Tuesday, 26 July 2011

There's more than one way to skin a cat...

And there's more than one way to acquire a potato.
One way to acquire a potato is to get some money, go to a shop, and buy a potato. This is very simple, if rather dull. Another way to acquire a potato is to plant a seed potato in the ground, wait for a couple of months, and then dig in the place you planted the seed. This is also very simple, but much more exciting, as demonstrated by this picture:
The really incredible thing, is that where you planted one seed potato there are now lots of full-grown potatoes. Here's Emma with a stack of spuds and a lovely smile:
Once we had taken the potatoes from the ground, we couldn't wait to eat them. With the rustic expertise of Chris Leigh at hand, we didn't have to wait for long! He gave them a rinse, wrapped them in tin foil, and popped them in some hot ashes:
 After about half an hour he fetched them out of the fire (using a trowel), and we ate them. Here's Simon tucking into a tasty potato, just half an hour after it had been lounging around in the ground:
 In addition to digging up potatoes and cooking them and eating them, we also spent some time weeding and watering. Most of the plots at Trowbridge House are planted out now, but there's a couple of spaces that we're hoping to give to local residents, so we also spent some time clearing these spaces ready for use. Here's some more photographs from the evening's work:

Emma and Simon contemplating the magic door to another world: possibly Narnia, or maybe the Aniverse where Bucky O'Hare and Dead Eye Duck engage in the never-ending war against the Toad Menace. Does anybody remember the cartoon Bucky O' Hare? Just me?  Never mind.
In this photograph, we see an organised line of Triffids advancing upon the unsuspecting Chris Leigh.

If you'd like to get involved in future work days at the Trowbridge House or at one of our other community allotment spaces, then please get in touch at samdrewapicture@gmail.com. All the best, your friend, Sam.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Blood, sweat, and companion planting

Hi all! I have just had a very nice evening with Iva Carrdus from Transition Bath, planting up a new plot at Trowbridge House which had been kindly dug and weeded by Emma Fowler and Adam Barnett in previous weeks.
We've planted six more tomato plants, bringing us up to a total of 13 over the entire site. This is an unlucky number: I'm not superstitious, I'm just saying, it's unlucky, I don't want any accidents, I'll be planting more tomato plants soon just in case. We also planted carrots, onions, beetroot, and rocket. Yum!
The interesting thing about the above list, is the combination of carrots and onions. This is an example of a clever new fing I've been learning about called 'companion planting'. Companion planting covers a wide variety of gardening practices, but in this case the deliberate combination of onions and carrots is designed to discourage pests: the insects which like carrots hate onions, and the insects which like onions hate carrots. In this way, the vegetables deal with each others' problems, like a happily married couple, or like two X-men with complimentary powers, so maybe like one can shoot fire but they're falling from a plane or something, but then another one can fly so they catch the one that can shoot fire, and then they can both fly around shooting fire, and maybe they can shoot the plane or whatever. I hope this analogy helps you to understand companion planting.
Anyway, here's some photographs from the work.

This is the lovely, knowledgeable Iva, contemplating a line of freshly-sown carrot seeds.

This is Iva again, she is smiling because I've just told her the world's funniest joke. I cannot publish the world's funniest joke on this or any other blog, becaue it would surely mean the end of humanity, with everybody rolling around laughing while their baths overflow and their toast burns. If you want to hear the world's funniest joke, you must come to the next Trowbridge House working evening on Monday 18th July.

This is a really awful photograph of me, which I've included just to demonstrate that it was dark by the time we finished, because we were just that determined to get the plot planted out!

Thanks for reading, I hope you're all doing well. If you're free on the evening of Monday 18th July and you'd like to come do some gardening, then let me know by e-mailing samdrewapicture@gmail.com and I'll ensure there's free biscuits for you all. If I'm in a really good mood, I will even buy you a drink.

Friday, 8 July 2011

New plot at Bath City Farm!

In association with Timebank, we now have the opportunity to use this plot at Bath City Farm:

The plot is roughly 100 square metres, and is located at the bottom of the farm in the fenced off community allotments area; in the picture below, our new site is just to the right of the communal area with the benches.

This is a really exciting opportunity for us to grow on a nice chunk of land, in a convenient location close to both Bath Spa and Oldfield Park. Access is either through the farm's main entrance, or through the kissing gate at the bottom entrance (which is accessible 24/7 with a combination lock). If you'd like to use this site, or just go have a look at it, get in touch at samdrewapicture@gmail.com

Big Fat Greek Update

Hello reader. This blog is under new management: my name is Sam Drew, and I'll be updating you with all of the exciting goings-on from Student Community Allotments (SCA). Here's some highlights from the Trowbridge House.

Trowbridge House

This site is coming along really well. In April I lost my vegetable-planting virginity to a Jerusalem Artichoke. Here are some photographs of the process, if you go in for that sort of thing.

This is a hole in the ground.

These are some Jerusalem Artichoke seedlings in the hole in the ground.

This is a hole in the ground that has been filled in. You can no longer see the Jerusalem Artichoke seedlings, because they are now beneath the ground.

We made a new friend called Wilkie, who does some farming out at Westbury. We had a little bonfire. It was nice.

From left to right: Wilkie, Simon, and Chris. Believe it or not, these guys are actually the lead guitarist, vocalist, and bongo player from the popular heavy metal band 'Slipknot'. This is what they look like under their masks.

Shortly after meeting Wilkie, we won Bath Spa university's Environmental Solutions Award. I'm not suggesting that Wilkie is some kind of demi-god bestowing gifts upon unsuspecting gardeners, but it was kind of a coincidence. Anyway, the nice people at the university gave us £500. Here are some of the things we spent the money on:

Goodies we bought with the £500 from Bath Spa, including gloves, a saw, and a very useful portable incinerator.

The portable incinerator proved very useful in getting rid of some of the weeds and small trees that have been hanging around since the very first day when we cleared the site. Here's a few of us using it:

In ascending height order: Rachel Acton-Filton, Carl Stevens, and Adam Barnett.
Some of the stuff we've planted is now at the stage where we can actually take it out of the ground and eat it:

Simon eating the first strawberry. Total air miles: about half an inch.

Two of the sandwiches that I harvested from our sandwich bush. Actually, it was just the lettuce.
And there's loads of other tasty stuff growing:

Some tomatoes taking a well-earned rest.
I think this is a courgette, but it could be a butternut squash. Answers on a postcard, please.
Loads of lettuce. Apparently, if you cut the leaves off the lettuce, then new leaves will grow in its place. It's amazing. It's a bit like that liquid robot thing from Terminator 2, except not like that at all.

So that's it for this update. If you'd like to get involved with growing fruit and vegetables at the Trowbridge House on Coronation Avenue in Bath, then drop me a line at samdrewapicture@gmail.com