Dig Day Sunday 5 July

Posted: July 12, 2015

We had a quiet day in the garden last Sunday but did tie up the tomato plants so they weren’t falling on the ground. There’s plenty of green tomatoes already and lots more flowers, so it looks like we’ll have a really good crop this year.

We gave everything a really good water – a job that takes a couple of hours at this time of year.

We harvested a few more lettuces and planted some more seeds in the same place in the fruit cage. We also planted a few spinach seeds in the last empty section of the mandala bed.

We also harvested beetroot, spring onions, garlic and chard.



Dig day Saturday 27 June

Posted: June 28, 2015

We had a brilliant afternoon at the Ruskin Park Summer Fete on Saturday. We didn’t get a lot of gardening done because we were busy chatting to lots of people! Hopefully we encouraged some more gardeners to join our group.

Lots of people were interested in our bees, and our beekeeper Sharon was there to answer their questions.

We did manage to plant some radishes and lettuces.

We had a good harvest of chard, garlic, spring onions, turnips, lettuce, raspberries, redcurrants and gooseberries.











Dig Day Sunday 21 June 2015

Posted: June 25, 2015

We had plenty of gardeners on Sunday which meant we gave the garden a good weeding – something we need to do regularly through the summer months.



We dug a trench around the asparagus bed to keep the grass out of the bed, weeded it and tied the stalks up to longer canes. Only another 3 year to wait before we can harvest the crop!

Digging a trench round the asparagus bed

Digging a trench round the asparagus bed

We thinned out the carrots and turnips and planted some kohlrabi.

Unfortunately the broad beans weren’t doing very well and we had to pull most of them up.

We harvested potatoes, lettuce, broad beans, radishes, some tiny turnips and raspberries.

Today's harvest

Dig Day Sunday 14 June

Posted: June 17, 2015

With the help of a new volunteer we weeded many of the beds, which were in real need of attention! They look much better now. We also watered everything and had quite a good harvest – including gooseberries, radishes, lettuce, rhubarb and a few broad beans.

In future digs we will be thinning out our root veg and planting more seedlings in the polytunnel. And if volunteers have raw vegetable scraps that could feed our worms, please feel free to bring them!

Dig Day Sunday 7 June

Posted: June 13, 2015

We got lots done at the dig day last Sunday. We planted out our leeks in the display bed and also planted out our squash plants.

We planted horseradish plants in our new bed as they looked a bit uncomfortable in their pots! Joe dug trenches around the beds to neaten them up and protect our plants from weeds and grass.

We were joined by a sociologist doing some research into community gardens, and he helped us weed the beds.

We cut back weeds at the front of the garden and gave everything a good water – which takes some time these days. We also put more canes with our tomato plants to give them more support and strengthened the supports for our broad beans.

We also had a little harvest! Volunteers took home some broad beans, radishes, mazuma mustard leaves and gooseberries.

Dig Day Sunday 31 May

Posted: June 3, 2015

We missed the downpour on Sunday but a few of us came along and planted out the last of the tomatoes.  Tom dug a trench around the mandala bed where we planted them to stop the grass encroaching.
Planting tomatoes

Planting tomatoes

Watering and digging a trench

Watering and digging a trench

Planted tomatoes

Planted tomatoes

We also secured some of the netting which was coming away from the beds.

We harvested the first of the broad beans and some lettuce!

Broad beans

The first of the broad beans!

Next Sunday we’ll be joined by a sociologist who is  writing a book about community gardens in London and Berlin and wants to chat to some of the gardeners.

Bees find a new home in our garden

Posted: May 26, 2015

The Sunday before last we found a swarm of bees near our shed when we went to open up for our dig day. We called Sharon, our beekeeper, who came down straight away. The bees had come from outside looking for a new home. Sharon gave them a new hive and they have settled in well. We’re very happy they chose to come and live in our garden. We now have 2 full hives.

Beekeepers in action

Beekeepers in action

We had a delayed start due to the bees but still got lots done. We planted some pumpkin seedlings and finally got round to weeding the last bed in the fruit cage.

Planting pumpkin seedlings

Planting pumpkin seedlings

We also built some structures to support the tomatoes which we planted out.

Beth & Joe work on the tomato structureTomatoes go out


Dig Day Sunday 10 May

Posted: May 12, 2015

We had a great day in the very sunny garden last Sunday. Along with many regular gardeners we had a new volunteer helping out.

We planted swiss chard, celeriac and red onions out into the beds from seedlings. We also planted parsnip and radish seeds directly into the beds.

Planting celeriac

Planting some celeriac

In the polytunnel we sowed some squash seeds and gave everything a good water.

We put a few French marigolds into some of the beds as they are good for protecting against diseases and bugs. We also did some weeding, watering and general tidying, and made a new structure with netting to protect our newly planted seeds and crops.

Gardeners make a net structure to protect crops

Gardeners make a net structure to protect our crops








Next week we hope to finally finish clearing out the fruit cage and tidy up the beds. We will also need to make new structures for our tomato plants, which hopefully can be planted out from the polytunnel later in the month.

All gardeners welcome to join us!

Dig day Sunday 3 May

Posted: May 7, 2015

We had another busy day in the garden last Sunday and welcomed a couple of new gardeners to our group.

We clearing the demonstration bed at the front of the garden and dug it over.

We also planted out some purple sprouting broccoli next to the cauliflowers. We spread mulch over the bed to suppress the weeds and covered the bed with netting, as the caulis were already showing signs of being eaten.

We build another cane structure to support more beans and planted out the seedlings that had been growing in the polytunnel.

Creating support for the green beans

Creating support for the green beans

We pulled up all the chard that’s been growing since last year and we all took home a huge bunch. If anyone has any good chard recipes please let us know!






Dig Day Sunday 26 April 2015

Posted: April 29, 2015

Robin on the scarecrow

Cheeky robin on Justin the Scarecrow

We had a great turnout on Sunday and got lots of jobs done. The garden is looking fantastic!

We weeded the herb bed, garlic, and the border with the apple trees and oregano. We also cleared the mandala bed and a couple of other beds, ready for planting out some seedlings next Sunday.

Weeding the garlic

Meeling weeding the garlic

Weeded garlic

Weeded garlic

Mandala bed unweeded

Mandala bed unweeded

Weeded mandala bed

Mandala bed after weeding

We repotted the cucumbers into larger pots in the polytunnel.

Outside, we planted some cauliflowers and potatoes into the prepared beds.

We planted green beans in the bed where we’d already built a cane structure to support them. We have some kohlrabi already in the same bed.

We also sowed some carrot seeds and covered the bed with netting to stop the birds from eating the seeds.


Covering a bed with netting

Tom and Jean pretend to be fishermen

We harvested the last of the chard – next week we’ll take it out as it’s starting to flower.


Dig Day Sunday 12 April

Posted: April 15, 2015

We got lots done in the garden on the dig day last Sunday. Jean and Tom helped clearing out more of the fruit cage and adding compost to help the fruit trees grow.

We transplanted the loganberry tree outside the fruit cage where it can grow alongside the fencing. We also planted more kohlrabi plants in the border along with some lettuce.

We dug over the border next to our polytunnel, weeded and gave everything a good watering.

We also dug up rogue potatoes and put them in their proper bed, and moved two broad bean plants to a bed where overwintering broad bean plants are already growing.

We dug over a bed to give it a good weeding but ran out of time to plant the parsnips and turnips that are due to go in there! Hopefully we will get that done this week.

Now the weather is getting warmer there will be lots more to do – so everyone is welcome to join us at our next dig, this Sunday from 2-4pm.

Big Dig Day Saturday 21 March 2015

Posted: March 17, 2015

Get digging this Saturday as part of the Big Dig Day.

Grow food, make friends and learn how to garden.
Or just come along to see what we do.

Everyone is welcome, whatever commitment you can give.

Dig day, 22 February 2015

Posted: March 3, 2015

We made a good start on planting the seeds for this year’s harvest at our last dig of February.

Planting up some seeds at Ruskin Park

Planting up some seeds at Ruskin Park








Until we were forced to abandon the dig due to rain we planted brussels sprouts, spinach, calabrese, kale, purple sprouting broccoli, cabbage and lettuce in pots and put them in the polytunnel. We will be watering them regularly and keeping a close eye on the seedlings until it is warm enough to plant them outside.

Seeds safely installed in our polytunnel

Seeds safely installed in our polytunnel








We also planted out some more broad beans into one of the beds. And we were pleased to see that our garlic has started to grow! Next time (Sunday 8 March) we’ll be planting many more seeds, including tomatoes, in the polytunnel. We’ll also be planting some parsnips out in the garden – hope you can join us.


Dig Day, 8 February

Posted: February 8, 2015

It was a beautiful nearly spring like day in the garden. The broad beans and spinach are looking good and the daffodils are coming up. We weeded the mandala bed. 20150208_132228_resized



Dig day, 25 January

Posted: February 2, 2015

We got quite a bit done on our second dig of the year – despite the fact that the cold kept most people safely indoors! With a small number of us, we managed to get a few of the beds well weeded and turned over the soil in preparation for planting things. We also harvested a little chard.

We “chitted” our potatoes, putting them into egg boxes and plastic containers, and they are now safely in the polytunnel to start sprouting. A couple of weeks in a warm flat had already got them on their way!

In the coming weeks we’ll be planting more seeds to sprout in pots in the polytunnel so the pace will pick up a bit! Our next dig will be this Sunday, 8 February.


1st dig day of 2015

Posted: January 20, 2015

Sunday 11 January was the our 1st dig day of the year. The weather was cold and bright and we had a good turnout, with some of our regular gardeners and a couple of new faces too.

We cleared one of the beds, prepared it and planted garlic.


We planted a row of carrots in the same bed, although it might be a little early for them. The rest of the bed has onions in it – it’s best not to grow garlic and onions next to each other so the carrots will go in between them.


We also cleared and weeded some of the other beds.


We dug up some radishes, but they were pretty small!




We also harvested parsnips, and found some oyster mushrooms growing out the side of the herb bed in the Trees for Cities garden next door.



Dig day, 14 December

Posted: December 14, 2014

We had a lovely day in the low winter sun, ‘team weeding’ and setting the world to rights. Next dig day will be in January.

Dig day Sunday 30 November

Posted: December 11, 2014

We had a small team of gardeners on our last dig day, including a small gardener!

Ishmael helping with the digging

Ishmael helping with the digging

We finished digging trenches around the outside of the beds to protect the wood over winter.

We cleared out the runner beans and the frame, and weeded the bed where they’d been.  We also dug over some of the beds.

We planted some silverskin onions to over-winter and harvested parsnips and chard.

We also sorted out the seeds and made a list of what we need to buy.


Sadie planting onions

Sadie planting onions

Dig day, Sunday 16 November

Posted: November 26, 2014

Depsite a bit of rainy weather we had a good day in the garden. Around five volunteers came to help out. We added compost to our newest bed and dug small trenches around several beds in order to protect the wood over the winter.

While doing this we seemed to disturb a couple of frogs’ homes. The frogs distracted a couple of gardeners for a little while…

One of our new visitors during our dig on 16 November

One of our new visitors during our dig on 16 November















Justin got to dance on the compost in the name of making it more compact and so decompose more quickly!

Justin helping to push the compost together

Justin helping to push the compost together














We planted more broad beans in one of our beds towards the front of the garden for overwintering.

We also harvested lettuce, chard, spinach and even some mushrooms growing wild in the garden – which Jean assured us were safe to eat and proved it by eating a couple during our dig.

Some of the wild mushrooms growing in Ruskin Park community garden

Some of the wild mushrooms growing in Ruskin Park community garden

Dig Day Sunday 2nd November 2014

Posted: November 9, 2014

Despite the threat of rain it turned into a beautiful autumn afternoon with a good  turnout and some familar faces.

We put some more work into beefing up the compost heaps, especially with lots of leafy material. We also cleared out one of the compost heaps, adding nutrients to several of the beds, as well as giving the wooden structure of one of the compost sections a chance to dry out, which should keep it in good condition and minimise the chance that it becomes part of the compost itself.

It’s a good time of year  to take cuttings, so we took some from several plants, mainly the soft fruit, as well as some roses. We may use these for a plant sale next year to raise some funds for the garden.

We gave the fruit cages have had a good clear-out, with lots of weeding.

We also took some of the last broad bean pods to dry out some beans for next year – these are now drying in the shed, and should be ready to go into the soil in the spring.

The mustard is coming up slowly but surely – hopefully this will give us some good ground cover over the winter (suppressing weeds), will fix some nitrogen into the soil, as well as giving us a nice leaf crop when there’s little else to be harvested in the garden.

In terms of harvest, we took a healthy crop of salad leaves as well as some chard (and one of two last raspberries).

Dig Day Sunday 26 October


We continued work on the new bed, digging in the grass that remained on the top.


We gathered more leaves to add to the compost heap, trampling them down to make the heap compact, and covered it with tarpaulin to keep it warm.

Adding to the compost

Adding to the compost

We dug up the marjoram that was growing in a couple of the vegetable beds and replanted it in between the apple trees.

Moving the marjoram plants

Moving the marjoram plants

While digging up the marjoram we found a few unexpected potatoes in the earth.


Our harvest this week as spinach, chard and lettuce.




Dig day time change: 1-3pm

Posted: October 24, 2014

From Sunday 26 October 2014 our dig days will be from 1-3pm.

We hope to see you there.

Dig Day 19 October 2014

Posted: October 22, 2014

Child being pusshed in a wheelbarrow

Garden transport for small people

We had an excellent turnout of volunteers in the garden last Sunday, including more new gardeners, which we’re always happy to see.

All of the steering committee were there, and we discussed some ideas for what to do with the garden in the coming year.

We made a start on digging a new bed. This meant moving a young apple tree from near the garden gate to the back near the fence.

We raked up leaves from the park as well as the garden to add to the compost.

Raking leaves and digging a new bed

Raking leaves and digging a new bed

We harvested the last of the squashes and pumpkins and then pulled up the plants.

Our harvest this week also included green beans, rainbow chard, spinach, lettuce, radishes and parsnip.

Bikes in the garden

Transport for bigger people

Dig Day Sunday 5 October

Posted: October 7, 2014

Runner bean harvest

Runner bean harvest

Fantastic weather for our first dig day of October, and a good turn-out meant we got through a lot of jobs.

We paid some attention to the compost heap this week – mixing it and pressing it down. We gave it as good a water as we were able by filling watering cans and the wheelbarrow, as the hose doesn’t quite reach it.

Since there were no fruit left on the tomatoes, we pulled up the rest of the plants, then spread compost over the beds. We’ll leave it for a week or two before digging it in.

We also removed the green beans and covered that bed with compost too.

We made a good start on clearing out the rubbish area, getting rid of broken pots and other damaged materials we don’t need. The garden is looking a lot neater.

We harvested some broccoli, spinach, chard, radishes and runner beans.





Sunday’s dig

Posted: September 29, 2014

Sunday, 28 September 2014
We had a great day in the garden last Sunday. It was really good to 
see some new faces as people came to help out who had come to our 
Harvest Feast the previous week.

We harvested all of the tomatoes available - including green ones 
for use in chutnies. We decided to leave the tomato plants in the 
ground for now to see if they produce any more fruit. Some still
had flowers on them which the bees were feeding on.

We harvested lots of runner beans, chard, spinach, borage and 
turnips - which were poking out of the ground!

Jean, Mary and Joe dug over the bed that cabbages are in to help 
them grow, and replanted them in the bed. We also gave the cabbages 
a new netting support to keep out birds and animals.

Prakash helped dig up the borage so we can give the beetroot, which 
is growing in the same bed, a bit more space.

We dug over some other beds and added compost to them. We also 
planted some more lettuce, some onions and some broad beans, along 
with doing the usual watering and weeding.
Gardeners dig over the cabbage bed

Gardeners dig over the cabbage bed


Gardeners dig up some turnips and weed the bed

Gardeners dig up some turnips and weed the bed



























Harvest Feast 2014

Posted: September 21, 2014

Our 4th annual Harvest Feast was a big success. Lots of new folks came and feasted, with many planning to come for a dig day in the coming weeks. Plenty of regulars as well, and the table was full of delicious community garden-grown veg. It is still a thrill to eat the veg in the spot where it was grown.
Sharon the beekeeper brought jars of honey from the garden bees. It tasted amazing – like roses and other flowers. We used it in a honey mustard salad dressing as well as on bread.
We feasted on potato gratin, salad with spinach, chard, apple, nasturtiums, mint and courgette, courgette and rice casserole, roasted squash, rosemary and cheese scones, chard tart, apple chutney, tomato chutney, runner beans, courgette salad, homemade bread, tomato bruschetta, and crabapple jelly tarts.
We raised £34 in donations which will cover seeds for next year, thanks very much for the generosity.
Mark planted some mustard, a green manure. It fixed nitrogen in the soil and keeps the weeds from taking over the bare soil.
We harvested courgettes, runner beans, and tomatoes to take home as they needed picking.
There are gluts this time of year, and you might be wondering how to use up the veg. Here are a few recipe ideas:
Spiced Pickled Runner Beans
Runner beans with bacon and hazelnuts
Courgette Rice Gratin
There’s no dig day today because of the feast yesterday. See you next Sunday, 3-5pm
If you’re a twitterer, please do follow us on https://twitter.com/GardenRuskin.






Harvest Feast – Saturday 4-6pm! All welcome!!

Posted: September 17, 2014

Please come along to our feast in the garden, featuring dishes made from veg we grew this year. We’ll be there from 3pm, doing final harvesting and cooking. Eating starts at 4pm.
Thanks very much to Trees for Cities who have offered their produce to the bounty.
It’s free, but would welcome a small donation to go for seeds for next year.
We’re part of Capital Growth’s Edible Gardens Open Day – http://www.capitalgrowth.org/events/opengardens/

Sunday’s dig


Sunday we harvested for the harvest feast, watered, and worked on next year’s planting plan. At the feast, we’ll have: potato gratin, runner beans, tomato bruschetta, lettuce tart, crabapple jelly tarts, roasted squash, and salad with dressing made using honey from our bees!
20140914_155608 20140914_155602
The planting plan is still being worked on, will have it ready in a week or two.

Dig day Sunday 31st August

Posted: September 3, 2014

It felt like summer again on Sunday – so much so that Sadie had to work in the shade so she didn’t get sunburnt!

While she was weeding the beetroot and fruit cage, the rest of us sorted out the netting. We covered the newly sprouting turnip, cabbage and lettuce to stop it getting nibbled. After rebuilding the netting support for the broccoli we managed to cover it all. It seems to be doing better after we covered it in netting last week. We’re going to leave the purple sprouting broccoli to over winter, in the hope that it will produce some stems next year.

We also tended to the tomatoes – again. Some small plants produce surprisingly large fruit, which droop onto the soil. These end up spoiling, so we harvested all the fruit that was on or near the soil, even if they were green, These tomatoes can either be left to ripen on a sunny windowsill (they will take a few weeks to ripen), fried green, or made into chutney. If anyone has a good recipe for green tomato chutney, please send us one.

