Working together for a low carbon Portishead
Newsletter for July 2012
We were one of the community good causes at Waitrose in June and we have been awarded £300 towards the costs of a new apple press and crusher. These will be used at the Community Apple Harvest (see below) and at various events where people can bring their garden apples to be pressed. We have applied to the Lottery Awards for All programme but will still need to raise around £200 in match funding.
Britain in Bloom judging
Our planters have featured in the judging of Portishead's entry in the Britain in Bloom competition which took place earlier this month. Community involvement is an important criteria so the Apple harvest, Community Nuttery, and Community Allotment all featured in this year's submission.
Events this month
Saturday 14 July
This month we are focussing on potatoes. so bring along your favourite potato recipe to share. Also any spare tomato plants, courgette plants, bean plants and herbs to swap. We will have compost bins and green bags and green recycling boxes for sale. Try using them to grow potatoes, carrots, and salad crops.
And of course come and find the best of local produce all from within a 30 mile radius of Portishead.
Saturday 21 July
Flower Show Field 12:30pm to 6:30pm
We will be sharing a stall with Low Carbon Gordano who will be providing free energy advice. So if you want to hear more about our activities and plans and find out how to save on those energy bills come along and have a chat.
Saturdays from 9:30am and Thursdays from 5:30pm
Clevedon Road (opposite Gordano School)
We are changing our weekend session from Sunday to Saturday hoping it will prove more popular. So we will be at the Community Allotment every Saturday from 9:30 am and every Thursday evening from 5:30 pm for around 2 hours (weather permitting!).If you want to get involved in growing food on the allotment please contact us or come along to one of the sessions.
We have installed some raised beds using recycled scaffold planks and have planted up some of this year's crop. The potatoes have suffered from the continuing rain but winter sown onions and garlic are doing well.
The allotment is the furthest from the road on the left (Plot 11A).
Sunday 16 September
Community Apple Harvest
11:00am to 3:00pm Weston Moor Nature Reserve, behind the Church, Weston-in-Gordano
This will be our third apple harvest and even heavy rain last year couldn't keep the harvesters away. This year we are holding the event to coincide with the harvest festival service at St Peter and St Paul's in Weston-in-Gordano which is at 10:00. There will be a harvest lunch in the village hall following the service and if you want to attend please contact Patrick Chevasse. We are planning to purchase a new larger apple press and electric crusher to increase our capacity to convert the apples into delicious juice.
Friday 23 November
Ceilidh with the Little Fox Celtic Band
7:30 - 11:00pm Somerset Hall. High Street, Portishead.
One for the diary. Come along and enjoy an evening of dancing to round off a busy year with a great Irish band all the way from Clapton in Gordano!
Do you want to grow some vegetables ? Are you waiting for an allotment? Do you have a couple of hours a week to spare? We currently have a group of eight gardeners who join together once or twice a week to cultivate the community allotment. There are also two gardens in our gardenshare scheme that we would like to cultivate in a similar manner.
So we would like to expand our group of gardeners so we can take on the gardenshares gardens as well.
A couple of hours a week is all that's required and its surprising how much can be achieved when the effort is shared. The reward of course is a share in the produce and so far this year we have already had a good crop of broad beans, onions, garlic and strawberries.
If you would like to join the community gardeners please contact Ann on 01275 845206 or email us.
We spent a day at St Peter's in June with the year 5 classes. We delivered four workshops to the two classes over the day covering waste and recycling, carbon dioxide (what is it?), materials and how many are made from oil, and the carbon footprint of different foods. The children enjoyed the hands on activities and we were delighted at the enthusiasm from both the children and the class teachers.
The next day we spent the morning with a group of trainee teachers reaching the end of their postgraduate training year. They followed the same workshops as the children we work with and we hope they will take the ideas into their new teaching careers.
The garden in July
The continuing rain has made it difficult for many gardens especially if they are on heavy soils. The allotment has many waterlogged plots and lots of the potato crops have been affected. A major beneficiary has been slugs and snails which are having a bumper season. Apart from using slug pellets which can affect birds the only sure answer is to go out after dark with a pair of rubber gloves and a torch and pick the offending creatures off the plants. Put them in a container with a lid and then find a home for them on a nearby open space well away from your and other people's gardens.
The broad beans have finished now and the beds can be used for another crop. Brasicas do well after beans benefittting from the increased fertility. Cut the beans off at the base but leave the roots in the ground where they will continue to provide nitrogen from the nodules on the roots. Plant the new crop in between the old roots.
Freshly planted beds seem to attract lots of attention from cats, mice, pigeons, and a host of other uninvited visitors. Use netting to keep these pests off for the first few weeks until plants are established. Try this link to puchase hard wearing ex fishing nets. A small mesh net can also help to keep the slugs and snails off.
Keep sowing short rows of lettuce, salad leaves, carrots, mangetout, radish, corriander, parsley, beetroot every couple of weeks. A good idea is to wait till the previous sowing is established with a few leaves then plant another short row. This way you should get a succession of crops throughout the summer.
If you have well drained soils and have not been affected by the wet conditions then first crops of potatoes will now be ready. Pick them early and get delicious new potatoes. Once finished you can use the beds for leeks, spinach, or courgettes.
Make sure your rainwater interceptors are clear of rotted leaves so that you collect any rain that falls into your water butts. While we have had a lot of rain recently you never know when you will need that harvested water.
If you only have a small garden or patio get some ex-reycling bins from our stall at the Farmers Market and use these to grow potatoes, carrots, lettuce and tomoatoes.
If you have fruit trees set up feromone moth traps to attract the coddling moths that lay their eggs on the blossom. The larvae then eat their way out once the apples are ripe. Remove damaged apples. The traps are put out ideally during May then replaced in July. So if you put some up earlier now is the time to replace the sticky inserts and the pheromone bait.
Attract pest predators such as hover flies into the garden by planting lots of nectar rich flowers like marjoram and lavender. You can also use companion planting to deter pasts. Try these combinations:
Make sure companion plants are planted at the same time as your edible crops to prevent pests from getting a foothold.
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