We were struggling to get the mound of earth dug out at the back of Plot33, where we want to install our 'super shed'. So why not have a 'dig it' party?
We invited people to come and help us dig or clear the the beds for winter growing or paint or cheer from the side lines! Our call out with the promise of soup and cake - of course made from Plot 33 produce as far as possible - was a great success - 15 willing helpers turned up over the day.
We jointly made a big impression on the earth pile, dug out the buddleia roots, cleared the courgette bed, painted the back of the tool shed and so much more.
A massive 'Thank you' to everyone who helped - it has really spurred us on. What a lovely day of being outdoors - no rain bonus - testing out the new gazebo - enabling us to work outside in all weathers - chats, laughs and sharing food. On the menu was a choice of marrow or pumpkin soup followed by apple and pear spongy gooyness.
After a week away there's lots going on, on plot 33 this week. We've been clearing away spent summer crops, taking down the pea and bean wigwams, harvesting the squash we still have a few courgettes hanging in but their production has slowed right down and the tricky job of cutting out the old blackberry canes. Anne nearly had to come and rescue me as my coat got completely caught on the thorns. In the greenhouse the cucumbers and aubergines have finished and been cleared while the tomatoes still have a few fruit but i think we'll clear them next week. The winter crops of leeks and Kale are looking good and we have some winter lettuce to go in along with garlic, shallots, onion sets and board beans to plant
All this clearing and cutting down means lots of composting material and having not turned the compost bin for a fair few weeks we thought we should. When we opened the bin up we were greeted but the delightful and unexpected sight of compost that looks almost finished! and lots and lots of worms. Thanks again to bread in Common and fair share that give us all their peelings and bits that cant be used
Our projects outside of Plot 33 are beginning to surface ( sometimes with allotment elements) so our focus has slightly changed. Wonder Women have made beautiful silk flags for the Heritage Action Zone H! Culture Festival. With the arrival of Autumn lots of harvesting, cooking, jam and chutney making as well as deciding what to plant for over winter. We are concentrating our main efforts, immediately, on preparing to install the shed, compost loo and outdoor kitchen area before the winter.
This is a big physical task … we felt a bit overwhelmed … but we made a start and a plan emerged. The area we are digging out is well composted down so we have made temporary holding bays in which to chuck some of the excavated soil. Armed with a pick axe and a rake we started to break up the bank of compressed soil, sieve it into the wheelbarrow to remove all the bits for composting, then tip the good soil into tarpaulin bags and the holding bays. A slow but satisfying process as we begin to see the change. Then we went on hols (Peterborough & Isle of Arran) for a week!
We are going to have to go for it over the next couple of weeks ready for our shed installing work party on Saturday 23rd October. When we are inviting local people to help, cheer from the side lines and share a Plot 33 pumpkin soup meal. We are praying for a bright, cold, dry day ???
Greening Stoke is a project run in partnership between Festival Stoke and Letting in the Light. We are based in Stoke-on-Trent.
We are started this adventure in January 2021 in the middle of a national lockdown. Gradually, as things begin to open up, close down and then open up again, Rachel and Anne abided by all the Covid-19 Government guidance, worked in a socially distanced way, to prepare and maintain Plot 33 so that they were eventually able to invite the community to work with them.
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