We has another good harvest this week of tomatoes, runner beans, green beans, chard and spinach. There was no squash ready this week but plenty of flowers, so we’ll have some later on in the year – maybe for Hallowe’en?

Lettuce seedlings

Lettuce seedlings


Broccoli netting


Courgette flowers









Dig Day Sunday 24 August

Posted: August 25, 2014

We got lots of work done in the garden on Sunday. Justin gave the worms a feed and got plenty of nutrient-rich matter from them to feed the plants with.

We weeded the beds and gave everything a good water. Nicola and Prakash helped construct more support for the runner beans which had started to outgrow their frame a little.

Maureen planted some more beetroot as its growth was a little one-sided – although the leaves are coming up very quickly after planting the seeds just a few weeks ago.

Gary helped strengthen the tomato canes, which keep getting a battering from the wind.

We had some new faces helping out along with regular gardeners and got a big harvest – including spinach, chard, tomatoes, French beans, runner beans, three squash and a little purple sprouting broccoli.

We also found a few rogue potatoes while weeding the parsnip bed.


Maureen planting beetroot

Maureen planting beetroot














dig day_nicola

Nicola harvesting purple sprouting broccoli














dig day_harvest1

Sunday’s harvest



Posted: August 19, 2014

Despite the earlier downpour, Sunday afternoon turned out to be a beautiful sunny day in the garden with a good turn-out of gardeners.

We dug over some of the empty space where the beans had been cleared and planted some turnips and Savoy-type cabbages. We also planted a row of radishes at the bottom of the squashes.

We thinned out the lettuces and beetroot to give the rest a chance to grow. We also checked the tomato plants and tied up any that were being weighed down by their fruit. All of the beds were weeded.

We had a great harvest of tomatoes, runner and green beans, squash, spinach and rainbow chard.


Our harvest of leaves, tomatoes, beans and squash

Green bean

Green bean


Lettuce seedlings

Lettuce seedlings



Sunday’s dig

Posted: August 11, 2014

The harvest - potatoes, tomatoes, runner beans, french beans, spinach, chard

The harvest – potatoes, tomatoes, runner beans, french beans, spinach, chard

The harvest - tomatoes and squash

The harvest – tomatoes and squash

Sadie portioning the harvest

Sadie portioning the harvest

The french beans

The french beans

The lettuce seedlings

The lettuce seedlings

Sadie and the kids watering

Sadie and the kids watering



The sun shone (surprisingly) on a happy day in the garden. We weeded, as usual, staked and pruned tomatoes, planted lettuce seedlings, and cleared out beds with bolted chard and spinach. We harvested the first of the french beans, plus tomatoes, squash, runner beans, spinach, chard.

Last Sunday’s dig

Posted: August 8, 2014

Despite there only being 3 gardeners last Sunday, we got through some good jobs and managed to harvest some veg as well.

We planted some beetroot in the mandala bed, in between the tomatoes and the spinach. We also planted some winter lettuce at the end of the bed with the squashes. The lettuces should grow over winter and be ready to harvest in March next year. It’ll be great to be able to harvest something at a time of year when we’re mostly just planting.

We made sure any sagging tomato plants were tied up and watered everything.

We tomatoes, spinach, a few small carrots, runner beans, a squash, potatoes and some purple sprouting broccoli. There were some ripe blackberries but we thought we should wait for them to get a bit bigger before harvesting them, though I did try one and they are delicious!


Runner beans


Yesterday’s dig day

Posted: July 28, 2014

Had a lovely day at the garden. A few new faces and plenty of regulars. We weeded, watered, cleared the bolted greens (lettuce and chard), and planted pak choi and chard. The harvest was potatoes, tomatoes, chard, lettuce, squash, runner beans and radishes. Digging the potatoes was seriously hard work as the dry soil was like concrete – thanks to Prakash for his persistence. Sadie made harvest piles and we had to draw straws as there weren’t enough squash to go around.

Save the date – Saturday 20 September is the tentative date for the Harvest Feast. It’s Capital Growth’s Edible Garden Open Day. Here’s an image of last year’s harvest feast:

Harvest Feast 2013

Everything is really early this year because of the warm weather. The crab apples are at least a month early. We harvested some of those as well to make delicious jelly – recipe here.

Billy watering the roots of the tomatoes

Billy watering the roots of the tomatoes


The harvest

Lynn weeding.


Prakash digging potatoes.


Runner beans on their amazing support built by the Trees for Cities trainees.


Only 3 tomatoes…Dig Day Sunday 20 July

Posted: July 21, 2014

This week we welcomed a couple more new gardeners to the group, and were also paid a visit by two of the ‘grow leaders’ from Loughborough Farm, who complimented us on how good the garden was looking!


The squashes are looking good!

We found quite a few more volunteer tomatoes mixed in with the parsnips, but there was no space to move them to so we left them where they were and supported them with canes. Most of them already had fruit on them. We checked all the other tomatoes were properly supported and managed to harvest 3 that were ripe!

We also harvested lots of young carrots, some spinach and runner beans.

Everything looked in good order after all the clearing and planting that was done last week. We were just giving all the beds a really good water when there was a huge downpour!

Carrots, spinach, runner beans and a tomato

Carrots, spinach, runner beans and a tomato




Ruskin Garden salad – recipe by Paula

Posted: June 24, 2014

Our clever steering committee member Paula has written this recipe blogpost using last week’s harvest. Yum!



Dig day 21 June

Posted: June 22, 2014

Despite the fairly late change to a Saturday dig, we had most of the regulars and several new faces. The weather was perfect. We cleared out the bolted spinach and chard, planted French beans and beetroot, put netting on the purple sprouting broccoli (decimated by pigeons), watered, weeded, and harvested lettuce, broad beans, peas, radishes, onions, gooseberries, raspberries.

Trees for Cities were launching their garden, which is looking great. They are running veg growing training during the week. We are going to explore ways to work together. First off they’ve offered to build sturdy supports for our tomatoes and beans (thanks!!)

We are very happy to welcome Sadie to the steering committee!


Thrive have published this fab guide to veg growing


Beans in their new bed


Raspberry harvest


Gooseberry harvest


So pretty!


Fruit harvesting


The bees are busy!

Sunday’s dig day

Posted: June 19, 2014

20140615_162211 20140615_162207The fruits of our labours are coming through now, literally! All the hard work preparing the soil, sowing the seeds, weeding, and watering has paid off and the beds are full of veg.

On Sunday we weeded and watered and harvested. The diggers agreed that I could take the harvest to the GLA judging visit for the Lambeth Food Flagship award. We had a huge pile of broad beans, potatoes, radishes, gooseberries, peas, raspberries, and lettuce. When Rosie Boycott, who’s judging the award, came to the Lambeth Food Partnership table, she asked if she could eat our peas. Have a look at the photo!


Dig day 18 May 2014

Posted: May 22, 2014

Last Sunday saw even more new gardeners, as well as some familiar faces. Maybe it was the glorious sunny weather that attracted everyone.

We planted out the the larger tomato plants into the beds, using canes to support them.
We also found a few volunteer tomatoes (ie plants that have grown on their own rather than being planted) which we dug up and potted for people to take home and try their hand at growing themselves.

There were some seeds that needed to be planted before they become unviable, so we planted turnips, radishes and courgettes straight into the beds.

After we’d finished planting, we gave all the beds a really good water.

Some beer traps have been laid to try and try and stop slugs helping themselves to the veg, but we will probably need to use some slug pellets too.

We harvested spinach and lettuce from the demonstration bed, plus a little rhubarb from the fruit cage – just enough for a small crumble! There are always herbs for those who want them too — we have a healthy supply of thyme, oregano, sage and mint.

Planting tomatoes

Digging holes in the mandala bed for tomatoes










Tying tomatoes to canes

Tying the young tomato plants to canes










Planting seeds

Planting courgette seeds










Tomato in the soil

Patting down the earth around a tomato plant













Harvested rhubarb


Dig day 11 May 2014

Posted: May 13, 2014

Lots of helping hands on Sunday made short work of the weeds. As well as weeding, we earthed up the potatoes and we planted chard seeds in the demonstration bed.
We didn’t plant the tomatoes because it was so windy it could have damaged the stems – we’ll plant them next week.
We had the first harvest of the year – a big pile of lettuce and a big pile of spinach. It was absolutely delicious. The spinach was a bit nibbled by slugs so Justin’s going to try some beer traps.
The garden is looking great – well weeded and nearly all the beds are planted up. We should have a great harvest.

An action shot, weeding the gooseberries

An action shot, weeding the gooseberries

Raspberries will be ready soon!

Raspberries will be ready soon!

The mandala bed weeded and ready for tomatoes

The mandala bed weeded and ready for tomatoes

Planting chard seeds

Planting chard seeds

The first harvest of the season

The first harvest of the season


Dig day 28 April

Posted: April 28, 2014

We had a lovely, mostly sunny afternoon yesterday. We planted many of the seedlings that we started on 2nd February – purple sprouting broccoli, squash, peas, beans, and sunflowers. Really satisfying to nurture them from seed. We did quite a lot of weeding, and some watering. We used twigs pruned from the trees to create a climbing frame for the peas, and made a tripod from bamboo for the beans. The garden is looking great, and we should have a big harvest. Look for the sunflowers along the fence as you pass the garden.

We have a few extra PSB plants, get in touch if you’re interested.

The sunflowers that we planted as seeds on Feb 2 went in.

The sunflowers that we planted as seeds on Feb 2 went in.

The fruit is looking great, particularly the rhubarb.

The fruit is looking great, particularly the rhubarb.

The bees are busy.

The bees are busy.

The broadbeans that we planted in November will be ready soon!

The broadbeans that we planted in November will be ready soon!

Purple sprouting broccoli seedlings planted out. We raised them from seed in the polytunnel - seeds started 2nd Feb.

Purple sprouting broccoli seedlings planted out. We raised them from seed in the polytunnel – seeds started 2nd Feb.

Another bed of peas with sticks to grow on, mixed in with volunteer potatoes.

Another bed of peas with sticks to grow on, mixed in with volunteer potatoes.

We've used sticks to build a frame for the peas to grow on.

We’ve used sticks to build a frame for the peas to grow on.

Self-seeded tomato seedlings, rescued from weeding.

Self-seeded tomato seedlings, rescued from weeding.

Dig 2nd March

Posted: March 2, 2014

20140302_161941We had a productive day in the garden. There are definitely signs of spring – the daffodils are beginning to come up. The overwintering broad beans and onions are looking good. And the seeds we planted four weeks ago are doing well in the polytunnel, thanks to our watering rota crew.
We weeded the fruit beds, much easier now that they’re protected by the fruit cage rather than netting. We also weeded a bed in the mandala bed.
And we planted a lot! We put in peas and chard in the veg beds. And nasturtiums, echinacea and poppies in the beds next to the beehives. We put twigs over the peas, as pea shoots are like candy to birds.
The crows have defeated our venetian blind labelling system, so we’ve tried something else this week. We’ve cut small white plastic pipes into lengths and written on them. Fingers crossed that will do the trick!

Dig 16th Feb 2014

Posted: February 18, 2014

With nice weather today were were able to get on with the various tasks: digging compost into the beds, planting Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Broad Beans, weeding and turning the compost. The seedling pots in the polly tunnel looked saturated so we drained the trays – waterers might want to keep an eye on that. We’re trying out a new system for marking the beds – marker pen on strips of old Venetian Blind (which, being longer than the markers we’ve used before, might be more resistant to crow-vandalism!) The garden’s been tidied and is looking nice after recent building work work.




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Dig 2nd February 2014

Posted: February 4, 2014


A good system allowed us to get lots of seeds planted on Sunday, including pumpkins, squash, sun flowers, tomatoes, spinach and chard. These are now in trays in the Polly tunnel where they’ll germinate over the next few weeks, some ready to plant when we meet in mid March. New garden infrastructure is almost complete. Next dig in two weeks time we’ll give the soil in the new raised beds some attention to make sure it’s ready for planting. We’ll also try to come up with a new system for marking the seeds planted – the crows have tended in the past to dig up our labels.  Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Broad Beans can be planted out and the compost can be turned.

Dig day Sunday 2-4pm

Posted: January 31, 2014

Come along Sunday 2-4 to plant up pots with seeds – everything from tomatoes to squash. We’ll raise the seedlings in the polytunnel. In 6-8 weeks we’ll plant them out and sell the spares to raise money for next year’s seeds and tools.
We’ll need to set up a watering rota so please get in touch if you can spare 15 min a week.

Today’s dig

Posted: January 19, 2014

20140119_145947We had a nice day in the garden, with low winter sun. There wasn’t a huge amount to do as nothing can be planted in January. We dug up all the parsnips from the bed – a bit like a treasure hunt as there were loads that weren’t visible. Our friendly robin stayed near to pounce on the exposed worms. And there are lots of worms in the soil, a sign of healthy soil. We each took home a big pile of parsnips, enough to make soup. The cold has prevented the weeds from growing, so we did the little weeding there was to do.
The overwintering broad beans, garlic and onions are looking good. The Trees for Cities work is well underway, with the compost beds being built. Still to go is the fruit cage and raised bed in the front.
Next dig day is 2 Feb, 2-4pm. We’ll be planting up seeds in pots to raise in the greenhouse. Some to plant out in the beds and some to sell to raise money for seeds, tools, etc.

Dig day yesterday

Posted: November 25, 2013

20131124_142359We had a really productive day yesterday, planting up onions, garlic and broad beans. Getting the veg in the ground now means we’ll get an earlier crop next spring.  We also weeded, and all the beds are looking great.

The new fence around the bees looks amazing. It’s from the planter boxes that were up at the South Bank.

Next dig day will be 8 December 1-3pm.

Dig 27th October 2013

Posted: October 27, 2013


Dig 6th October 2013

Posted: October 7, 2013

20131006_163710We had a fantastic day in the garden yesterday. The warm sunny weather brought out the diggers and we got loads done. We dug out the rest of the potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes, weeded nearly all the beds, and tidied up in preparation for the coming improvements in the garden. Trees for Cities has won a Pocket Parks grant which will be used to improve the area outside their offices and parts of the community garden. One of the most exciting improvements is a forest garden in the shady area in the front near the Denmark Hill end. Forest gardens are a permaculture concept and we’re hoping to organise a workshop on their design and maintenance.

20131006_163635Seb the beekeeper was there to do some hive maintenance.

Dig 29th September 2013

Posted: October 1, 2013

Good work done this week. Seeing that blight was beginning to appear on the tomatoes we decided to pick what we could and prepare those beds – perhaps for winter planting. Some of the green tomatoes are in the shed for ripening. We’ll make chutney with the rest. We dug out a barrow-load of nice-looking compost. There’s plenty more ready for use. Also harvested this week: Crab Apples.


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The Harvest Feast

Posted: September 23, 2013

harvestfeast2013-2We celebrated our fourth annual Harvest Feast on Saturday. It’s still a thrill to eat what we’ve grown, and it seems to taste particularly delicious. The table was overflowing with tasty dishes – jerusalem artichoke soup, roasted jerusalem artichokes, apple pie, pesto, potato/rosemary bread, crabapple jelly tarts, beetroot/carrot salad, fried green tomatoes, spinach/tomato salad, roasted pumpkin, sautéed kale, green tomato chutney, and more. We had a steady stream of eaters with many people keen to come back and dig on another day. We celebrated with the staff and gardeners from Thrive; it was great to meet them as we’re in the garden at different times. Thanks to Andrew for fab folk songs and sea shanties on the accordion, and to the Lewisham Concert Orchestra.

More pics here.

4 days to the Harvest Feast!

Posted: September 17, 2013

Final preparations are underway. Thrive have their dish list (pictured) and let us harvest kale (pictured) and pumpkin which we’ll cook and bring on the day. Lots of other dishes including crab apple jelly tarts (made with the crab apples in the community garden), roasted jerusalem artichokes, carrot/beetroot salad, and spinach and tomato salad. The weather looks decent and the Lewisham Brass Band will be playing.
So come along!!! 2-5pm, free, all welcome. If you want to bring something to share, please try to keep it local. Hope to see you there!!!blackkale thrive-dishlist

Yesterday’s dig day

Posted: September 9, 2013

Despite rain showers we had a very nice day at the garden yesterday. The weeds have been thriving in the rain, so we tackled them. The beds are looking really well tended. We harvested potatoes and tomatoes – the potatoes are absolutely delicious and taste nothing like supermarket ones.

20130908_163834The lettuce and radish seeds we planted last week have come up!

We’ve got carrots, tomatoes, beetroot, spinach, lettuce, potatoes, jerusalem artichokes, and courgettes to harvest for the harvest feast (Sat 21 Sept 2-5pm). We’ll harvest the potatoes and jerusalem artichokes this coming Sunday so people can take them to prepare a dish for the feast at home. Do come along this Sunday 3-5pm if you fancy cooking something.

We need a camp stove! Please get in touch info@ruskinparkcommunitygarden.org if you have one we can borrow for the Harvest Feast.

Dig 1st September 2013

Posted: September 1, 2013

20130901_171852We had a lovely productive day in the garden. We cleared the front bed and planted lettuce, radish and turnip – something to harvest in the darker days of winter. We also planted lettuce in on of the raised planters. Neil defeated the brambles that were attacking the compost and did quite a lot of strimming. We did lots of other weeding and watering, and harvested tomatoes, potatoes, blackberries, and onions. The garden is looking well loved.

We also harvested crabapples to make jelly – here’s a recipe. http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/7661/crab-apple-jelly. Delicious and easy.

The harvest feast is September 21, details to follow. We’ll prepare veg harvested from the garden and have a shared meal. Hopefully Seb will come with his ukelele and Andrew will bring his percussion instruments.

Sunday 11th August

Posted: August 15, 2013

WP_20130811_002We had a lovely sunny afternoon at the garden. Lots of weeding and tidying was done by Daniel, Darren & Kate. Neil and Maureen picked an abundance of blackberries, some beetroot & we shared a few potatoes that were dug up. Everything was given a good lot of water.

The tomato plants are looking healthy with lots of tomatoes on them – looking forward to enjoying them soon!

WP_20130811_001On the bee front this week, the beekeepers (Seb and Neil) gave the hive some attention to help out the bees and they are looking pretty happy.

Harvest Feast – we will be holding our annual harvest feast on Saturday 21st September. There will be yummy food to enjoy (mostly grown in the garden) and it’s a lovely time to enjoy being in the garden. More details to follow soon but make sure you have it in the diary!

Dig on Sunday 28th July

Posted: July 31, 2013

We had a super productive afternoon at the community garden with only a few of the predicted


rain showers interspersed with sun!

The demonstration beds were cleared & tidied, worm juice was given to the tomatoes, a few squash plants were planted out and we did a good amount of harvesting!Justin dug a load of potatoes up, Maureen dug some lovely coloured beetroot & a few onions and Kate pulled up all the garlic & has braided them together to hang & dry ready to bring back to the garden over the coming months.

WP_20130728_003Take a look at our harvest!

