Big Dig 2016

Despite the changeable weather, fifteen of us were at the garden this afternoon for this year’s Big Dig.

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We managed the first four of the seven tasks on the notice board, but also had time to sit round the fire and chat

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I was asked for the recipe for the oat and blackberry flapjacks I brought. Its based on one on the Carnation website, but omits the extra sugar – its sweet enough!

Ingredients:

350 g softened butter or similar (I used Yeo Valley spreadable)
350 g condensed milk (this stuff is 50% sugar)
300 g porridge oats
200 g wholemeal self-raising flour
100 g blackberries (I used ones picked at the garden last autumn & frozen. You can substitute other berries, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, or whatever comes to hand)

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 180deg
  2. Cream the butter and condensed milk together (tip: weigh the condensed milk into the bowl)
  3. Mix in the other ingredients thoroughly.
  4. Using two spoons, scoop 4cm diameter blobs of the mixture onto a baking tray, keeping well separated. You should get about two dozen.
  5. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until they’re begining to brown. They will have spread into each other.
  6. Allow to cool on the tray and firm up before removing with a palette knife.

 

 

 

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Wassailing

More than forty people joined us for our third annual wassailing in the orchard area, with Sue’s apple cake, some cider made from fruit from the tree on the allotment boundary with Waterworks Road and other refreshments ably overseen by Amanda

The Petersfield Community Choir joined us again to sing a number of traditional wassailing songs.

Emily and Keith then gave a practical demonstration of pruning our apple trees, cutting out damaged wood and crossing branches, and trying to encourage an ideal goblet shape.

So here’s to our next growing season.

Brownies

Brownies roasting sweet corn
Brownies roasting sweet corn

Sheet Brownies have visited us again. On Tuesday 29 September they harvested some of the sweetcorn they planted earlier this year, and roasted the cobs over a fire in the fire pit. They’re planning some other visits, including some star gazing later in the year when its clear

Stall at Lavant Street Market

We had a stall at the Lavant Street market on Sunday 4th, selling books and some produce to fund-raise,  and talk about the garden. A sunny day led to a steady stream of visitors.

Lynn R & Diana on the stall in the morning
Lynn R & Diana on the stall in the morning
Kindling and herbs
Kindling and herbs
Lynn P & Bruce on stall lunchtime
Lynn P & Bruce on stall lunchtime
Guess the weight of the pumpkin
Guess the weight of the pumpkin

We raised £110.30, and twenty people tried their luck at guessing the weight of one of our pumpkins. It weighed 3.945 kg (8lb 11oz): the nearest guess was 3.6 kg and the winner will receive their prize  – the pumpkin – in the next few days

Willow workshop, Sunday 19 April

On Sunday, a dozen of us came to a willow workshop led by Hilary of Hangers Garden Group. She brought hazel boughs, home grown willow, and commercially grown willow wands from Somerset for us to use.

Hilary demonstrating basic techniques

Commercially grown willow bundle, left, and home-grown right

At this time of year, the wands are very pliable, and can be made more so by working them between your thumbs. The basic building block is a hoop made by curving a wand back on itself and then winding the end round and round. This can then be used to stabilise hazel rods, and the whole strengthened by weaving more wands between the rods

Trying out what we've been told
Trying out what we’ve been told
with flatter hoops
with flatter hoops
adding more willow wands to give strength
adding more willow wands to give strength
Briony makes a willow ball by combining hoops
Briony makes a willow ball by combining hoops
Sue & Lynn weaving a bean support near the gate
Sue & Lynn weaving a bean support near the gate

 

 

 

 

 

By the end of the afternoon we had a number of willow structures for future use

Big Dig 2015

On Saturday 21 March, we took part in Big Dig 2015. On a  cold grey day we had a steady stream of visitors and made a start on some key garden projects with their help.

putting well rotted horse manure round the gooseberries to feed them and suppress weeds
putting well rotted horse manure round the gooseberries to feed them and suppress weeds

Potato planting 2

and adding rotted horse manure as a mulch
and adding rotted horse manure as a mulch
Turing over an extra strip of turf to make room for growth
Turing over an extra strip of turf to make room for growth
Sue shows a girl how to plant seed potatoes
Sue shows a girl how to plant seed potatoes
Old and new gardeners gathering at the start of the Big Dig
Old and new gardeners gathering at the start of the Big Dig