Join us to plant up and maintain the Edible Cutteslowe bed in Cutteslowe Park. Every Monday, starting next Monday 9 May, we’ll be working at the bed from 2.30-3.30pm. It would be fantastic to have some volunteers to help – and you can come just once for part of an hour, or every week if you have the time.
If you would like to come, please email email@example.com by Sunday evening (the day before) so that Tenika and Clare can plan.
Hoping to see you out at the veg bed sometime soon! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions!
Last week, we planted herb seeds with members of the Cutteslowe Community Larder. It was a fun day! People could choose from parsley, coriander or basil.
Tenika and Hilary had a great time sowing the seeds with people, and children loved joining in too. There was a real buzz.
If you haven’t already started, now is the perfect time to start sowing seeds at home. Once the last threat of frost is past, you can start planting carrots, rocket, lettuce and other crops outside. And there are plenty of veg that you can start off indoors now – including tomatoes, cucumbers, courgettes, kale and broccoli. Looking forward to seeing what we all grow this year!
30 March – Plant Your Own Seedlings at Cutteslowe Community Larder, 2-4pm at the Cutteslowe Community Centre. If you’re a member of the larder, come along and plant some seeds for free. You’ll be able to take them home and enjoy the produce when it comes up!
24 April – Working Party and Picnic at the Cutteslowe Community Orchard, 11-2pm. More information to come soon, but we’ll be doing some work to the orchard space and then enjoy a lunch together. Children and adults welcome, and bring your own picnic!
Our bed in the park may seem dormant in these short cold days, but look more closely and you’ll see there are still things going on! Those little clumps that look a bit like grass but not quite? – Banana shallots getting going! Sturdy little green shoots in a suspiciously regular arrangement? – Broad beans sprouting! Lots of tiny little green seedlings with maybe a couple of feathery leaves? Salad mustards making their way through the winter and preparing for spring!
While it’s grey and cold and damp outside you might feel more like staying inside in the warm than getting outside. And while a bit of fresh air, especially on a sunny day can do wonders, there are ways to keep gardening indoors. Now is a good time for sowing seeds on the windowsill – but hold off on the tomatoes etc a little longer unless you have a nice warm greenhouse to move them on to. Herbs are a good option, or some salad leaves. Writing their names in cress seeds on a bit of kitchen towel and watching them grow is a classic kids activity to enjoy at this time of year.
Our Edible Bed in Cutteslowe Park may look very empty now and indeed covered in a blanket of snow today, but underneath the soil, things are happening! We have planted banana shallots, and broad beans, and scattered mustard seeds in hope of an early leafy crop. The shallots were planted by a client from the Garden Project who as she is a little unsteady on her feet, used a long tube to shoot them down into holes we made in the soil. Each single shallot planted should grow into a little clump of them by next summer.
You can see the overwinter broad beans laid out in our pic, ready for sinking into the soil. Aquadulce Claudia is a good variety for autumn planting as it’s the most cold hardy available. Other types need to wait until spring.
Sage and Red Russian kale will be there for picking over the winter, although the current cold snap will slow growth right down for a while.
Join us for this evening on 21st October to hear from Rachel Hammond who has loads of experience with edible gardening projects. We’ll have an opportunity to learn from her, asks questions and discuss in breakout rooms how we can develop edible growing – and build community in the process – in our local areas.
Email us at email@example.com to register for the talk. We’ll send those who register a Zoom link nearer the time.
Nestled between the Allotments and the Community Woodland in Cutteslowe is a half-acre plot of land that is in the process of becoming an orchard, created and cared for by the local community.
Soon after the plan for the orchard was announced in March this year, practical and financial support started to flood in (including the National Lottery). Additional interest and support also started to come from the Cutteslowe Community Partnership and local businesses. We currently have an informal group of around 80 people who are interested to be kept in touch via the Next Door neighbourhood app and a Facebook page. Our work events have been great times of meeting neighbours and new faces from around Cutteslowe, with over 40 people taking part so far.
Ian Sheppard, who many know from the Allotment Society, and Michael Huth have been leading this project and want to invite more people in the community to take an active part. Ian has many years experience in horticulture and parks management. Michael is currently studying for a Permaculture Design Certificate and has just started his studies for a Certificate in Community Orcharding. Both of them are happy to have a chat and explain more about the Orchard.
An Orchard Design and Planning day, lead by the Heritage Fruit Tree Co, was followed by lots more activity: rubbish clearing, levelling, weeding, planting of peripheral trees. Unfortunately, the promised wildflower meadow has not materialise due to the poor soil conditions, which, if untreated, would give the trees a bad start. Instead of the wildflowers we decided to work on the soil by aerating it and feeding it with manure. This will however not put back the planting schedule later on this year.
We have placed an order for an initial 42 mixed fruit trees, mainly heritage varieties. We are planning to have several stages for creating this orchard and our vision is to make it ‘multi-functional’. This means we will plant a variety of heritage fruit trees first. This will be followed by fruiting shrubs and edible hedgerows. At a later stage we are also looking at establishing a small Forest Garden area (an ‘edible forest’ or foraging area). Most importantly we want to allow a whole natural system with new wildlife habitats to establish itself.
It also means there will be other uses of the orchard to educate and create communal learning experiences for young and old. There will be several ‘yields’ throughout the year.
A more formal Orchard Group might get established at some stage. In the meantime, please like us on Facebook or join our informal Group on the Next Door app.
It has been great to see the bed in Cutteslowe Park growing so well over the last few weeks. Passers-by have also started foraging, with the herbs and chard being especially popular! Do come along and check it out for yourself. The beds outside the school and community centre are also looking really colourful. We’d love to see pictures of your own produce growing at home so please do send any photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy harvesting!
What an exciting time we have had at Cutteslowe Primary School, planting, waiting and watching the seeds we planted grow into yummy treats in our amazing Edible Cutteslowe raised bed. Families are eating strawberries and peas at the moment and looking forward to blackcurrants and edible flowers. Come and take a look!
If any of your produce is starting to be ready at home, please send us a photo – we’d love to hear about it and share with others! Email us at email@example.com or share on our Facebook page.
by Becki Huth, Forest School Leader, Cutteslowe Primary School