Dig 14th July 2013

Posted: July 14, 2013

A lovely day for sitting around and enjoying the heat – consequently not much gardening done today. The beds have had a good water though. Some work has been done managing the bees, which have been extremely busy building comb in various directions over the last few weeks. The tomatoes are looking healthy, as are the potatoes and the Jerusalem Artichokes. Next week more work can be done on the front beds – still looking a bit in need of attention.


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Fun in the sun

Posted: July 7, 2013

20130707_165820We had a lovely afternoon at the garden in the hot sun. We watered everything and harvested raspberries, black currants, gooseberries, rocket, radishes, and broad beans. We did quite a lot of weeding, and started work on trimming excess leaves from the tomatoes and staking them. Thanks very much to the person who donated the fantastic bamboo canes, they came in handy. Great to see new faces, old faces, and new-ish faces. A few of us were regularly checking the Wimbledon scores on our phone, and being cheered by the good news.
20130707_165400The garden is looking great. The onions and garlic are nearly ready to harvest. In the next few weeks we’ll start to have lots of potatoes, then loads of tomatoes and salad, and a good crop of chard and celeriac and carrots. And jerusalem artichokes and squash. The beds have really benefited from the application of manure earlier in the year. We left the borage in because the bees were loving the flowers. It is great to have bees again, and how cool to get them via a swarm!

Sunday 30th June

Posted: July 6, 2013

We had a lovely sunny dig on Sunday 30th June. There were 4 of us and we netted the salad and fruit beds to protect the crops from birds. Some of the fruit beds were weeded as well as the demonstration bed. Lots of watering was done too.

We had a lovely harvest of broad beans, rhubarb onions and garlic.


Transplanting seedlings

Posted: June 21, 2013

Transplanting salad seedlings

Transplanting salad seedlings

Last Sunday there were 3 of us at the garden on a nice & warm afternoon. We gave the broad beans some attention, staking them, cutting the tops off & spraying them with ecofriendly cleaner to help remove the black fly that have arrived.

Happy seedlings

Happy seedlings

We then tackled the big job of transplanting the salad seedlings from one of the hospital beds where they were running out of space. They are now housed in 2 hospital beds as well as the new bed alongside the fence. Lots of rocket and lettuce seedlings with much more space to fully grow now. You can watch them grow as you pass by the garden over the next few weeks.

Don’t forget there isn’t a dig day this Sunday as we will be at the Ruskin Park Summer Fair on Saturday 1-5pm. Hope you can come by our stall. Dig days will continue again from next Sunday.

Dig 9th June

Posted: June 13, 2013

Weeding and watering; work done on the front bed, which is ready for planting now. Compost is still waiting to be turned. There’s some more grass-cutting that could be done. Some of the fruit beds need netting. Everything’s coming up nicely.


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Posted: June 2, 2013

Excellent work done this week. Seeds planted include swede, kale, radish, lettuce, broccoli, sprouts and squash. The front bed has been prepared. We’re hoping to get sunflowers planted in there along with what’s on the planting plan. And some more time has been spent cutting the grass too. Within the next week or two we’ll try to get a watering rota organised, and hope for good yields as the weather warms up.

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Dig 26th May 2013

Posted: May 26, 2013

We’ve planted some Sunflower seeds – just in pots for now. Hopefully they can be put in the ground in a week or two when they’ve germinated – and when we’ve had time to prepare the front bed. The wormery has had some attention. Some more of the long grass has been cut. And we’ve give the beds a good watering.


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A couple more pics from Sunday’s dig

Posted: May 22, 2013




Dig 19th May 2013

Posted: May 19, 2013

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One or two new volunteers helped us make good progress today at the garden. We planted potatoes, beetroot, parsnips and onions, prepared beds for planting next week, weeded the beans and over-wintered onions, and cut the grass.

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Sunday 12th May

Posted: May 17, 2013

Despite the rain we have a pretty good turn out & enough muscle power to put the polytunnel cover on – wahay! We’ve now got somewhere to grow seedlings and to shelter out of the rain…

The bee hive was fully sterilised last week & is ready for new bees so keep your ears to the ground in case anyone is looking for somewhere for a home for some, we’re obviously very keen to fill the hive again.
It was a bit of spring cleaning day all round with the worms and the wormery getting a good bit of tlc from Justin. The grass was also strimmed & we harvested rocket, spinach & rhubard – yum!

Sorry for the lack of photos (the rain kept the cameras firmly hidden!), promise to take some this Sunday but if you’re passing through the park you can see evidence that the polytunnel now has plastic on for yourself! Or on Sunday at the dig.

Dig day 5th May

Posted: May 7, 2013

We had a lovely dig in the warm afternoon sun. After doing a bit of weeding, we dug trenches for potatoes and planted them up. We did some more weeding, adding lots of worm compost to a bed, then planted three varieties of squash (squash need lots of nutrients). And we weeded some more then planted two varieties of carrots. We also planted tomato seedlings, and built a bamboo support for them.


20130505_154746The overwintered broad beans are looking good, as are the onions.

Dig 28th April 2013

Posted: April 28, 2013

It was good to see some new volunteers today. We planted squash, lettuce and spinach, broad beans & courgettes.

The sad news is that the bees have not survived. It’s not clear exactly why, but weather and disease are likely to have been contributing factors. We will try to get another colony established later in the year. The advice is to clear out and sterilize the hive, which we’ll do in the next few weeks. In the meantime it’s been sealed to stop bees or other insects getting in, a measure against possible infection. There is some honey. We’ll drain it from the comb then jar it to share with community gardeners.

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Dig 14th April 2013

Posted: April 19, 2013

Pictures show what’s been growing over winter: beans, garlic and onions. The onions have not done very well – all except for one row which, coincidentally, is the one not covered by the netting. Any explanations?

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Dig day – 31 March Easter Sunday

Posted: April 1, 2013

Lovely to be in the garden and see a little bit of spring. We did quite a lot of weeding, particularly in the herb bed which was overrun with grass. At times the sun shone brightly and at times it snowed.
The daffodils are blooming, and ducks have taken up residence in our micro-pond. Three of them were feasting on something at the bottom of the pond.
Mystery solved! For years our small white plastic veg tags have been dug out of the ground and strewn around by something. Yesterday we saw black birds aggressively pecking at the white plastic tags on the newly planted shrubs next door. They must think the tags are food!
Despite all odds, our overwintering broad beans are thriving, and the rhubarb is growing well. The compost has been spread over all the beds, replenishing the soil. All in all the garden is looking well loved.

Dig 24th March 2013

Posted: March 25, 2013

A cold day at the garden – good day for digging! Hopefully the ditch round the polytunnel is deep enough now so we can get the plastic on soon.

polytunnel, artichokes & pond

Posted: March 20, 2013

Look forward to seeing you this Sunday 1-3pm. There’s lots of planting to be done (tomatoes, lettuce, chard, spinach, sunflowers, carrots & parsnips) and if we get enough hands on deck we can finish putting the polytunnel up, just in time to keep our seedlings warm.

Today we planted lots of broad beans & peas with a local nursery group (in the hail!) & the seeds would love to be moved out of the shed & into the polytunnel.

We had a really successful day on Sunday 10th with 6 of us braving the cold, and rewarded ourselves with a slice (or 2) of lovely Mother’s Day cake that Jackie & Esme brought. We planted jerusalem artichokes, dug in the green manure to help it mix in with the soil, cleared the leaves out of the pond (with Esme getting in the pond), dug a trench around the polytunnel frame and covered the round bed with compost. We also harvested some beetroot & found a few stray potatoes amongst the green manure!

We’re going to be having weekly digs again now that its Springtime and from Sunday 31st March the garden will be open 3-5pm each week.

See you on Sunday!

Dig 10th Feb 2013

Posted: February 11, 2013

Too cold and wet for much work on the garden this weekend. We secured the fleece over the beans, checked the compost containers and the wormery, then closed up early. Here are some pictures taken during recent snow.

Help needed on Wed 30th & the resident robin

Posted: January 30, 2013

Dear Gardeners,

Call for help! If you have a bit of time to spare this afternoon and would like to get some exercise – please come down to the garden to help us move compost & manure from 1.30pm. They have been delivered to help us nourish the planting beds but couldn’t be deposited in the garden so have got to be moved! We’ve got wheelbarrows, spades & gloves but need some muscle power – after all many hands make light work!

It was a lovely sunny, if not a bit windy, afternoon on Sunday in the garden. We investigated how the compost bins are doing and turned & watered one of the pallet bins to encourage it to rot down – its looking very good!
We also had a lovely encounter with the resident robin getting very close to Seb’s big boots and singing to us! Can you spot it?

Next dig day is 10th February 1-3pm.

all the best,

The Community Gardeners

Dig day today

Posted: January 13, 2013

20130113_141716We had a lovely day in the garden today. It was cold and sunny. We weren’t sure what there was to do but ended up being really productive. Neil built a new compost bin for the raked leaves. In making room for the new bin we dug out a lot of compost ready to use on the beds, so we covered the squash bed with a thick layer. We put the recycled plastic edging around the front bed – it will stop the grass from encroaching. We did quite a lot of weeding. Justin tended the wormery. We covered up the second pea and broad bean bed with fleece, and the spinach in the front with netting (the birds were munching it).
We harvested rocket and the rest of the brussels sprouts and cabbage.

Dig 30th Decemer 2012

Posted: December 30, 2012

We dug out the old broccoli today and harvested some sprouts, weeded the onion bed, replanted some of the garlic bulbs (probably dug up by squirrels) then hoed the rest of the bed. Also used the strimmer to tidy up the edges. The fruit bed nearest the shed has been tidied and dug over, and the netting frames straightened.

The soil seems pretty saturated. It might be good to get compost dug in soon if we can. There are more sprouts to harvest next dig, and beetroots. Daffodils are coming up already under the willow tree.

Thrive Project – opportunity to join

Posted: December 22, 2012

Dig It!

Dig It! is a community food growing project reaching disabled people and the wider community living in Wandsworth, Lambeth and Southwark and will  operate from Larkhall and Ruskin Parks starting in November 2012.

Dig It! aims to encourage disabled people, particularly those living with mental ill health to:

  • gain vocational and volunteering skills
  • improve their job prospects
  • improve their health and well being
  • become active members of their community
  • participate in affordable food growing to understand the benefits of healthy living

Dig It! is comprised of two proven and established Thrive programmes:

Working it Out

A vocational training and personal development programme designed to enable unemployed disabled Londoners to gain the skills and qualifications they need to progress towards employment.


A supported volunteering programme which is designed to enable people to develop volunteering skills; to overcome their disability related barriers to independence and move on to take up volunteer roles in the community – specifically in the Dig It! food growing gardens after the end of the project placement.

Both gardening programmes will run on various weekdays:

  • Ruskin Park
    • Working it Out
    • Pathways

Both 1 day per week on a Monday

  • Larkhall Park
    • Working it Out
    • Pathways session

Both 1 day per week on a Wednesday, Thursday or Friday

If you would like anymore information on Thrives programmes please contact

Shirley Wisbach on 020 7720 2212 or email shirley.wisbach@thrive.org.uk

Dig 16th December 2012


We dug up the last of the Rocket today, cleared that bed and put some of the newly produced worm-cast in. The circular bed has also had work done on its border with bricks added – previously being used in the shed for shelving but no longer needed there now we’ve got a new upright unit. Some of the leaves raked and piled last week have been bagged. We wonder if anyone from the park will be willing to remove them, although notice there doesn’t seem to be much leaf-clearing going on elsewhere. The beds with fleece are not looking too good. Maybe next time we can find a better solution. Otherwise, bees looking happy, onions surviving despite the squirrels.

Congratulations to Capital Growth

Posted: December 18, 2012

From Capital Growth:

We’ve done it!

The Capital Growth team is really pleased to announce that we’ve reached the target of supporting 2,012 community food-growing spaces in London by the end of 2012.

The 2,012th space was announced on Friday, 14th December as St Charles Centre for Health and Wellbeing in Kensington & Chelsea. For further information about the project, as well as what has been achieved in the last 4 years, please go to http://www.capitalgrowth.org/press/14_12_2012/ and to join in the celebration visit us on facebook www.facebook.com/capitalgrowth or post on twitter @capital_growth #wemadeit

We’d like to remind everyone that our work doesn’t stop here. We’ll be back in 2,013 to support the projects in our network as well as others who want to grow food in London.

Finally, we’d like to thank everyone for their help and involvement over the last four years, whether you are a member of one of the 22 borough councils who committed to supporting Capital Growth, one of the Local Lead groups who supported spaces in your borough on behalf of Capital Growth, or one of the 98,000 people who have been growing food at a space supported by Capital Growth.

See you in 2013!

The Capital Growth team

Repurposed building materials

Posted: December 15, 2012

Kate’s saved some old carpet, pallets, shelving, and a wooden rack. We rented a zipvan and took it to the garden. We’ll use the carpet to cover bare beds (prevent weeds from growing, nutrients washing away) and to cover the compost (the hotter it is the faster it decomposes). The wooden rack is perfect to support peas or beans. And the shelving has already found a home in the shed.

Today’s dig

Posted: December 2, 2012

There was loads of garlic as it happens – now all in the ground :o)

Beautiful wintry weather for a bit of gardening;

we dug over the compost heaps a little, and spread some of the more mature stuff on the beds

we’ve covered the beans and peas with some fleece

we planted several rows of garlic

we harvested the last of the jerusalem artichokes (quote impressive!), as well as taking a little rocket and some sage

Today’s dig

Posted: November 18, 2012

20121118_131921We had a nice sunny dig day, weeding, harvesting, and getting the garden ready for winter. The garden is looking well loved. We’re on top of the weeding, raking, and grass trimming. We’ve got broad beans, peas and onions in for the winter. And we still have spinach, runner beans, broccoli, cabbage, leeks, radishes, and jerusalem artichokes going.  The bees are still busily buzzing around.

We put fleece over the broad beans. They’ll overwinter and be ready early in the season, but they’ve gotten big enough that they need protection. We’ll get more fleece to finish covering them and also to cover the other bed of peas and broad beans.  Also we’ll get some garlic to plant up at the next dig day. We’ll need to put edging around the new bed in the front, otherwise the grass will take over.

The very friendly robin was standing by as we weeded, ready to snack on any worms we dug up.

We had a great harvest of runner beans, broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, radishes, and sprout tops.

Dig Day just gone

Posted: November 6, 2012

407well it was a typical autumn day with blustery wet spells (which i think gave us the low turnout) however the rain passed and we were left with enough people power and enthusiasm to do the jobs on the list. Firstly Neil did a great job of getting the shelves in the shed up and running to finally get some order in there and the rest of us were left to dig a hole in the ground and then put a membrane in the hole and fill that membrane with sand and water. This has left the RPCG with its newest addition of extra spaces…a pond. This is very much an experiment to see if a pond works for all the residents of the gardens but for now fingers crossed as it was back breaking work for two of us for the afternoon. We also harvested a couple of squash which were delicious, i found this recipe for them. http://spryliving.com/recipes/crusted-pumpkin-wedges-with-sour-cream/
see you all in a couple of weeks.

Dig 28th October 2012

Posted: November 1, 2012

We had a lovely sunny Sunday at the Community Garden this week. We tackled the big and seemingly endless job of raking leaves & will be using the leaves to make leaf mulch in a years time. The wormery was tended to by Justin & the liquid gold was given to some of the young plants. Neil began building shelves for the shed and we had a lovely harvest of jerusalem artichokes, beetroot, squash, mini radishes and a few tomatoes.

We look forward to seeing you this Sunday – lots to do!

Dig 21st October 2012

Posted: October 21, 2012

Too dull for decent pictures today but they show: one or two new fruit-bush frames, work on herb beds to cut back the more vigorous plants – lemon thyme especially, bubble-wrap round wormery to keep it functioning as the weather gets colder, path cleared between the willow tree and the front bed, beans coming up nicely. We harvested a few Jerusalem Artichokes, which look better than the last lot; also bean, spinach and herbs.

Gardening Volunteers wanted for kids’ gardening project

Posted: October 16, 2012


Between the Tracks – the after school club for the Lairdale, Peabody Hill and Rosendale Road estates – needs volunteers to help run a gardening project.

You should enjoy being with young people and know how to pass on your basic gardening skills.

This is a great opportunity to launch young people on the path to becoming enthusiastic gardeners.

You would need to be free on Mondays or Wednesdays 3.30–6.00, preferably weekly.

All volunteers have to complete a CRB check.

Interested? Contact Christopher Pick 07432 118859 info@4-all.org.uk

Sunday’s dig


20121014_155723It was a sunny but chilly day. We weeded quite a lot, and got started digging a new bed in the front. We had a varied harvest of tomatoes, courgette, broccoli, brussels sprouts, runner beans, carrots, rocket, and radishes. This is the first year we’ve had any success with brussels sprouts, very exciting. If you walk by the garden you can see the pretty scarlet flowers on the runner beans. They are supported by one of the veg supports we built with skip wood. We’ve just had another successful skip dive (the owners were very happy to have us take their old loft beams) so we’ll be able to finish the supports for the fruit netting and build another veg support.

Dig 7th October

Posted: October 12, 2012

We put some netting on one of the big frames today, then positioned it over the recently planted beans, transplanting a few which would have been left exposed otherwise.

Some research on proposed pond-building suggests the corner we’d thought suitable might not in fact be ideal – apparently a pond should be in direct sun and not under trees where falling leaves can be a problem. But since we don’t have too many choice spots maybe it’s worth giving it a shot and digging where we planned anyhow.

There are some beans ready to harvest in the front bed, and another squash or two ready, more Jerusalem Artichokes to pick, and some spinach.

The strimmer is working again – new guard fitted.

Dig Sunday 30th September

Posted: October 2, 2012

New onion bed under netting

We had a lovely warm and dry afternoon on Sunday at the community garden. There were only 3 of us volunteering but we got a good amount done. Lots of peas and some broad bean seeds were planted. Onion sets were also planted and netting was put up to try to keep squirrels off from squashing them – do keep an eye on these as if the netting doesn’t do the job we may have to use the stick technique from the last few years.

Bed 3 was weeded and marigolds from bed 8 were transplanted along the edge, where tomatoes will be grown next year. We also had a lovely harvest of squash, spinach, yellow tomatoes and I’ve taken the sunflower heads home to dry them (they were being enjoyed by wildlife!).


We had quite a few visitors who wanted to have a look around – don’t forget to come along on Sundays afternoons to see what we’ve been up to recently even if you don’t have time to volunteer at the moment!

Dig September 30th

Posted: October 1, 2012

The Harvest Feast

Posted: September 24, 2012

The beginning of the summer was incredibly wet, so yesterday’s soggy feast was a fitting end. Despite difficult growing conditions we had a reasonable harvest and a really delicious feast. Neil’s jerusalem artichoke soup was very yummy, and warming. Mastoor brought some piquant spiced apple and Mark brought tasty bread that included community garden potatoes and homegrown rosemary. We had jam tarts made from last year’s crabapple jelly. And carrot/beetroot salad, sauteed courgettes, salad with radish and tomatoes, steamed broccoli, and potato salad. Not sure if it was because it was so fresh or just from the novelty of cooking outdoors, but it all seemed particularly tasty. We also got to taste a tiny bit of the honey from our bees. It had a really distinctive taste, maybe from all the herbs in the garden.
Claudia from Trees for Cities came along so we could use their kitchen, and was a big help with washing the veg as well as being great company. Thanks to Jean for the loan of her camp stove, and to Local Greens for the use of their marquee.
Very wet, but very fun and very tasty.
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Sunday’s dig

Posted: September 20, 2012

We had a lovely day at the garden weeding and planting. We had a final look to see what’s going to be ready for the harvest feast and planned the menu. Despite a bad year for veg (because of the wet weather) we’ve got lots to eat.
The sunflowers are in full bloom.




