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.

 

 

 

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

Garden planning

On 16 November we had a edible garden afternoon, sharing food with ingredients from the garden, and hearing about Emily and Camilla’s long term suggestions for the overall plan of the garden.

Hot drinks on a cold day
Hot drinks on a cold day
Emily presenting plans to the group around the fire circle
Emily presenting plans to the group around the fire circle

The outline plan is on the ‘Design’page: the idea is that different people take the lead for coordinating the activities in the different zones. Read more about it here.