit; I’ve never had such a large crop of strawberries, gooseberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants on my allotment.

I love jam making and it’s a great way to make sure you can get the taste of summer in the middle of winter…..and of course it’s great to give pots away to friends and family!

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Allotment Blog

I keep my blog up to date with growing and creative activities – why not pop over and take a look at what I’ve been up to here https://theshed1.wordpress.com/. My plot of heritage Lincolnshire woad plants are thriving and have set seed – I’m checking every day as I don’t want the wind to spread them across the site, I wouldn’t be popular!

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Lincolnshire Show 2015 – getting ready!

Lincolnshire Show 2015 – getting ready!

We’re getting ready – we’ve made 77 paper pots and put some Heritage Seed Library seeds in them – Why? I hear you ask – well, time will tell…

Are you going this year?

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Park Avenue Community Garden

Hi, I am the project officer for a Community garden at Park Ave Louth which has been funded by the Peoples Health Trust and Groundwork Lincolnshire.

The Project has been running for a year and we have just started our second year. The first year was good but we really want to ramp it up this year and get more local residents involved.
With the help of Lincolnshire Master Gardener Coordinator Rick Aron, we are holding an open morning at the Park Avenue Community Centre on 9th March.

This is my first open morning and would like some pointers please. We will be providing a free welcome pack, tea coffee, biscuits and providing a tour of the garden and hopefully some demos. What we want from this session is residents getting involved and eventually taking the garden over by Nov 2015.

You can like/follow us on FB Louth Park ave community garden and twitter @LouthYcgarden.

I am a little nervous about it all and would like to know if anyone has any pointers please. Most if not all of our targets are older generation and families. The Youth are catered for and have been great, we have had numerous groups being involved and also some locals but it’s more locals that we want.

I can be mailed at garden@groundwork.org.uk or david.higgs@rocketmail.com

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‘As fresh as you’d pick yourself or your money back’?

‘As fresh as if you’d picked it yourself or your money back’ Really? The hubris in this daft claim on my shopping bags makes me smile. This morning I pulled the last of the winter leeks, which will go in a big pot with the tail end of the potato crop for a hearty, warming soup.

I find it hard to see how Mr T, as we call him in our house, could produce leeks fresher than that; blue-bloomed, alium scented, cold to the touch with tiny claret earthworms wriggling among the earthy roots.

Our chickens are excavating the gooseberry bed and making a tasty meal of the sawfly larvae that are inevitably overwintering there. This morning’s eggs are sitting in the rack and outside, against the kitchen wall, vivid green chives are ready for snipping into tomorrow’s egg sandwiches.

The warm winter means that the parsley is still producing, and tiny bucklers of sorrel are appearing under the fennel fronds. It may be early in the year but there’s still plenty to challenge the big supermarket’s hubris.

In the greenhouse the brassicas and leeks are well away and the french tarragon has suddenly taken off. Tiny green explosions have erupted along bare branches of currant and berry and all along the windowsills I can almost see the tiny shoots of tomato, chilli and basil reaching for the sun.

Give these tiny scraps of life a few months and we’ll be eating straight from the vine. Can you really match that Mr T?

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Time Travelling with a new Quince Tree

A blur of green and yellow reflects across the kitchen window and I turn to see a delivery lorry pulling up outside. The bewildered looking driver carries a peculiar package up the garden path; a long, floppy, Worzel Gummidge shaped plastic bag, stuffed with straw and belted in with orange binder twine. Realising what it must be I jump with excitement and hurry to the door.

Unwrapping my parcel on the sodden lawn I reveal a long dreamed of quince tree. Every year I hunt out these glorious fruits in farm shops and neighbours’ gardens but there is never enough to satisfy my family’s craving for their exotic fragrance. This winter I have finally identified a corner in our overstuffed and strangely shaped garden where I can shoehorn in a small tree.

This specimen has come from a nursery on the Isle of Wight, home of my Grandmother and magical setting for many a summer holiday. I picture my frail looking sapling sailing over the Solent on the Red Funnel Ferry, bringing with it vivid sensory memories of sea spray, deep booming foghorns and a garden overflowing with plums, apples and raspberries. I can feel the sticky blackberry fingers as my sisters and I plunder the hedgerows of the field beyond Granny’s garden where the temperamental donkey, Zebedee, waits to nip an unwary bottom.

Piggling at the knots in the binder twine I smile at the memories it conjours up of childhood walks at home. Mum would gather this common adornment of 1970s hedgerows to make harnesses for kindling branches, which we dragged home, always uphill, to light our winter fires.

The ground is a sodden mass of clay as I dig a large hole in one corner of the herb bed, setting aside the sprouting tulip and crocus bulbs lurking just beneath the surface of this cold, damp January day. My chickens cluck excitedly, picking at the straw as I unwrap my precious bundle; an unpromising stick with a fringe of roots, tangled in residual compost. In my mind these fragile, reddish twigs burst into leaf and pale blossoms buzz with bees before swelling into golden fruit, all in a matter of seconds. I can taste the roses in pots of ruby red quince jelly, dribbling through the melted butter in our Sunday pancakes, smell their fragrant sweetness stewing in my slow cooker.

I carefully firm my disturbed crocus shoots back into the earth around this twiggy promise of things to come, this tree of Aphrodite, source of Paris’ golden apple. The delivery man is miles away by now and can have no idea how his strange parcel has transported me far from the cold depths of January backwards and forwards in time to remembered and anticipated gardens where it is always summer.

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