Harvest Feast – this Sunday 23 Sept 4-7 pm

Posted: September 18, 2012

Please come, all welcome!
We’ll harvest and cook the veg, then eat together, have a brief bees talk and some music.
On the menu:
beetroot/carrot salad
roasted squash
sauteed courgettes
steamed broccoli
salad – spinach, tomatoes, radish
jerusalem artichoke soup
Please bring something to drink. And if you want to bring food, the theme is local, e.g. an apple crumble from local apples. Hope to see you Sunday!

pics from Sunday 9th

Posted: September 13, 2012

Last Sunday’s dig


A very productive day’s work in the garden, in glorious late summer sunshine

Main tasks were preparing some of the beds (clearing, weeding, feeding), allowing us to sow some turnips, spinach and winter lettuce, as well as some green manure (the Phaecelia that was so successful last year). A whole extra unexpected crop of potatoes was unearthed in the process…

In addition there was lots of weeding, watering, trimming and general tidying, and the compost heaps got some much-needed attention. We’ve started the process of returning some of that goodness to the soil, with several barrowloads of compost added to the existing beds.

Sunday’s dig

Posted: September 6, 2012

We had a lovely late summer day, and with all the tending the garden is looking great. We did a fair amount of weeding, took out the blighted tomatoes, watered, and harvested tomatoes, green tomatoes, beans, spinach, oregano, courgettes, broccoli, raspberries, and blackberries.
20120902_151758We’ll use the green tomatoes from the blighted plants for chutney, ready for the harvest feast. It’s been a bad year for blight because of the wet weather. Here’s some more info


20120902_152447Unlike last year when they were groaning with fruit, the crab apples have hardly any fruit. The cold wet weather has severely reduced the apple and pear crop this year. Here’s an article about it.
On a happier note, the Harvest Feast will be 23 September. We’ll have a dig day 4-5pm, while some of us harvest and prepare the veg. Then the feast will be 5-7pm. Seb promises to bring his ukelele, and to give an update on the bees, which are thriving. Please come along! If you fancy it bring a dish prepared from local food. We’ll have jam tarts from blackberries harvested from Norwood Cemetery and plums harvested from Sainsbury’s parking lots.
We’re about to start our winter planting – winter salad, green manure, and in November overwintering broad beans and peas.

Sunday’s dig

Posted: August 21, 2012

IMAG0838Well well what a August dig day it was, heavy afternoon shower over the garden just to make us think there was one less job on the list. However the general temperature was so high that rainfall soon evaporated and five of us set about weeding the beds, trimming the sides, preparing the wire for the beans to grow and harvesting a fine crop of potatoes, carrots, beans and some delicious blackberries.
Sadly the strimmer has taken a turn for the worse so we will be cutting the grass with scissors until repair, not an enviable task! Only kidding on the scissor front.
The fruit beds are all coming on nicely and hope to have them all protected from the birds before long.


The community gardeners.

Today’s dig

Posted: August 12, 2012

20120812_154239We had a busy productive dig in the hot sun today. We planted lettuce, spinach, and radishes, weeded, watered, trimmed the grass, took excess leaves off the tomatoes, and took the last of the broad beans out. We harvested green beans, broad beans, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, courgette, and garlic. The garden is looking great – well tended and bountiful.
A new volunteer, Justin, has donated his wormery. Wormeries compost food waste very effectively and produce amazing compost. A big thanks to Justin from our veg beds!

Last Sunday’s dig

Posted: August 2, 2012

20120729_163901Several of us braved a brief thunderstorm and ended up weeding in the sunshine. And we did loads of weeding! The beds are looking really good. Neil started to put the netting up to protect the fruit bushes from the birds. We planted runner beans in the front. We got a great harvest of french beans, broad beans, garlic, potatoes, and herbs.

Dig 22nd July

Posted: July 27, 2012

One or two new volunteers helped us make good progress with the weeding. The front beds are also looking a bit tidier, seeds sprouting in the raised beds. Some strimming was done too (strimmer needs a new wire). We staked the tomato plants. Decided not to harvest, so there will be beans to pick this coming Sunday

Today’s dig day (in the sun!)

Posted: July 15, 2012

20120715_160804We had a brilliant day in the garden – the sun was out and loads of people came.  Several newish volunteers and one, James, who was once a regular but hadn’t been for a year. All those hands meant we got tons done and the garden is looking quite a bit better. At the front we strimmed, weeded all the beds, removed the ammunition boxes which never worked as planters, and planted runner beans, chard, spinach, lettuce, radish, and beetroot. It’s still a mystery what ate the potatoes plants – at one point they seemed to be thriving. We cleared out the finished broad beans, and dug up some potatoes – Kestrel, a delicious variety with purple bits on the skin. We weeded most beds, and admired our first courgette. Quite a lot of the long grass got strimmed as well. And we planted out the basil plants that Jackie bought from Brockwell Park Community Greenhouses. The carrots, sunflowers, beans, squash, peas, and tomatoes are all coming on. The brassicas are getting a bit munched even though they’re netted, but I think we’ll get something from them.

Dig Sunday 8th July

Posted: July 8, 2012

Thanks to all for braving the rain today. Excellent work done weeding the fruit beds. We’ve also planted two or three more tomato plants, which were outgrowing their pots, and a couple of basil plants – not sure if they’re the right place but they can be moved if not. It was too wet to use the strimmer today, so that’s a job for next weekend. The garden is well watered at the moment! Bees looking happy.

Sunday’s dig

Posted: July 4, 2012

sam_0196We had a lovely afternoon in the sun yesterday after a short sharp burst of rain at the beginning. Seb came along for a little bit to check on the bees & Ryan, a new volunteer, turned up – thank god as no one else came  all afternoon. We tidied up the entrance by the gate & did some litter picking. Lots of weeding of the broad bean bed & trimming the grass around the bed and a bit around the courgettes/potatoes. It looks much tidier but still lots & lots of weeding to be done in the coming weeks after all this rain! I also showed a few people around that came passed. Some seedlings are finally coming up after a bit of sun including carrots so keep an eye out for these emerging.

To be able to catch up on all the work – especially after last week not having a proper dig day & this week just being 2 of us – we really need lots of people down to help out in the coming weeks.

Harvested lots broad beans & a few gooseberries.

Stag beetle sightings?


London Wildlife Trust is calling on Londoners to report any sightings of stag beetles this summer in order to help improve conservation measures for this fascinating globally endangered creature. We also want to know about lesser stag beetle sightings across London. http://www.wildlondon.org.uk/stag-beetle-survey-2011-12
As well as recording your sightings of stag beetles there’s lots you can do to help them, especially if you have access to a garden. Download the stag beetle advice note for guidance on how to build a stag beetle log pile and for some great wildlife gardening tips and advice take a look at our Wildlife Gardening Pack.

Seen a stag beetle this year? Complete our Stag Beetle Survey to let us know!

How to spot a stag beetle

• You are most likely to find a stag beetle near or on dead wood
• It’s between 5cm and 8cm long
• It’s got large antler shaped jaws
• The male’s jaws are very large
• The female’s jaws are smaller but more powerful
• Adults emerge from the soil beneath logs or tree stumps from mid-May til late July
• Males are often seen flying on sultry summer evenings an hour or two before dusk

The fete

Posted: June 26, 2012

Thanks to Friends of Ruskin Park for putting on a fantastic event. Loads of people, no rain, and festive music. We sent lots of kids home with planted up seeds. Thanks very much to Kate for organising the stall and Cosmo for peopling it. Mark ran the dig day but didn’t have many takers as the fete was so alluring. He did a bunch of weeding by his lonesome







Help London’s house sparrows and take part in the RSPB Cockney Sparrow Count 18 June to 12 July!


The Cockney sparrow was once a regular fixture in our London gardens, parks and squares. However, the city lost 68% of them between 1994 and 2000. The RSPB are asking Londoners to spend an hour, sometime between 18 June and 12 July, looking for house sparrows in their gardens and/or local green spaces and parks. It will help identify where populations are doing well, just clinging on or faring badly.

The survey can be done anywhere in Greater London and the more people that get involved, the better the information will be! The information you give them will help inform their conservation efforts to save this iconic London bird. For further information and access to the survey site visit www.rspb.org.uk/sparrowcount or email CSC@rspb.org.uk

The project is being run in partnership with the London Wildlife Trust and Greenspace information for Greater London (GiGL) as part of the London Biodiversity Partnership.

Ruskin Park Summer Fete, Saturday 1-4pm

Posted: June 18, 2012

We’ll be there running a seed planting stall, and will have our dig day at the same time (no dig Sunday).

Yesterday’s dig


20120617_162004We had a sunny (yeah!) productive day. We did quite a lot of weeding. Roger and Naomi started on the fruit beds, which have lots of grass in them. Mark, Nicola, Naomi, and I worked on the mandala bed, and we edged most of the bed with bricks recovered from a skip – it’s looking great. Neil and Mark strimmed the grass, which had gotten very long with all the rain we’ve had. Nicole and the boys did quite a lot of watering, and we planted sunflowers. And I planted up the marigolds donated by Jill (the Local Greens packing manager) next to the tomatoes and squash.

20120617_162019They are a companion plant: “MARIGOLDS: (Calendula): Given a lot of credit as a pest deterrent. Keeps soil free of bad nematodes; supposed to discourage many insects. Plant freely throughout the garden. The marigolds you choose must be a scented variety for them to work. One down side is that marigolds do attract spider mites and slugs.” We harvested broad beans, onions, carrots, and radishes.

Sunday’s dig

Posted: June 12, 2012

sam_0162We had a productive afternoon in the garden this week despite the promise of rain. Good to see that the weather forecast didn’t put off two new people, Diane & Naomi, from coming along.
We gave the broad beans some attention by nipping the black fly tops off & spraying them with ecover. Lots of weeding was done in the vegetable beds. carrot seeds were planted in the mandala bed, lettuce & turnip seeds planted in bed 4 (either side of the radishes). Tomatoes, onions & broad beans were supported/protected with sticks. Radishes & onions were thinned & harvested, also got a few broad beans & carrots. netting was re supported in a few beds, particularly to stop the birds getting at the brassicas.

Today’s dig

Posted: June 3, 2012

We had a jubilee dig. We weeded, planted chard and turnips, put twine up between the fruit supports, and put in a permanent hosepipe from the tap. We harvested broad beans, radishes, and oregano. All the seedlings we put in last week are settling in.
The header tank is full now so watering will be much easier. Neil is going to organise a rota so if you can help please email info@ruskinparkcommunitygarden.org.

Bees update

Posted: June 1, 2012

Pictures of some of the freshly made comb. Created entirely by our bees in the short time they have been there. Really shows that they are settling in and busy improving things. Full of eggs and pupae as well. Amazing!









Today’s dig

Posted: May 27, 2012

20120527_154250We had a lovely warm day in the garden.  We planted courgette, butternut squash, french beans, and tomato seedlings. We weeded and watered. Cosmo strimmed the grass. We have been able to start using compost that we’ve made, very exciting.

Cosmo put up the sign he had made about dig days, it looks great and lots of people stopped to read it.

20120527_171856We harvested the first of the broad beans, some juicy radishes, and the rest of the chicory (it had bolted). The gooseberries are nearly ready to harvest and the white currants should follow soon after. The onions are nearly ready as well.

The bees were buzzing away, going in and out of the hive. Nice to have them keep us company.

Sunday’s dig

Posted: May 22, 2012

2012-05-20_15-421-09We had a super productive afternoon. Planted lots of veg straight into the beds – parsnips, courgettes, scorconzera, squash plus one pumpkin (thanks to Esmie)

Everyone did a great job digging in compost on both sides of the polytunnel beds. These are now ready for the polytunnel to go up.

The last of the green manure was pulled out & courgettes seeds were panted in-between the random potatoes that have popped up.

Andrew trimmed the grass around some of the beds. Fruit beds also got some more weeding.

Had to do lots of trips with watering cans to the tap at the one o’clock club as the hose still hasn’t reappeared!

Seb has been observing the bees too.

Free veg growing workshop in Herne Hill – kids welcome

Posted: May 18, 2012

Grow your own veg – a free daytime workshop by Local Greens and Garden Organic

Friday 1st June, 11.30 – 12.30
The Florence, 131-133 Dulwich Road, Herne Hill
Whether you have an allotment, small garden or just a windowsill, everyone can grow their own salad, herbs or veg.
Growing your own food can be fun, it tastes great and you will have a ready supply of fresh food. This hands on workshop run by a Garden Organic Master
Gardener will help you get started, plan your planting and you can sow some seeds in a pot to take away. There will be a question and answer session at the end.
All welcome – including children of all ages who can also sow their own seeds.
Places limited so to book your free place please email info@localgreens.org.uk.
The Florence is a lovely pub across from Brockwell Park and very near Herne Hill train station. http://www.capitalpubcompany.com/the-florence/
The Master Gardener programme is a volunteer led scheme managed by Garden Organic, the UK’s leading organic growing charity.

Sunday’s dig


2012-05-13 13.35.43 20120513_120545 20120513_120555

We had an extended dig and sold biscuits for the Five Parks Walkers. But the truly exciting bit is that the bees have arrived! Seb and Caroline spent most of the day getting them settled in. Thanks for Neil for some last minute carpentry on the hive.

We did lots of weeding, particularly in the fruit beds, which were overgrown with grass, and watered the new seedlings. We planted some brassicas donated by Ram (thanks!). We planted some more lettuce. And Andrew and his son and daughter dug over one side of the polytunnel beds, and contributed some very delicious welsh cakes for the biscuit stall.

The phaecelia is in full bloom, just in time for the bees.

Sunday – extended dig day 12-4pm

Posted: May 9, 2012

We’ll have an extended dig day on Sunday as we’re going to be the Ruskin Park checkpoint for the Five Parks Walk. There’s loads to do – planting seeds, digging over the new polytunnel beds, and weeding the fruit beds. We’ll also be selling biscuits to the walkers to raise money for seeds, etc so if you feel like baking please drop off your goodies at the garden at 12.

The Five Parks Walk is a lovely way to explore the area – http://madforbrockwellpark.com/2012/04/29/five-parks-walk-sunday-13-may/ so if you don’t have plans, do the walk and then stay in the community garden for some digging!

Dig day 6th May

Posted: May 8, 2012

20120506_171819We had a fantastic day. The garden is definitely springing into spring, despite the weather. The flowers from last year’s Chelsea Flower Show Eden Project garden are flowering, as is the cherry tree that Cosmo rescued. The rhubarb is big, and the broad beans are even bigger.

20120506_171729We put up the screen to protect the beehive. It also will ensure that when the bees fly out they are above head height.The bees arrive this week! Seb has been doing training via Capital Bee and has an experienced mentor, Caroline. We will practice ‘natural’ or non-interventionist bee-keeping. The goal is to keep the bees alive, rather than harvesting honey.

Rochelle added comfrey leaves to water to make plant food. It will stew for a month or two in the shed (and make an atrocious smell). Then we can use it.

20120506_161445A local nursery had seedlings in need of a home, so there were lots of kids and parents planting. As we were a bit behind in our planting it was great to have the seedlings, and the kids had fun digging (and the parents, who were bemused by how deep potato trenches need to be).

We also planted broccoli and swede seeds, and did loads of weeding. And Seb and Kate made very yummy toffee and stem ginger cookies to keep us going. We harvested carrots, chicory, and chard.

Trees for Cities has lifted the turf on the area where the polytunnel will go. On Sunday we’ll dig it over and add compost, then they’ll put the polytunnel up. A very big thanks to Ben for all his help.

Dig 29th April

Posted: May 4, 2012

Nothing much to report this week. Two more posts for fruit nets were dug in, the scarecrow was righted after winds knocked it over. The ground is very wet.

Street Food:Seven Herb Porridge 七草粥 – come and find the herbs and cook the dish!

Posted: May 1, 2012

七草粥, “seven herb porridge”

Come and find the herbs for a seven herb porridge, eaten in Japan for the new year ritual of nanakusa-gayu to invite good luck and longevity for the coming year. It is possible to find all of the original herbs in this country and many of them growing wild. We’ll do our best to find them.

The traditional herbs are:

Water dropwort, Shepherd’s Purse, Cudweed, Chickweed, Nipplewort, Turnip, radish

Free. Places limited. Please contact to book


Thursday 3rd May 2012 10.30 – 1 Myatt’s Fields Park

If it rains we’ll go to Ceri’s house near the park to cook the dish, if it’s fine, we’ll cook in the park.

Street Food by Invisible Food is a month by month calendar for foraging in an urban environment including what you can find and way of cooking that reflect cultural diversity in London. It’s about world food, community building, and imaginative, holistic connective work.  The book connects both urban spatial awareness and nature awareness and new recipe creation of world-wild food.


Incredible Edible Lambeth Workshop

Posted: April 20, 2012

April 28, 2 – 3.30pm
in the by the bandstand cafe on Clapham Common

This is the first of a series of five, one a month April – August which will lead to the harvest feasts in September in Myatt’s Fields, and the Incredible Edible AGM and feast at the Garden Museum in October. Each session will have three aspects:

– share your expertise on growing and tell us what you want to know
– explore opportunities to generate income from growing
– network with others involved in community growing

RSVP your attendance on http://projectdirt.com/group/incredibleediblelambeth. You can also contact us on incredibleediblelambeth@gmail.com, putting ‘workshops’ in the subject line.

On April 28th we’ll be looking at what to sow under three headings: what do the community gardeners want, what are good crops to sell, crops for winter storage.
Facilitator: Fiona Law (IEL member, South London Master Gardener Coordinator, Lambeth resident/grower, horticultural trainer)
Special guest: Natasha Soares, local growing coordinator with Herne Hill/Dulwich/East Dulwich veg box scheme, Local Greens

The Great Compost Givewaway and Pumpkin Seed Sowing Event


Incredible Edible Lambeth and London Borough of Lambeth bring you a co-production:

The Great Clapham Common Compost Giveaway and Pumpkin Seed Sowing Event!

Saturday 28th April 2012
11 – 3 in the by the bandstand cafe on Clapham Common

– Bring a barrow, a bucket, a bag or a buggy and take away green waste compost made on Clapham Common – it’s free!
– Plant a pumpkin seed and find out about Incredibible Edible Lambeth’s harvest festival pumpkin competition in October – free again!
– Get gardening and compost advice from the South London Master Gardeners – free!
– Tell IEL and LBL what you need for growing and give your views on recycling food waste for compost

Please come along. It’s a great chance to get growing, meet other local people into growing, and find out about Incredible Edible Lambeth. This is for anyone and everyone – please spread the word!

(click here for more info)

Lambeth Growing Hubs Gathering


Sat 21st April (THIS COMING SAT) 11am – 1pm in the Picture Room in Brockwell Hall, Brockwell Park
Your chance to be part of creating the first ever cooperative community for community growing groups

As you know, the Lambeth Growing Hubs project aims to enable the 114 community gardening, food growing, horticultural and wildlife projects in Lambeth to work together to share skills and resources by creating three “Growing Hubs” (in Myatts Fields, in Brockwell Greenhouses and in Streatham Rookery). The Growing Hubs will be places where groups can access training, support and share skills. I’m really excited about this project: there is so much potential for the Lambeth Growing Hubs to be a vibrant co-operative community that will take the struggle out of community growing- simply by making cooperation easier.

Thanks so much for filling in the online questionnaire. This has given us a good idea about what training, support, and resources you (the growing groups) need and where we should be going with the Lambeth Growing Hubs project. However, there is nothing like face to face discussion for getting a really good idea of what the Lambeth Growing Hubs Project should be focusing on first.

On Saturday, we’ll be handing over to you to tell us what you would like the Lambeth Growing Hubs Project to do. I personally promise to make this a really fun participatory gathering of like minded people with lots of opportunities to network and share. The meeting will feature

Introduction to the Growing Hubs Project and to the Growing Hubs
What the online questionnaire has told us
Over to you: you tell us what the Lambeth Growing Hubs should be doing
Joint funding bids ideas shop
Networking lunch (again organic and yummy)

Any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to get in touch (my number and details are below). Otherwise, I look forward to seeing you on Saturday

All the best


P.S. Let me know if you’ll be there

Giovanna Speciale
Community and Education Project Officer
Direct dial: 0208 687 4084
Mobile: 07948 431833

Outdoor Kitchens Initiative


We’ve been approached by Spacehive as a potential site for an outdoor kitchen. They say:

“We’re currently running an initiative to bring outdoor kitchens to London, creating fantastic social hubs for people to get together and share their cooking.

We have paired up two architectural practices with two pilot sites – Spitalfields City Farm and Newham City Farm. Each site will have a bespoke kitchen designed for them, which will then be fundrasied for via Spacehive, supported by the London Festival of Architecture.

As so many architects have been keen to work on this project we’re on the lookout for more sites, and thought Ruskin Park Community Garden could be a brilliant site, as the kitchen could tie in well with your growing activities.”

We’ve invited them to come see the garden, will keep you posted.

Outdoor kitchens brief short

Sunday’s dig

Posted: April 4, 2012

A good day.

We did a good deal of watering, including the trees in the new orchard area beyond the one o’clock club. There was a fair bit of weeding to be done, as the unplanned additions to some of the beds have clearly been thriving in this unseasonable warm weather as well.

We cleared/weeded/dug over a couple of beds, and planted out several rows of onions (sets and seeds) and some spring onions in one bed, and 3 rows of black kale (cavolo nero) in another

The peas in the mandala bed are up and looking perky, the broad beans are in full riot, and lots of the perennials – the soft fruit and so on – are showing signs of coming back into leaf

Yesterday’s dig

Posted: March 25, 2012

20120324_131855We had a fantastic day at the garden, making scarecrows, planting seeds, weeding, and enjoying the Trees for Cities festivities – facepainting, crafts, and a roving Dixieland band. There were loads of kids in the garden helping with digging, planting, and watering, and families picnicking in the warm sunshine. We planted sunflowers, wild rocket, and peas by the fence, and loads of seeds in pots to sell at the Ruskin Park Summer Fete on June 23. We also started making supports for the raspberries from skipped timber.
‘Herb’ and ‘Barb’ are our new scarecrows. Herb is standing guard in the herb patch, and Barb is next to the rhubarb. We also hung up used CDs, all to discourage the local birds from using the veg as a snack bar.

Five Free Nature Walks in Ruskin Park


Brixton based not for profit company Embrace Cooperation Ltd is running a yearlong community project called ‘Lost Stories of Ruskin Park’. As part of Embrace’s project the organisation will be running five free nature walks in Ruskin Park. Everyone is welcome.

10am to 11.30am Thursday 29th March: Bird Walk
11am to 2pm Saturday 21st April: Wild Food Walk
10am to 11.30am Thursday 24th May: Plant ID Walk
7.45pm to 9pm Saturday 4th August: Bat Walk
1pm to 3pm Thursday 23rd August: Summer Tree ID Walk

If you’re interested in being interviewed, would like more information about the project or to book a place on any of the walks, phone John Cannell, Project Coordinator, on 020 7274 9450 or email john.c@myembrace.org. The project website is www.ruskinparkproject.wordpress.com.

Scarecrow Building, 11-3 Saturday March 24

Posted: March 17, 2012

We have lovely new neighbours — Trees for Cities has moved into the old 1 o’clock club building. They’re having a community event Saturday March 24. – a family focused day with a swing band playing, face painter, easter egg hunt, arts and craft activities and tree planting going on in the orchard area. It is all completely free and runs from 11am to 3pm. We will be making scarecrows in the community garden at the same time, please bring old clothes and hats to dress them.

Today’s Big Dig


20120317_163033It wasn’t big, but we did dig. We got the best of the day’s weather – dry and overcast. Kate and Mark planted 1st early, 2nd early, and maincrop potatoes. Andrew planted broad beans and peas, with some help from Billy. I planted squash (crown prince, uchiki kuri, and marina di chioggia) and weeded. The £50 from Capital Growth bought us the seed potatoes, some seeds, and 8 new hand tools. It’s a really exciting time of year, planting seeds in anticipation of this year’s crop.

Big Dig Saturday

Posted: March 15, 2012

Come on down 3-5 Saturday to plant potatoes and seeds and eat chocolate brownies.

Roots and Shoots Spring Open Day – Sunday 11am – 4pm


Yesterday’s dig

Posted: March 12, 2012

20120311_155033Well what a glorious day in march it was for a dig day. For anyone who was not there with trowel or spade an opportunity was missed! With a slow start our numbers swelled to at least nine if not eleven volunteers and some passers by who seemed interested for future digs.
The beds are all looking very healthy and soil rich, they seem to be positively reaching out for us to lay some seeds down so that we did with enthusiasm, in went some peas and some impressive cane structures to support their future growth, some jerusalem artichokes, dill, peppermint and even rocket. However some of the beds have not been behaving so well and had let the grass creep in right under their noses so a few toiled away with that thankless yet aesthetically pleasing task of getting the weeds out and one volunteer even took such care that he removed one blade at a time! Also the sprouts were ousted and the bed sieved and border relayed for the…parsnips and chard i believe.
20120311_170741We harvested some of the few remaining carrots which are still tasting lovely and the smell of thyme and lemon thyme could not be escaped once harvested from the herb bed.
All in all a successful day and sadly no pictures taken by me but have a look for yourself on saturdays dig. [pictures now!]

Big Dig – Saturday, 17th March 3-5pm

Posted: March 10, 2012

Capital Growth has organised a London-wide day for digging! We’ll have a dig day 3-5pm. We’ll be planting veg seeds. We should have plenty of new volunteers, so please do come down to help show them around, get them started, etc.

They say:

Big Dig is a volunteering event that aims to encourage Londoners to get their hands dirty at their local community growing space.

Capital Growth is hoping to mobilise thousands of volunteers across London to help community food-growing spaces prepare for the new growing season. Volunteers will only be required to help for one day but we hope some will choose to stay involved throughout the growing season.

Dig 26th Feb 2012

Posted: February 26, 2012

Work in the garden today included a tidy-up around the shed. We dug out compost from the large bin and spread it over some of the beds; a bit of weeding round the beans; watering; raking leaves. Harvested some carrots and cabbage from the front bed. We notice that the top corner of the plot (by the compost) is very damp. This seems to suggest there might be water running underground somewhere near by. If we’re planning to dig a pond in that area it will be interesting to see if the hole fills on its own – if so, hopefully it’s good water. Interesting wildlife spotted today: common frog disturbed from its hibernation as we dug the compost, robin and blackbird enjoying the freshly turned beds.













Sunday’s dig

Posted: February 25, 2012

imag0550It was a glorious early spring day, warm and sunshiney. We planted lots of tomatoes, and also peas and sunflowers.
We did lots of weeding, watered the peas and washed down the glass windows that form their coldframe, and put compost in some of the beds that aren’t draining well.
The broad beans are looking good.

Trees for Cities moving to Ruskin Park, Consultation Thursday March 1 2:30-5:00pm


Trees for Cities is moving into the old 1 O’clock Club, next to the community garden. They are having a consultation Thursday, March 1, 2:30-5:00pm. Come meet them there and ask them about their plans.

Thinking about saving water

Posted: February 16, 2012

We’ve had two dry winters and reservoirs are below the levels they should be. It’s time to think about saving water. Saving water reduces carbon output as well, as purifying water takes a lot of energy, and if you’re using less hot water you’re heating less water.
Here’s some good general water saving tips:
And here’s some that are more energy oriented:

South London Master Gardeners are recruiting more volunteers! Foundation training 21-22 April 2012‏


Can you help people grow their own food? Become a South London Master Gardener.
Master Gardeners volunteer 30 hours a year offering food growing advice and support to residents and Lambeth and other boroughs.

free two-day foundation training 21st and 22nd April 2012
active support and ongoing training from your local volunteer co-ordinator; part of volunteer network
help local households and wider community by events/workshops

Please visit www.southlondon.mastergardeners.org.uk
contact the volunteer co-ordinator, Fiona Law, flaw@gardenorganic.org.uk, 07584 343847

Capital Growth Training Days

Posted: January 26, 2012

The new 2012 Capital Growth urban food growing calendar is now available. Check out http://www.capitalgrowth.org/training/ to see the wide range of food growing training on offer at the Capital Growth allotment in The Regents Park.
Ruskin Park volunteers get a discount, our space number is 369.

Yesterday’s dig

Posted: January 16, 2012

It was really lovely to be back in the garden yesterday. The sun was shining and it was crisp but not too cold.
2012-01-15 14.54.50We did a bit of weeding but the ground was too frozen in places. We raked and composted the leaves, picked up rubbish that had blown in, and fixed the tilting sign. Neil made an impressive cold frame for the peas, and we netted the beetroot. There was a very territorial robin puffing himself up on the veg cloche, as we were clearly invading his territory. The broad beans are 6″ high in places, and the onions have made a good start now that the chicken wire keeps the squirrels from digging them up.
2012-01-15 15.09.58We had a fairly bountiful harvest, for January. Beetroot, cavolo nero, parsley, parsnip, and the best carrots I have ever tasted.
Kate is working on the planting plan, based on our crop rotation plan, what has thrived and hasn’t in the past, what people like, and the input we had from our planting plan dig day in the autumn. Next month we’ll need to start our tomato seeds indoors.
Next dig day: Sunday January 29th 1-3pm.

Dig day Sunday 1-3pm

Posted: January 10, 2012

Come along Sunday to weed, water, and start to get ready for spring.

Edible Hedge Planting day

Posted: December 26, 2011

We had a fantastic day planting the edible hedge. Loads of happy, energetic diggers building a hedge that will provide food for people and animals for years to come. Well done to Doug Gillies from Friends of Ruskin Park for organising it, Jackie and Mark from RPCG for being orchard leaders, David Blair from the London Orchard Project for leading it, and all the volunteers who made it happen.

2011-12-11 13.43.34 2011-12-11 15.03.36 2011-12-11 13.29.42 2011-12-11 14.03.39

Stockwell – Edible Bus Stop

Posted: December 8, 2011

A friend sent me this inspiring blog post http://www.thehubble.net/2011/12/08/growing-community/ about the positive effect growing veg and flowers can have on a neighbourhood.

Sunday 1-3pm – dig day, hedgerow planting, and carols

Posted: December 7, 2011

Special Dig Day
We’ll plant up the new edible hedgerow along the fence in the orchard area. Please try to come along, we’ll need lots of diggers and planters. Plant list: Blackthorn, Hawthorn, Elder, Raspberry, Loganberry, Tayberry, Gooseberry, Redcurrant, Medlar, Crab apple, Plums, Cob nuts.  Bring gloves and a spade if you have them. Brownies provided :)

Salvation Army Community Christmas Carols, 2-3pm at the bandstand.
The annual event at the bandstand when the community come together for Christmas carols. Refreshments will be served to keep you warm.

Capital Growth Funding Round


Want to start a new growing space? Get some funding from Capital Growth.
Capital Growth Funding

Grants round launched to support community food-growing projects in London

If you are planning to start a community food-growing space or want to expand an existing space and you are looking for money to buy soil, seeds, tools and other materials necessary, this is your opportunity to apply for some financial support!
For more information, including the application criteria, and to complete an application form please visit http://www.capitalgrowth.org/apply/
Grants are available from £150 up to £750.

Grants round deadline: 5pm, 16th January 2012

Also, don’t miss our Winter networking event on Tue, 13th Dec from 1-4pm. For more info and to book go to http://www.capitalgrowth.org/events/networkingevents.

Nov 27 dig day


We weeded a fair amount, cleared the beans/corn/squash bed, replanted the onions (dug up by the squirrels) and put chicken wire on them, netted the chard (chomped by the birds).

2011-11-27 13.11.23
The last of the summer’s green beans

2011-11-27 14.36.352011-11-27 14.49.54

Left: the squirrels dug up the onions. They don’t eat them, they just seem intent on vandalism. Right: replanted and hopefully thwarting the squirrels with chickenwire.

2011-11-27 14.59.44

The harvest – beans, carrots, and beetroot.

2011-11-27 15.01.15

We put netting on the chard, which has been decimated by birds. it should recover nicely and last all winter.

Dig day tomorrow 1-3pm

Posted: November 26, 2011

Hope to see you at the garden tomorrow 1-3pm. We’ll weed, net, and maybe build more plant supports.

Sunday’s dig, next dig day Sunday Nov 27 1-3pm

Posted: November 18, 2011

Next dig day: Sunday Nov 27 1-3pm

2011-11-13 14.52.38 We had a productive day at the garden on Sunday. It was oddly warm and sunny, more like September. Cosmo and Neil built another support structure from recycled timber. We weeded the front bed and added compost to improve the drainage. We cleared the tomatoes from the front planter and planted onions in it.

2011-11-13 15.04.30The phacelia is growing very well. We’ll let it die down naturally. Here’s more about it: http://www.greenmanure.co.uk/phacelia.htm

Urban Agriculture Questionnaire – please fill this out

Posted: November 9, 2011

This is from Kate, a Ruskin Park Community Garden steering committee member, and the creator of our crop rotation and planting plans.
I am an Open University student studying a Masters in Environmental Decision Making and am writing my dissertation on how improvements to regional and local policy can encourage urban agriculture in London. This questionnaire forms part of the primary research for my dissertation and hopes to gain an understanding of what London’s current food growers think an urban agriculture policy should focus on and what could be done to encourage more Londoner’s to grow food at both a household and community level.
Your contribution to this research, in completing the questionnaire, will provide vital insight, which will help in establishing what urban agriculture policy should look like and how it should be best achieved. The final report will be available to participants upon completion in February 2012, please indicate if you would like access to this at the end of the questionnaire.
Please complete the questionnaire as honestly as possible and leave your personal details if you feel comfortable, as it will help with analysis, although anonymous responses are welcomed. Please complete the questionnaire by 21st November 2011.
Thank you for your time.
Kate Symonds

Next dig day: Sunday Nov 13 1-3pm

Posted: November 4, 2011

We’re going to dig days every other week now, as the growing season slows down.

Capital Growth Food-growing Workshops


We are Capital Growth space 369.
The following courses take place in The Regent’s Park Allotment Garden. They cost £10 for Capital Growth spaces (£20 for others). To book email training@capitalgrowth.org or visit
Permaculture Design Taster
Sat 12 November OR Sat 3 December, 10.30am – 1pm

Soft Fruits, Tree Pruning and Care
Sat 26 November, 10.30am – 1pm

The following will take place at London Wildlife Trust Centre for Wildlife Gardening. Cost is £10 for Capital Growth spaces (£20 for others).To book call 020 7252 9186 or email Lucy: lritchie@wildlondon.org.uk.
Wildlife Gardening workshop – an inspirational workshop delivered by Elaine Hughes.
13 November 10.30am-1.30pm

The following will take place at Hammersmith Community Garden Association @ Phoenix Farm. Cost is £10 for Capital Growth spaces (£15 for others).To book email adminhcga@gmail.com

Soft Fruit and Fruit Tree Pruning and Care
Sat 19 November, 10am – 1pm.

Last Sunday’s dig


From Cosmo:
Well well, as the garden slows down for winter the leaves falling on the grass certainly do not. A slow start on sunday but with the help of some willing newcomers, two of whom were first timers which is great to see, we had a productive afternoon of digging, sieving, raking and then planting some peas so they can make a head start for spring. A good sign of the time that the gardens have been occupied by green fingered volunteers but sadly not for the picnic bench is the state of one of the covers. Maybe a winter bake off is in order!
Not much else to report as the growth of the greens, purples and browns have slowed but look forward to more netting structure for next spring.

Dig day Sunday 1-3pm <- pls note the new time!

Posted: October 27, 2011

2011-10-23 17.15.44Last Sunday Neil and Timo built a very impressive veg support structure from recycled timber. We’ve used it to shelter the cavolo nero and cabbage from the voracious pigeons. They’ve decimated the beetroot. We’ve now netted the beetroot, hopefully it will make a comeback. It looks like they’ve decided the garden is their favorite cafe, so we’ll have to be resolute in our netting. The birds damaged the swede beyond repair. They don’t seem to like carrot tops or lettuce though. Andrew gave everything a much needed drink, and Jacqui and Esme weeded. We also planted the overwintering broad beans.

This coming Sunday we’ll weed some more, plant some overwintering peas, and start work on another support structure. After that we’ll go to fortnightly dig days.

Please note the new time: 1-3pm.

Orchard leaders needed

Posted: October 22, 2011

The London Orchard Project will be planting fruit and nut trees in the area between the pond and the 1 o’clock club. We need a few people to volunteer to look after the trees while they get established – this mostly means watering once a week. Please email info@ruskinparkcommunitygarden.org if you would like to get involved.

Orchard Leader training will take place on Sunday 27th November at Myatts Fields, SE5 9RA (times tbc but will be a full-day event).

The morning session will focus on fruit tree planting and maintenance, including starting to write up an orchard management plan. In the afternoon we’ll look at community engagement. We train around 4 people per site as Orchard Leaders. They will be primarily responsible for the orchard and its maintenance, and will pass on their knowledge to others in the community, getting others involved in the planting day, watering rota etc.

Upcoming events


Two workshops organised by Lambeth Green and Sustainable Communities programme, funded by Skills Funding Agency

Learn to make chutney and preserves

Monday October 31, 2011 from 1pm to 3pm
Clapham Park Community Resource Centre,
SW4, corner of Headlam Road and Kings Avenue

Get your community project started in 2012

Tuesday 1st December, from 1pm to 3pm
Green Man Skills Centre, Coldharbour Lane

Saturday 29th October – DraughtBusting Session from 11 am onwards. Do you want to save energy in your home? Transition Brockley is offering the opportunity to learn how to install some basic home insulation.

Drop in between 11am and 1pm to see a demo (in a private house on Hilly Fields) of how to draughtproof doors and windows easily and neatly. Then buy the materials and – DIY!

LOCATION: 22 Eastern Road, SE4


Thursday 17 November 7.30pm, at Cafe Crema, New Cross Road:

The Mysterious Bee – an instructive documentary about one man’s fascination with the bees he’s keeping in his back garden.

See here for some info: www.wildfilmhistory.org/film/424/The+Mysterious+Bee.html

Also, a five minute clip on YouTube:

£3 charge at the door.

Dig day tomorrow 3-5pm


We’ll be planting the overwintering broad beans and making a start on building support structures for the plants and netting. We have some timber taken out when someone did their loft; we’ll build box shaped frames that we can hang netting on, or use for vertical support for tomatoes, beans, peas, etc.

Kate took these pictures of support structures at a garden in Paris.

Dig day today 3-5pm!

Posted: October 16, 2011

Enjoy the glorious autumn sunshine, and get the garden ready for winter.
Last weekend we chose what the plant for next year. We’re going to try salsify and scorzonera, but no brassicas. Lots more winter squash and some heirloom courgette varieties. We’ll be planting overwintering broad beans and peas in the next few weeks. Kate is updating the planting plan based on the veg we chose and the crop rotation plan.

Planting Plan planning on Sunday – 3-5pm

Posted: October 6, 2011

Please come along Sunday with your ideas about what veg we should grow. We’ll use the crop rotation plan and what has worked well in the past as a starting point to decide what we’re going to grow next year. I’ve got a pile of seed catalogues to get inspiration from.

Free cob (earth) oven building course at Oasis Nature Garden on Oct 15 and 16

Posted: October 5, 2011

Please email education@oasisplay.org.uk to book a place.

Free entry to the Garden Museum on Saturday


The Garden Museum is celebrating food growing in Lambeth this weekend and that all community gardeners get free access to the Museum on Saturday, and their new exhibition ‘From Garden City to Green City’. http://www.gardenmuseum.org.uk/

Dig 2nd October 2011

Posted: October 2, 2011

Good work on the garden today despite few hands. We dug some compost into the Mandala beds, gave them a good watering and planted spinach, radishes, and something else (can’t remember). The last of the Jerusalem Artichoke were harvested, and the nearby tomatoes cleared. We also dug out the dead courgette plants. All the beds have been watered – so hopefully that’ll see them through the next couple of hot days before rain arrives mid-week, if forecasts are correct.

The Harvest Feast

Posted: September 27, 2011

2011-09-24 15.26.41It was a glorious autumn afternoon with good food, good company, and good music. We could hear the strains of the orchestra playing at the bandstand. As well as the lovely regulars we had a steady stream of people who’d never been to the garden – hospital patients, passersby, concertgoers, and the folks attending the Green Flag raising. There was plenty of yummy food to go around, prepared by garden volunteers from what we’ve grown. And we had puddings made from local ingredients, and even wine made from Lambeth grapes! Towards the end Seb got out his ukelele, and Andrew went home and got his accordion and a big tub of percussion instruments for the kids, and we had a sing a long in the setting sun. A fantastic time was had by all.
2011-09-24 15.45.48Big thanks to Cosmo and the other strimmers – the garden looked vastly better. And to Meloni for her gorgeous poster drawing. And to Jean for her camping stove and picnicware. And to Seb and Andrew for the music. And to Lara for helping out and opening up the kitchen so we could wash dishes. And to Meloni and Neil for washing dishes. And to everyone who brought something to share.

Harvest dig day – Sunday 3-5pm

Posted: September 16, 2011

On Sunday we’ll be harvesting in preparation for the Harvest Feast on Saturday Sept 24. If you’d like to make a dish for the feast, please come along and take some veg home with you.
We’ll also be weeding, tidying up, and planting.

Sunday’s dig

Posted: September 15, 2011

2011-09-11 16.45.37It was a glorious early autumn day at the garden. We sieved the rest of the brassica bed and planted vetch, and did quite a lot of weeding. The phacelia and crimson clover are already coming up in the other beds. We harvested beans, lettuce, tomatoes. We also harvested almonds from the orchard to serve at the harvest feast. And more crabapples. We propped up the beans, which had pulled over the sweetcorn. We have a few heads of sweetcorn but decided it’s just not worth growing it.

Dig day Sunday 3-5pm, and general update

Posted: September 9, 2011

Sunday’s dig: 3-5pm. We’ll plant more green manure, weed, and harvest. Hope to see you there.

Date for your diary: Saturday, September 24, 3-6 pm will be the Harvest Feast. Everyone is invited – regulars, people who haven’t been in ages, people who have never been. We’re going to harvest the week before, and people who want to make a dish for the feast will take veg home. Puddings made from local food are also very welcome.

Speaking of local food, it’s the perfect time of year to go scrumping – harvesting apples or other fruit from trees that aren’t yours. My neighbour has a tree laden with apples that he doesn’t harvest; I’m going to ask him if I can pick them to make a harvest feast pudding.

The harvest feast coincides with the last bandstand concert of the year. The concert finishes at 4pm so everyone is invited to bring an instrument to continue the music. I’ve heard rumours of a ukulele.

Meloni did a beautiful drawing for the harvest feast poster; Kate is printing and laminating them and will bring them on Sunday so we can distribute them to people who want to put them up.

The steering committee met this week (the steering committee is comprised of 7 regulars, if you’re interested in joining please let me know). We talked through the harvest feast, the wildlife area, next year’s planting plan, and reviewed our finances.

Cosmo has done a lovely design for the wildlife area. The funding and labour for the hedge will come from the Maudsley. I’m hoping to get this going in the next few weeks.

On the October 9th dig day we’re going to do next year’s planting plan as a group, so come along with suggestions of what to grow. We’ll also take into account the crop rotation plan and what did and didn’t do well this year.

Once the planting and weeding activities slow down we’ll use dig days to create support structures for netting, tomatoes, beans, etc. We’ll continue to have weekly dig days until we run out of things to do. When the days get shorter we’ll have to move the time back to 1-3pm.

We don’t have anywhere near enough money for a greenhouse (we need about £1500 to buy a polycarbonate greenhouse, can’t do glass). The cloche worked acceptably well last year, we’ll use it again this year and continue to look for funding for the greenhouse. We are going to buy a strimmer; we desperately need it. We’re also going to spend money on more netting, stakes, and gloves.

today’s dig

Posted: September 4, 2011

2011-09-04 16.02.58After a murky start we had a lovely sunny afternoon at the garden and got loads done. We weeded the potato bed, dug up the ‘volunteer’ jerusalem artichokes that were in the pea bed and weeded that bed, and cleared some of the failed brassicas and weeded that bed. We planted phacelia in the potato bed and crimson clover in the pea bed. We tidied the brussels sprouts. Here’s the lovely weed-free bed with the phacelia planted.

2011-09-04 17.02.57We harvested tomatoes, peas, courgettes, lettuce, and beetroot and everyone went home with a big pile of veg. Many people also took a bag of crabapples to have a go at jelly making.


Dig day Sunday 3-5pm

Posted: September 2, 2011

Sunday we’ll plant some green manure. We have three kinds – vetches (winter tares), phacelia, and crimson clover. A green manure is a crop that improves the soil in some way, but isn’t harvested for eating. The soil can be improved by fixing nitrogen, by keeping weeds down and prevent erosion, by breaking up heavy soils, and many other ways. There’s quite a lot of info on http://www.greenmanure.co.uk/sow_help.htm

There should be loads to harvest as well, and always weeds to defeat.

Today’s dig

Posted: August 28, 2011

We had a surprisingly dry and sunny afternoon at the garden. It was perfect weeding weather – the soil was damp so even the deepest taproots came out in one piece. We weeded the carrots, the mandala bed, and the (former) potato bed. We propped up the corn, which was getting pulled over by the beans in the 3 Sisters. And we harvested beans, tomatoes, courgettes, and chard.The corn should be ready quite soon.

We will have loads for the harvest feast – carrots, jerusalem artichokes, beans, tomatoes, lettuce, beetroot, turnips, chard, pattypan squash and maybe winter squash.

The crabapples are ready and I’ve had a go making crabapple jelly http://www.waitrose.com/home/recipes/recipe_directory/c/crab_apple_jelly.html. The trees are over-laden with crabapples so feel free to harvest as many as you like.

London Orchard Project – new fruit trees for Ruskin Park

Posted: August 26, 2011

The Friends of Ruskin Park are working with the London Orchard Project to plant up to 10 new fruit trees in the area between the pond and the 1 o’clock club. They are looking for volunteers to help with planting (in Dec-Feb) and watering. Please get in touch – friendsofruskinpark@gmail.com if you’re interested.

Dig day Sunday 3-5pm


Come along Sunday for some digging, harvesting, and weeding. The purple climbing beans are ready and we’ll have a look at the jerusalem artichokes as they may be ready too.

The most amazing planting

Posted: August 23, 2011

If you’re in the Myatt’s Field area soon, it’s worth a detour to have a look at the Patmos Area Community Conservation Association (Pacca TMO) http://www.pacca.co.uk/ planting. I’ve included some pictures here. It’s at the junction of Patmos Road and Lothian Road in SE5.

Truly inspiring!

Sunday’s dig


IMAG0233The garden is looking great overflowing with interesting colours of almost ripe vegetables. The mandala bed was weeded and then some selective weeding of other beds followed. Then we set about turning and sieveing the soil of the small bed near one oclock club ready for planting next week in which we found some more potatoes which must have escaped he last dig. We all looked up in awe of the giant nine foot tall artichokes and wondered how much taller they can become. Then a little harvesting of some of Tue sweetest cherry toms I’ve ever tasted, some delicious green beans and superb looking beetroot which I later made into a risotto using the stalks as well. Then trimmed some of the herbs to allow regrowth and left the garden basking in glorious august sunshine.

Ps. Does anyone know how tall Jerusalem artichokes are meant to be before harvesting?

Dig day Sunday

Posted: August 17, 2011

Apologies for the radio silence…

Dig day Sunday 3-5, all welcome!

Pop up pickle!


Capital Growth has organised a course to preserve the season’s gluts. We’re a Capital Growth space, so all welcome to sign up.

Capital Growers come along and learn how to preserve the fruits of your labour at the Capital Growth ‘Pop up Pickle!’ Chefs from The Table Cafe in Southwark will guide us through making chutneys and jams from London grown produce.

When: Monday 5th September, 18.30 – 21.00.

The Table Cafe, 83 Southwark Street. SE1 0HX http://thetablecafe.com/

How much: £10 and as much produce that you can pick! (We ask a minimum of 2KG of any fruit or veg). We will give The Table chefs a couple of jars from each project for them to use on their menu as well!

What we provide: A commercial kitchen, jars, labels and hands on professional advice from chefs.

Suggested Fruit:
Plums, berries, apples, pears (if they are ready).
Suggested vegetables for pickles/chutneys: tomatoes, onions, carrots, beetroot, courguettes, cucumber, squashes, aubergines, apples.

Top Tip
Pick plums and berries now and freeze them – remember to take any stones out before you freeze!

The preserves will be produced in a commercial kitchen, you will get back jars according to the amount of fruit you bring (minus few jars we will offer to the Table to sell) We will also help you with labelling them. This will make it easily possible for you to sell them at your convenience!

Contact: eloise@sustainweb.org or spaces@capitalgrowth.org to book your space.

Bat Fun Day – August 6th at the Carnegie Library

Posted: August 2, 2011

Yesterday’s dig day

Posted: August 1, 2011

IMG00925-20110731-1641Yesterday was sunny and peaceful at the garden. We did lots of watering, dug up the rest of the potatoes and a quite a few lettuces, and weeded a bit. Roger got the strimmer engine started but it cut out whenever he revved it to actually start strimming. Thankfully the sellers will take it back for a full refund.

The garden is looking very bountiful, aside from some sad brassicas. The kale and broccoli are not thriving at all, and I’m not sure why. The kale is stunted and has yellowing leaves, and the broccoli is bolting. I’ve found this page http://www.co.missoula.mt.us/extension/plantdata/PLANTS/kale/index.html and I’ll have another look. It’s definitely not a nitrogen deficiency because we had beans in the plot last year.  Plants can be very specific about what location they do well in; the purple cabbages near the path aren’t nearly as happy as the purple cabbage that found its way into the herb bed in the back.

IMG00928-20110731-1704The three sisters are doing very well.  The corn supports the beans, the beans feed nitrogen to the squash, and the squash keeps the soil moist and weed free.

We had a big harvest – potatoes, oversize courgettes, lettuce, pattypan squash, a handful of tomatoes, and 5 gooseberries. It is so satisfying to eat what you’ve grown! I made curried courgette and potato soup and salad for dinner last night.

Dig 24th July

Posted: July 24, 2011

Only four of us at the garden today. We did a bit of weeding and tidying up the borders, cutting the grass a bit, and some watering. The courgettes are growing quickly at the moment. We picked a few of the bigger ones. And we dug some potatoes too – actually rather too many, so there’s a bunch of them in the shed if anyone wants to collect a few during the week.

Dig Sunday 3-5pm

Posted: July 22, 2011

Sunday will be perfect weeding conditions – warm and sunny with moist soil so the weeds will come up easily and in one piece. The weeds will have been making good headway with all the rain. I’m sure there will be loads to harvest as well. All welcome 3-5pm.

Last week several hearty souls braved the downpour to do some digging, and tried to strim. Sadly we’ve not been able to get the strimmer to work (the downside of buying used items without manuals on ebay). The seller has promised to show us how to start it next week.

Today’s dig

Posted: July 10, 2011

We had a lovely productive day. The garden is looking abundant and healthy. We planted up the mandala bed – carrots, onions, endive, and cabbage. We cleared the bolted spinach and rocket and planted beetroot. We gathered nettles and put them in water to make a fertiliser. We harvested potatoes, broadbeans, peas, turnip, and garlic. We trimmed the grass and planted more of the flowers in the wildlife area. We tidied up the brassicas and built higher netting cages around them. And we weeded. Tom brought some bricks so we were able to finish off the mandala; it is looking great.

Dig day Sunday 3-5pm

Posted: July 8, 2011

Sunday looks to be a nice day. We’ll plant some seeds in the mandala bed, do some weeding and watering. Please bring used bricks if you have any so we can finish the paths.

Crazy carrots and the red brick road


IMG00891-20110703-1708We had a very good day on Sunday, lots of diggers and lots of digging. We finished sieving the mandala bed, dug in some compost, put brick paths down, and planted up the swede seedlings and some of the herbs from the B&Q Chelsea Flower Show garden. We had another big broad bean harvest and also got some curly carrots and turnips.


IMG00889-20110703-1640We could use some more used bricks if anyone passes a skip with them in it. We also really need a strimmer. If anyone has a petrol strimmer to donate or sell (cheap), or can recommend where to get one, please get in touch.

Busy weekend!

Posted: June 29, 2011

IMG00869-20110625-1524We had a busy weekend. We raised £156 selling plants at the Ruskin Park Summer Fete, which takes us a big step closer to a greenhouse, and many seeds got a start in life at the seed planting stall. We also signed up a bunch of new people to the newsletter, hopefully they’ll we’ll see them at a dig day soon.


IMG00870-20110625-1549We weeded (again) and worked on the compost area – we’ve started moving the palette crates that the plants came into position against the fence. We insulated and filled one of them with the manure from the stables, the food waste compost, and our own green waste. We had another big harvest of broad beans, and some potatoes.

Next dig day: Sunday 3-5pm.

Dig days this weekend, and Summer Fete!

Posted: June 21, 2011

It’s big weekend at the park and garden. Saturday is the Ruskin Park Summer Fete – 1-4pm at the bandstand. There are lots of great activities on offer. We’ll be running a seed planting stall, as well as selling the remaining flowers and herbs from the Chelsea B&Q garden to raise money for the greenhouse.
We’ll have dig days Saturday and Sunday:
Saturday 1-4pm
Sunday 3-5pm
Hope to see you there!

Sunday’s dig


IMG00858-20110619-1634We had a lovely productive afternoon at our new 3-5pm time, including some bright sunshine. Cosmo and Roger made a start on the wildlife area, planting up some of the bee-friendly flowers from the Chelsea B&Q garden. Dan, a new volunteer, started sieving the mandala bed. He said it was like a jigsaw puzzle, e.g. once he finished one section he wanted to keep going on a new section. James planted carrots and weeded a lot. Meloni planted squash and beetroot and weeded a lot. Neil made another of his super structures for netting. We saw the first cabbage white butterfly of the year. They particularly like brassicas, and can do a lot of damage, so we keep them off using netting. I planted some cabbage and swede, so we’ll have something to harvest come winter. B from Moorlands Estate Community Garden came for a chat and got dug into the wildlife area. IMG00859-20110619-1651 We had a huge harvest, particularly of broadbeans. We also had turnips, which can be a bit of a conundrum in the kitchen. Here’s a delicious recipe I found http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Turnip-Gratin-240249

Sunday’s dig 3-5 pm

Posted: June 17, 2011

We’re going to try a new, later time this week based on the survey feedback.
Sunday looks to be sunny and warm. We’ll be working on the new bed, weeding, and planting.

Sunday’s dig

Posted: June 15, 2011

IMG00852-20110612-1421It was truly wet on Sunday but we had a few hearty diggers. We did a fair amount of weeding, thinned the brassicas, moved the marigolds, took out the spent pea plants, and updated the notebook with what has been planted and what needs doing. We went home with piles of broadbeans, peas, and lettuce.

Sunday’s dig 1-3pm

Posted: June 10, 2011

Sunday we’ll be working on the new mandala (round) shaped bed. The shape is a permaculture concept: “In a nutshell, it is a circular garden divided by walk-through paths and keyholes which divide it into segments – like an apple pie that has been cut into equal parts.” The idea is that you can get to all areas of the bed without stepping on the soil. And it looks good.

After the rain we’ve had (hooray!) the weeds will be growing like mad so plenty of weeding to do as well.

Sunday’s dig – 1-3pm

Posted: June 2, 2011

Sunday looks to be warm and sunny so come along and get your fingers dirty! We need to plant the last of the seeds and seedlings, stake the raspberries, weed, water, and pot up plants.

We have a plant bonanza! B&Q turned up with three cubic metres of plants on Wednesday – thyme, basil, sage, and oregano, and lots of bee-friendly flowers. We’ll use what we can, and pot the rest up to sell at the Ruskin Park Summer Fete… that will definitely get us closer to buying a greenhouse!

Sunday’s dig

Posted: May 30, 2011

IMG00836-20110529-1409We had a lovely productive afternoon in the garden. We planted the two apple and one cherry tree that we were given.



IMG00840-20110529-1538The demonstration area is looking much improved. We harvested the onions (here they are hanging up in our shed!) and planted out the red cabbage. We also put up some bean supports and planted some climbing beans.  We netted the red cabbage and the cavolo nero to keep the cabbage whites from infesting them with caterpillars! We planted some beetroot in one of the wheelchair height beds and gave the salad a much needed haircut. We also planted rocket, spinach, and chard.

We harvested radishes, onions, garlic, peas, broadbeans, and salad.

Sunday dig 1-3pm

Posted: May 27, 2011

If you’re around this weekend, please do come down on Sunday. There is so much to do! We need to finish preparing the new round bed, stake the raspberries, weed, net, plant out last of the seedlings, and think about what to do in the demonstration beds (the ones by the path). We have three new fruit trees that were given to us as a thank you for the write up in Gardening Answers magazine, we need to decide where to plant them and then put them in. The garden is thriving despite the wind and lack of rain, well done to the waterers. We should have lots of peas, broad beans and salad to harvest. And possibly the first of the raspberries.

Great news – through a Capital Growth contest we won a portion of B&Q’s edible garden from Chelsea Flower Show. They will be delivering it on Sunday or Monday. Loads of herbs, veg, and bug boxes.

We sadly didn’t get the greenhouse funding we applied for through the Timberland Earthkeepers grant. But we have until next spring to find some funding, and we did pretty darn well raising seedlings with our small cloche and on our windowsills.

We met with the Maudsley hospital this week. We’re going to start having weekday sessions for patients in late August, focusing on the wildlife area hedge.

We also met with the Green Flag judges who were assessing Ruskin Park. They asked lots of questions and seemed pleased with our garden.

22nd May

Posted: May 22, 2011

The weather was pretty changeable today but the sun came out and we got quite a bit done, mostly planting: cauliflower, celery, some more carrots, rocket, spinach and courgettes.

The the tomatoes will need stakes soon – we’ve propped up the larger ones.

The beans still seem to be suffering a bit from black fly.

We harvested some beans, peas, lettuce, and one or two of the onions that were going to seed.

Sunday’s dig, next dig day Sunday 1-3pm

Posted: May 17, 2011

Sunday’s dig was fun and festive as the Five Parks Walk walkers came through to have their books stamped. We raised £62, big thanks to Meloni and Kate for running the cake stand and to Jean, Kate and Meloni for homemade treats. The shed is happily installed on its very-well-built base and the tools and seeds are safe and dry! We planted out some seedlings, netted the calabrese to stop the birds from decimating it, and weeded the brussels sprouts. Everyone took home peas, broad beans, and lettuce.
Lots of walkers came through the garden to have a look, and some of them will definitely come back for dig days.

This Sunday’s dig is 1-3pm. There is lots of planting to do, as well as weeding, watering, and netting. Seb will be putting a coat of linseed oil and beeswax on the beehive, and will be around to talk through how the hive works. Now we’re just waiting on a swarm!

Sunday’s dig day – 12-3pm

Posted: May 13, 2011

Sunday is the Five Parks walk. It starts in Brockwell Park from 10am and finishes in Ruskin Park and is a lovely opportunity to see the area. The community garden is the checkpoint, so walkers will be coming through. We’ll be running a cake stall to raise money for seeds, tools, and a greenhouse. So far we’ve got cakes, cookies, and homemade elderflower cordial and lemonade. If you’re inspired please bring cookies or cakes to sell, or just bring some pocket money!

Dig Day May 8th

Posted: May 11, 2011

We had a good turn out and had a productive day. Laying the
foundations for the new shed is nearly finished, thanks for all the
hard work and advice from Giles. This means we shall be able to lift
the shed and fix in place next dig day.

Lots of digging work was done, moving top soil for the bee hives Roger
has built, to be installed. And breaking with tradition we dug our
first circular bed. To be sieved next week.

We also dug out a couple of beds to be sieved next week when we shall
be able to plant out the radish, beetroot, squash and dwarf sugar peas
seedlings. We moved the herbs to their new bed and planted sorrel. And
did lots of weeding and trimming round the beds.

Thanks to Therese for keeping everyone going with her the delicious
chocolate chip cookies.

Water – a limited resource

Posted: May 8, 2011

If the weather continues to be as dry as it is, it will be more and more important to conserve water, and to make the best use of the water we use. If you’re washing salad or cooking pasta, consider using the used water to water your garden. Take short showers, rather than baths. Doug from Friends of Ruskin Park saves the water that runs while he’s waiting for hot water by keeping bottles next to the tap.

Here’s an article that talks a bit more about the science of it Look after your garden during a dry spell

Even during the wettest weather it is a good idea to conserve water, as purifying water takes energy and emits greenhouse gases.

Dig day Sunday 1-3pm

Posted: May 5, 2011

This Sunday we’ll be finishing the base for the shed and then installing it! Also lots of weeding, watering, and planting.

The Five Parks walk is the following Sunday, May 15. Ruskin Park is the last park on the walk and we’ll be the checkpoint. We’ll be running a cake stall to raise money for seeds, tools, and a greenhouse. If you’re inspired please bring cookies or cakes to sell, or just bring some pocket money! The dig day will be 12-3 that day, opening early to greet the first walkers.

Dig day 1 May

Posted: May 2, 2011

May day. The garden is looking lush and abundant from all the sunshine and the regular watering rota, thanks everyone. This means the new seeds of kale, purple sprouting broccoli, calabrese, lettuce and turnips we planted 2 weeks ago have all sprouted through. We dug, sieved and planted carrot and tomato seedlings from the poly tunnel and re-staked the sugar snap peas as they are full with young peas.

Big news – The new flat-pack shed was unpacked and constructed thanks to Neil and Jared who put in extra hours over the Bank holiday. All that’s needed now is some tightening of bolts, then it’s ready to be lifted over and fixed in place. So we now have a new tool shed which means the tools will be happy and dry.

Thanks to Kate for the great carrot fairycakes. We harvested delicious chard, spinach and salad leaves for everyone to take home.

Two dig days this week – Friday 3-6pm and Sunday 1-3pm

Posted: April 27, 2011

The shed is here! We need to finish taking out the pampas grass, and then put it together.
So please come along Friday 3-6pm and/or Sunday 1-3pm.
I’m sure there will be lots of weeding and watering and planting as well.

Dig day today

Posted: April 23, 2011

It was a joy to be back in the garden. Everything is growing well. There are tiny fruit on the gooseberries, the kale seedlings are coming up, and we have volunteer Jerusalem artichokes and potatoes; some of the tubers must have been left in the ground last year.

We had a glorious summery day. We weeded, watered, planted the maincrop potatoes and peas, earthed up the other potatoes, sprayed soapy water on the broad beans to discourage the black fly, planted out the tomato and lettuce seedlings in the beds, made a start on the raspberry staking, made a start on removing the pampas grass, and cleared the rocket and purple sprouting broccoli. Everyone went home with purple sprouting broccoli, rocket, mixed salad, chard, beet greens, and spring onions.

The waterers are doing a great job, all the plants look happy. Some principles of watering:

  • to encourage a plant to have deep roots, it’s better to water deeper and less frequently, rather than often and shallowly.
  • water the roots, rather than the leaves. This is particularly important on sunny days when water on the leaves can make the sun burn them (actually it’s better to water at the beginning or end of the day when the water is less likely to evaporate before it sinks into the ground).
  • it’s more important to water seeds and seedlings than established plants, which are more able to get moisture from their roots. make sure to use the rosette on the watering can as it’s gentler.

We are leaving the mini greenhouse open now; it is too warm during the day to have it closed. We’ve netted over it to protect it from the birds.

Next dig day: Sunday May 1st, 1-3pm.

Dig day Saturday

Posted: April 21, 2011

Hope you’re all enjoying the gorgeous weather!

Next dig day is Saturday, 11am – 1pm. We have potatoes and seeds to plant, the pampas grass to remove, and hopefully raspberry staking to do. We’re taking out the pampas grass because our fab donated tool shed arrives next week, yippee!

Dig Day – April 17

Posted: April 17, 2011

IMAG0009today was a lovely sunny day, cosmo and I (meloni) oversaw the dig day.

we sieved the soil and sowed purple sprouting broccoli, turnip,
calabrese, kale and crisphead lettuce. we cleared rocket and purple
sprouting broccoli and pak choi to make space for the pumpkin,
marigolds and sweetcorn and marrow, squash, courgettes, parsnips and
chard. And happy gardeners went home with a harvest of rocket, pak
choi, purple sprouting broccoli and salad leaves.

Today’s dig

Posted: April 3, 2011

IMG00690-20110403-1438We had yet another lovely day in the garden. It is such a pleasure to see spring in full force – the crab apple trees are blossoming, the daffodils are trumpeting yellow, and all the fruit canes are sprouting. The seeds we put in in the dark days of winter – broad beans and peas – have grown into foot-tall plants!

We planted the second early potatoes today. We chose Kestrel, the same variety as last year, as it was so delicious. We also planted some lettuce amongst the broad beans. We took the bricks down from the cold frames, and moved some of the broad beans and peas into the legumes bed. It’s great to see Kate’s planting plan being put into action. We did a bit more netting and weeding and trimmed the grass around the beds.

We had a bumper crop of purple sprouting broccoli and some yummy tender chard and rocket.

Friends of Ruskin Park Spring Newsletter


The Spring Edition of the Friends of Ruskin Park Newsletter is now available Spring Newsletter 2011

Dig day Sunday 1-3pm

Posted: April 1, 2011

IMG00678-20110327-1404Spring is truly here. The veg are growing energetically, as are the weeds. We planted some potatoes and some seeds in the warm sun last Sunday, but mostly we weeded! Mastoor demonstrated how to propagate comfrey from cuttings. The rocket, pak choi and purple sprouting broccoli have started to recover under their new netting. Meloni and Kate brought in their tomato seedlings, which are looking great and have nestled into the cloche.

IMG00682-20110327-1454We’ve got more potatoes to plant Sunday, and some seeds, and I’m sure there will be more weeding to do.

Fantastic news – we have received the anonymous donation of a shed. It should arrive in the next week or so and will give our tools, seeds, and other equipment a dry, secure home.

Construction on the beehive will begin soon. The lovely and talented Roger will build it in pine treated with linseed oil and beeswax. The money we raised at the cake sale will pay for the timber. Seb’s successful Capital Bee bid will pay for training and kit.

The St. Saviour ‘s year ones came for their return visit this week and we talked about what seeds need to grow and they admired how much the peas have grown.

We’ve set up a watering rota so the seedlings don’t dry out. Thanks to our waterers!

Good news, the parks department has renewed our license to grow veg in the park for another year.

Events – this weekend and soon


Farmer’s Market: this Sat, 10-2 at the little park in Camberwell Green

Invisible Food Walk: this Sat, 2nd April, 11.45 – 3 pm Local food walk and activities exploring wild plants. This month the focus is on spring tonic herbs and there is a special singing treat. Loughborough Community Centre

Cottington Community Garden Grand Greenhouse Opening – Kennington, Sat, 2nd April, 12 – 4pm, Opal Street, Off Kennington Lane, Official opening of they greenhouse. Unveiling of ‘2 new Royal Scarecrows’. Free workshop from The Master Gardeners from Garden Organic. They want volunteers, call 07912883970.

Seed Swap, Seed Planting and Garden Equipment exchange (including broken tools for repair by Wandsworth Prison) + the Food Coop ordering session at Transition Town Brixton ‘Our Space’ Event: Monday, 4th April, 6 – 9 pm. Loughborough Community Centre, 105 Angell Road, (corner of Barrington Street) SW9 7PD.  Pledge to get those seeds planted one way or another! Look to see if packets expire this year and, if so, plant them, swap them, or give them away!

Capital Growth – Food Training News


The latest courses from Capital Growth. Ruskin Park Community Garden is a Capital Growth space so the offer is available to us!

Special deal for The Regents Park courses in April and May, All Capital Growth spaces get two places for £15!**

Courses coming up in April (this weekend) at the Regents Park – a few places left!:

Planning a vegetable garden using permaculture
Saturday April 2nd 10.30am-1pm
Practical and theoretical session on how to design and think about your food growing space using permaculture principles. This course, led by Hedvig Murray from Get Growing.
Level: beginners/intermediate

Seed sowing and transplanting
Saturday April 2nd, 2pm-4.30pm
OR Wednesday April 6th, 5pm-7.30pm
Learn some practical tips on how to sow seeds and propagate seedlings, and how to take cuttings. It is being taught by Tom Moggach from City Leaf.
Level: beginner/intermediate

Courses in May:

Food gardens and wildlife
Saturday May 14th, 10.30am-1pm
OR Wednesday May 18th, 5.30pm-8pm
Practical tips from trainers from the London Wildlife Trust, on how best to care for and encourage wildlife into your garden which will benefit your food growing space.
level: beginner/intermediate

**You can book two people on one course, or you can book on two different courses for £15. Please note these are for the Regents Park courses April and May only. To find out more and to book onto a course at Regents Park please email: training@capitalgrowth.org
If you are booking for this £15 deal please mention this email.

To see all the Capital Growth food growing courses across the four sites in London, see our CG training calendar March-June 2011 for March-June 2011.

Dig day Sunday 1-3pm

Posted: March 26, 2011

There’s plenty of planting to do on Sunday – early potatoes and seeds. If we can get the timber together the raspberries need staking as well. And probably some weeding. Mastoor will be demonstrating how to take cuttings to propagate the comfrey.

Today’s dig

Posted: March 20, 2011

Today was a lovely warmish day and we got lots done.

We put together the cloche for seedlings. Please bring your seedlings to the garden next time you come.

IMG00658-20110320-1334We planted lots of seeds and put them in the cloche.
We planted 20 jerusalem artichokes and two rhubarb tubers to replace the ones eaten by the squirrels.


IMG00668-20110320-1504We put up lots of netting. It turns out that the netting we had was preventing the birds from eating the rocket and purple sprouting broccoli. In the two weeks the netting has been down, the birds have stripped the plants. So we put it back up again today, with some very impressive architectural design.

We planted the rest of the raspberry canes Roger brought.

On Sunday Mastoor will demonstrate how to take cuttings to propagate the comfrey.

Hope to see you all Thursday night at the Prince Regent Herne Hill Green Drinks – come to the pub and grow some grub!

Dig day Sunday 1-3pm

Posted: March 17, 2011

There’s lots of planting to do on Sunday – jerusalem artichokes, potatoes, and plenty of seeds. And we need to put together our new polytunnel – it will house our seedlings until we can get a greenhouse. Please bring loo and kitchen roll tubes, we’ll use them for planting seeds.

We’ll be getting some free tools refurbished by the inmates at Wandsworth prison. This is via the Tools Shed programme .

Upcoming dig days:

Sunday 20th Mar 1-3pm
Sunday 27th Mar 1-3pm
Sunday 3rd April 1-3pm
Saturday 9th April 11-1pm
Sunday 17th April 1-3pm
Saturday 23rd April 11-1pm
Sunday 1st May 1-3pm
Sunday 8th May 1-3pm
Sunday 15th May 1-3pm

Join Friends of Ruskin Park!


Support the park by joining Friends of Ruskin Park!

The membership form is downloadable here:
2011 membership form 2011

Next dig day – Sunday March 20

Posted: March 10, 2011

We will be starting our weekly dig days next week rather than this week, so no dig day this weekend. If you’re itching to get those fingers dirty then you could go along to the Dulwich Veg Garden workday 10:30am-12:30pm Sunday. Contact at dulwichveggarden@gmail.com Work days are shown on Project Dirt at www.projectdirt.com/group/DulwichDVG, or Twitter at www.twitter.com/DulwichDVG.

A date for your diary: Herne Hill Green Drinks is hosting a intro to growing veg workshop:
“Next Herne Hill Green Drinks:
Growing Vegetables: an introduction
March 24th, 7:30pm
upstairs at the Prince Regent
We are very lucky to have Maria Devereaux from the brilliant Master Gardener programme who will give a brief hands-on talk about how to grow veg. We will make plant pots from newspaper and plant up seeds to take home.” More info on http://www.hernehillcan.org.

Thanks to Ram for giving us a big bag of Jerusalem artichoke tubers.

Dobbie’s Urban Gardening Blog mention


Dobbie’s Garden Centre has a blog, and they’ve written a post called “Urban gardening blogs we love”, which includes Ruskin Park Community Garden. The full article is here:

Visit by St. Saviour’s year 1 class


img00649-20110308-1422The year 1 class from St. Saviour’s class is learning about growing, so they came to the community garden on Tuesday to see what we’re growing. They will come back in 4 weeks to see how things have changed.


Spring/Summer planting plans

Posted: March 8, 2011

Have a look at the veg we’re going to grow http://www.ruskinparkcommunitygarden.org/other-things-of-interest/spring-summer-planting-plans
It includes a diagram of which beds the veg will go in, when the seeds will get planted, and a four year crop rotation plan.

Each dig day we’ll have a look to see what needs planting, and where.

Big thanks to the lovely Kate for her hard work!

Capital Growth Talks and Courses – sign up now!

Posted: March 7, 2011

Dear Capital Growth spaces – South London!

We are pleased to announce food-growing and wildlife gardening courses in South London, in partnership with the London Wildlife Trust. They will hold a series of talks and workshops and will take place at the Centre or Wildlife Gardening in Peckham. This is a well established attractive site which has both a demonstration wildlife garden, with mini habitats, a wild flower nursery, raised vegetable beds and bee hives.

Please note, that the first talk is this Thursday 10th March!

These are discounted at half price for Capital Growth spaces, see below..

How to book
Booking is essential as sessions fill up fast! Please email chammond@wildlondon.org.uk or call 0207 252 9186 to find out if there are spaces and to reserve a place.

Fees must be paid in advance. Details on how to make a payment will be send by email

* One and a half hour TALKS – £10 for individuals / £5 for Capital Growth members
* Three hour WORKSHOPS – £20 for individuals / £10 for Capital Growth members

Sessions available from March to September 2011 are:

Principles in wildlife gardening (TALK)
Thursday March 10th, 6.30 – 8pm
An introduction on encouraging wildlife in your garden or growing space

Introduction to wildlife friendly food growing (TALK)
Thursday March 31st, 6.30 – 8pm
How you can grow food and bring in birds, butterflies and bees

Wildlife gardening (WORKSHOP)
Sunday April 10th 10.30am-1.30am
An introduction on how to encourage wildlife in your garden or growing space

Growing in containers (TALK)
Thursday April 14th, 6.30 – 8pm
Which crops and herbs work in limited spaces and ideas about what you can use to grow in

Wildlife friendly food growing (WORKSHOP)
Sunday April 17th 10.30am-1.30pm
An introduction on how to grow fruit and veg whilst helping wildlife

Insects – friends and foe (TALK)
Thursday May 26th, 6.30 – 8pm
Find out more about attracting beneficial insects (bees, hoverflies etc) and the organic control of pests

Compost and caring for your soil (WORKSHOP)
Sunday June 12th 10.30am-1.30pm
A focus on how best to make compost from your garden and the basics of keeping your soil healthy

Growing food through the year (TALK)
Thursday June 23rd, 6.30 – 8pm
Its time to act to keep your spaces producing in the winter months. Find out about best crops and how to nurture them.

Products from herbs and perennials (WORKSHOP)
Sunday July 17th 10.30am-1.30pm
Some of the best plants for wildlife are your herbs and perennials. You will learn what you can make out of these useful plants.

Gardener’s questions and answers (Q&A/TALK)
Thursday July 21st, 6.30 – 8pm
A panel session to solve your queries about growing food in a wildlife friendly way. Bring along questions and ask the experts!

Seed collection and propagation (WORKSHOP)
Sunday August 14th 10.30am-1.30pm
The tips and techniques you need for increasing the plants for your wildlife area, also applies to your fruit and veg.

Preparing your garden for autum and winter (TALK)
Thursday September 1st, 6.30 – 8pm
Get tips about what you need to do now in order to keep growing through the winter and how to help wildlife through those tricky months.

Creating spaces for wildlife (WORKSHOP)
Sunday September 18th 10.30am-1.30pm
What your food growing space needs to attract wildlife with practical tips on brid boxes and mini beast hotels

Dig day today, become a Master Gardener

Posted: March 6, 2011

IMG00641-20110306-1412It was a brilliant day at the garden. Spring is definitely in the air and we had a lot of familiar faces and several new ones. The veg are definitely growing faster in the warmer weather.

We got lots done. We moved the broad beans out of the raised beds and into the ground, and moved some of the pak choi to the ammunition boxes. We took all of the netting down as we don’t need it – some of it was to protect seedlings from pigeons and some of it was to protect brassicas from pests. We took the windows off the cold frames and built twig teepees for the peas. We planted brussels sprouts and salad. We planted raspberry canes (donated by roger). We dug in the vetch. And we mended the small chalkboard signs and used them to label the veg. Then we saw some blackbirds starting to eat the brussels sprout seeds so we put netting over them.

IMG00645-20110306-1506We harvested purple sprouting broccoli, rocket, and the last of the brussels sprouts.
The new compost is now covered with very tasteful beige berber carpet scraps, courtesy of Lordship Lane Carpets. Keeping it warm will help it cook faster.

We will move to weekly digs, mostly likely Saturdays 11-1, alternating with Sundays 1-3 (will post info about next weekend asap).

Now recruiting: the South London Master programme – volunteer network supporting people and communities grow fruit and vegetables in their gardens and on local communal land
Do you have a passion for growing fruit and veg? Can you inspire others to have a go and develop their skills?
Master Gardeners share their food growing knowledge to help others grow their own. Each one has different gardening experience, from a couple of years to many decades.
Foundation training for Master Gardeners is on Sat/Sun 9th and 10th April.
Click here for the South London Master Gardener website
Click here for more information on becoming a Master Gardener

Foundation training for Master Gardeners is on
Sat/Sun 9th and 10th April (spaces filling fast)
Sat/Sun 10th and 11th September.

If you are interested please contact me for the application form.
Contact: Fiona Law flaw@garden.organic.co.uk, 07584 343847. don’t hesitate to contact me if you would like more information

Background to the programme
The Master Gardener Programme is a 3 year pilot, now 18 months in. It has four projects around England: Warwickshire, Norfolk, Islington and South London. A new project has just started in Lincolnshire, principally supported by the local primary health care trust. The aim is to roll out the programme nationally, supported by local finance. LB Lambeth, through Sue, contributes to South London Master Gardeners. The programme is managed by Garden Organic, the national charity for organic gardening. Garden Organic is the working name for the Henry Doubleday Research Association (HDRA) which has been promoting organic gardening for over 50 years.

Dig day Sunday 1-3pm

Posted: March 4, 2011

Dig day Sunday 1-3pm. There are seeds to plant and the vetch needs digging in. It looks to be cold and cloudy, but no rain.

Great news – our application to for Capital Growth Bee funding has been approved. The grant will provide kit and training for our beekeepers.

Climate week starts March 21. More info on http://www.climateweek.com/

yesterday’s dig, bug hotels, black gold, green drinks, cycle tours

Posted: February 21, 2011

IMG00620-20110220-1325It was a cold murky day at the garden yesterday, with a few hearty stalwarts. The garden is looking very well tended, so there wasn’t much to do. We spent some time talking about the wildlife garden plan, then we harvested some brussels sprouts, purple sprouting broccoli, rocket, and herbs and did some tidying. Thanks to Cosmo for yummy flapjacks.

Next dig day: Sunday, March 6, 1-3pm

One of the elements of the wildlife area will be a bug hotel made from palettes. We’ll need straw and thick bamboo canes to stuff between the layers. We’ll also be looking out for things like old watering cans/ garden ornaments (obviously nothing gaudy or unnatural) but anything that might allow for bug hiding places or shelters. If you have anything that you’re getting rid of please think of us!

IMG00624-20110221-0840Spring is definitely on the way. The snow drops and crocuses in the park are looking stunning.



DSC_0677The seedlings are doing their thing – here are some tomatoes that were planted up last dig day. I still think germination is amazing.

We have just had two tons of compost delivered (free!) from www.elcrp-recycling.com. They collect food waste from businesses and schools in East London and give it to groups like us. Black gold!

Dulwich Vegetable Garden is interested in putting together a cycle tour of local community gardens with us. Anyone interested in helping to organise this?

Two local green drinks this week:

Green Drinks Dulwich: come along to the Mag at 211 Lordship Lane, SE22 on Wednesday 23 February from 8pm to discuss food and growing initiatives, and anything else green. We have reserved the ground floor space by the sofas and the fireplace. Look out for the posters.

Herne Hill Green Drinks Talk:
ZEDfactory housing in Andover Low carbon, energy and cost efficient housing scheme
The next Herne Hill Green Drinks features architect Gita Deb talking about her work on the Zedfactory eco development in Andover, and how green building techniques can apply in older houses. Feb 24 upstairs at the Prince Regent. Grab a drink and a chat at 7:30, talk starts at 8pm. More info on http://www.hernehillcan.org

ZEDfactory housing Talk
Herne Hill Green Drinks
24 February, 7.30 for 8pm
Upstairs at the
Prince Regent Pub, 69 Dulwich Road, Herne Hill, London SE24 0NJ

The ZEDfactory housing project in Andover builds on the experiences made in the Bedzed project in South London. One of the key aspects of the project was to keep the costs low and develop an
affordable housing scheme.

Gita Deb will present the project and the key elements of the scheme such as:
• The use of renewable technology such as solar thermal and wind turbines
• The construction materials
• The underlying principles of sustainable construction
• How heat and cold storage can be a achieved and how it is used
• The use of bio fuels
• Design for longevity
• How the building can be upgraded when technology changes of becomes more affordable
• How the costs for sustainable developments can be lowered

Although Artist’s Way Is a new development, a lot of the principles applied in the project can be
transferred to existing housing stock. Gita will give an overview of these principles and how they can be applied in an urban area like Herne Hill.

Gita Deb
Gita has a variety of experience both in the UK and overseas of large and small projects. She has worked extensively on sustainability projects working in the past with Bill Dunster Architects ZEDfactory as a project architect for Artists Way Andover (Published ‘Building Magazine BedZED’s Baby) here in the UK and tropical sustainability architect Jimmy Lim in Malaysia. Gita has also worked on a sustainable temple and city of Mayapur, West Bengal, India by Mayapur Developments as well as the concert hall interior support areas of Petronas in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia whilst working for DNA Consultants. Gita earlier spent time during her studies researching the slums of Calcutta, India and the shantytowns of Dhaka, Bangladesh both of which areas and people are affected severely by climate change amongst other issues.

Gita has more recently been working as a team leader and Senior Architect for architects Denton Corker Marshall on the Plot No 1 Athletes Village (London Olympic site 2012) where she was responsible for sustainability and affordable housing on the project. Gita has volunteered for a period with the disaster and development charity Article 25 where she was a Senior Architect on the Gola Forest Housing Project, Sierra Leone.

Dig day last week, next dig day Sunday 1-3pm

Posted: February 14, 2011

Next dig day: Sunday 1-3pm

Great news! The funding bid by the Maudsley was successful. The money will go towards plants for the wildlife area; patients who are integrating back into society will help plant up the area.

The last dig day we planted seedlings in recycled containers and people took them home to look after until they’re read to plant. Thanks to Kate for organising the last dig day and Meloni for the photos!

“Sunday went really well, lots of people turned up
DSC05487We planted 3 varieties of tomatoes (7 seeds of each) & endive in containers & people took them hope to keep them warm.
did some weeding
Kate & Cosmo cleaned the windows of the cloches to give them a nice view
also transplanted some of the pak choi from the hospital bed as it was really struggling for space & moved them to under the cloches at the end of the garden with the other Pak Choi as there was loads of room
the edging for the final bed was fitted & its now looking great
also did some watering”

Taking care of seedlings:
Once the seeds have been sown, they need to be kept in a moist (but not wet), warm environment. A heated or mist propagator are ideal for this purpose, although seeds can also be successfully grown on a warm windowsill. Avoid saturating the compost, as this will reduce the amount of oxygen available to the plants roots and may encourage diseases or rot.

When the shoots start to appear, remove the propagator lid. Although you will need to keep the seedlings in bright light, they will need to be protected from draughts and shaded from harsh sunlight. Keep the compost moist to ensure that the roots do not dry out.

If you put the seed container into another dish of water, you can water from the bottom – fill the dish with water and let it soak up into the container. This prevents the seed/seedling from being disturbed by a stream of water, and encourages it to send roots down to the water.

Long live the pampas grass

Posted: January 24, 2011


It took massive musclepower and a lot of perspiration, but we triumphed in the end. One of the pampas grasses is gone, and we have room for the greenhouse we are raising money towards. It really was a very impressive effort, so I hope the diggers put their feet up later.

We also weeded all the beds, watered the veg settled into their cozy coldframes, refilled the water butts, raked up leaves, and generally tidied.

The plan is to start planting up tomato seeds next dig day (Sunday Feb 6). I’ll bring some recycled containers and planting compost. People will take the seeds home to look after until we have a greenhouse or it’s warm enough to plant them out.

The beekeepers have attended a natural beekeeping course and we’re meeting with the park rangers and a local beekeeper to talk about next steps.

Hope to see you all Thursday at the A Farm for the Future screening at Herne Hill Green Drinks 7:30 upstairs at the Prince Regent Pub.

Dig day Sunday 1-3pm

Posted: January 21, 2011

Dear Gardeners,

Dig day Sunday – we’ll take out one of the pampas grasses to make room for the greenhouse. Please wear long sleeves and bring gloves and a pick axe if you have one.

Herne Hill Green Drinks is screening A Farm for the Future next week, with a talk about food and farming issues afterwards. Thursday 7:30 Jan 27th, upstairs at the Prince Regent Pub, across from Brockwell Park Lido on Dulwich Road. I’ve attached a flyer for the film screening, please forward as appropriate. Info on http://www.hernehillcan.org.

Solar Bulk Buying: Herne Hill CAN is collecting names of interested people and working towards an informational meeting. There’s a page on http://www.hernehillforum.org.uk/content/save-solar

Today’s dig

Posted: January 9, 2011

IMG00509-20110109-1343It was a glorious sunny day and lots of people came out to enjoy it. We unloaded the 200 bricks donated by my lovely builder, Julian, and built coldframes with them. The peas look very happy in their new abode.


IMG00513-20110109-1356The ground wasn’t too muddy or frozen, so we dug the 8th veg bed.



IMG00515-20110109-1418We harvested most of the brussels sprouts, the last of the carrots, and some purple sprouting broccoli.

Kate talked through the spring planting plan. She has organised the beds into a four year rotation with some companion planting. We’re going to use heritage seeds and save seeds for next year. The tomato seeds will be the first thing we need to plant up – in February. They need to germinate indoors, so we’ll have a planting session and people can take home several pots to look after until it’s time to plant them up.

Big thanks to Kate for all her hard work!

Ben and Annalisa are going to hold a crafternoon fundraiser for our greenhouse (thanks!!!). It will be at the end of February so we can get it up in time to use it for spring seeds.  Here are photos from a previous crafternoon, they look amazing. http://www.flickr.com/photos/43184275@N04/sets/72157624954016430/.

Next dig day (Jan 23) we’ll have to take out one of the pampas grasses to make room for the greenhouse. Wear long sleeves and bring gloves!

We had a steering committee meeting this week.  We agreed to open our own bank account (Herne Hill Forum has kindly been the conduit for our money); in order to do so we needed to appoint officers. I’m the chair, Jean is the treasurer, and Kate is the secretary.  We have provided a list of plants to the Maudsley for the wildlife garden; they are going to apply for funding and work on the project with us.

Dig day Sunday 1-3pm

Posted: January 4, 2011

Happy New Year!

Here’s to a 2011 where carbon reduction goes mainstream and less triumphs over more – less consumption of fuel, water, natural resources, and stuff in general, fewer flights and car journeys, and less waste.

Dig day Sunday 1-3pm. We will talk through the spring planting plan, so please bring your thoughts and ideas. If the ground is soft enough we can dig the last veg bed. And we will hopefully have the bricks to build the cold frames.

Permaculture day

Posted: December 13, 2010

img00467-20101212-1326Sunday was permaculture day and we had a constructive, if cold, discussion. Toby, Cosmo and I talked about permaculture is and how it applies to agriculture. There’s a great intro to permaculture here http://www.spiralseed.co.uk/permaculture/ and some notes on how permaculture applies to agriculture http://www.ruskinparkcommunitygarden.org/other-things-of-interest/notes-from-permaculture-day.

We then talked about what’s involved in a wildlife area. There are four components to a wildlife habitat: provide food for wildlife, supply water for wildlife, create cover for wildlife, and give wildlife a place to raise their young (according to http://www.nwf.org/Get-Outside/Outdoor-Activities/Garden-for-Wildlife/Create-a-Habitat.aspx?CFID=29690110&CFTOKEN=bff2ea95f59fe6d2-D6D542F4-5056-A868-A093400609BA633B).

We talked about creating a bug hotel from old palettes, creating a small pond, planting a hedge to protect the area from the path and provide food (hazel, elder), planting a live willow fence around the area, planting wildflowers,  getting some logs for bugs to live in, creating  a seat around the tree, and creating a herb spiral near the gate. We will use native plants. Cosmo is going to make a start on a plan and Roger, Farah and Meloni are going to help. I’m going to create a page on the website where people can comment on the plan. The park ranger has offered to get us some logs, thanks!

We have names for two more beds – Chandler after a gardener who inspired Cosmo and Semra which is where Farah’s dad is from.

The seedlings in the wheelchair-height containers are all looking good. The seedlings in the ground are a mixed bunch.  The chard has recovered from the frost and the onions look to be winning the war against the squirrels. The brussels sprouts are a bit grim – small and covered in aphids. They are notoriously hard to grow organically, hopefully we’ll still get a decent crop. Aside from the cavolo nero we haven’t had huge success with brassicas.

Next dig day – January 9. There won’t be much digging to do so we’ll talk through the spring planting plan. Kate has a draft plan but wants everyone’s input so please come with your thoughts.

Sunday is permaculture day, 1-3pm

Posted: December 11, 2010

Sunday is permaculture day at the garden – we’ll talk through what permaculture is, how it applies to agriculture, and then make a start on a design for the wildlife area. It will be a bit warmer than it has been, and no rain/snow forecast, but do dress warmly and maybe bring a flask of something hot. It would be good to get an idea of numbers (for handouts and cookies) so if you plan to come please let me know.

Herne Hill Climate Action Network (CAN) has persuaded Sainsbury’s Local to give out Herne Hill reusable shopping bags! They’re at the tills starting with yesterday’s evening commute. The bags contain a leaflet explaining why plastic bags are bad for the environment. More info on http://www.hernehillcan.org/

Herne Hill CAN is also organizing bulk buying of solar panels as a result of the solar talk at the last green drinks. There’s more info on http://www.hernehillcan.org/other-interest/solar-in-the-home-community-buying . By buying together we can get a discount. Please let me know if you’re interested.

A timely local event: Saturday: Brixton Zero Waste Christmas – Brixton Library (Brixton/Oval), 12.00 midday to 4.00pm. This listing is from Project Dirt’s weekly newsletter of what’s on. Project Dirt is a central web repository for environmental activities/activism in London, www.projectdirt.com – worth signing up to!

CoolItSchools (http://www.coolitschools.com/) a non profit based in Herne Hill that works with schools on climate change issues has just opened Cool it Shopping (a not for profit so all the income goes to help eco start ups, school projects and conservation ) http://redbeehive.coolitshopping.com/products. They are selling bee hotels for super pollinating solitary bees so your garden will increase it’s abundance,  they work brilliantly, HRH has one!  Put one on your Christmas list?

Dig Day today

Posted: November 28, 2010

IMG00458-20101128-1347It was a sunny, cold day at the garden. We took apart palettes and used the slats to fill the holes in the compost bin. We shifted the big pile of topsoil to the far corner of the garden and then laid out one more big veg bed in that space. We forked over the soil where the topsoil was. The ground is frozen so it will probably be a while before we can lift the turf on the other half of the bed.

Next dig day (Dec 12) we’ll talk about permaculture. Three of us have taken permaculture courses, so we’ll explain a bit about permaculture principles and then we can all discuss how they could apply to the garden. Permaculture is a design methodology, so we can try designing the wildlife area.

IMG00454-20101127-1239We raised £50 towards the greenhouse at the Carnegie Library Winter Fair. Thanks to Carole for help running the stall. Jane Wright is the lucky winner of 18 hours of gardening labour, and very pleased she is. Ben and Annalisa have a great idea for a fundraiser in January, hopefully we can raise the balance towards a greenhouse.

Doug from Friends of Ruskin Park is donating a used tool store, big thanks!

dig day tomorrow, Carnegie Library Winter Fair today, and vote!‏

Posted: November 27, 2010

Dig day tomorrow 1-3pm. We’ll be working on the compost area – Cosmo is bringing tools and materials to tidy it up and insulate the compost so it cooks faster. The ground will be too frozen to dig another bed but we may make a start on the taking out the pampas grass. Please bring heavy gloves if you have them.

Today we’ll be running a stall at the Carnegie Library Winter Fair, 11-3pm at the Library. We had intended to sell pots of herbs to raise money for a greenhouse, but the herbs are looking a bit pathetic (not enough light). So we’re selling raffle tickets. The prize: six lovely garden volunteers will come to your house and do three hours of work – digging a bed, planting a veg patch, weeding, clearing… Come on down and buy a ticket, and do some early Christmas shopping:

“The Friends of Carnegie Library invite you to the Library Winter fair. During the day the Library will welcome characters from Dickens in costume and include stalls, raffles, puzzles, decorate the Christmas tree and much more. Refreshments will include homemade cakes and a special early welcome will be given to Father Christmas on a flying visit.”

Our Lambeth ward purse funding application (for a greenhouse) was turned down, most likely because we received funding last year.We’ll look for other grant opportunities, as we need a tool store as well.

Voting closes on December 1st for Lambeth funding for community projects http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/Services/CouncilDemocracy/Consultations/YourChoice.htm. It would really revitalise Ruskin Park to have a café. And I’m going to put in a shameless plug for the Brixton Reuse Centre (£100K) as a great way to enable people to reduce their carbon footprint by reusing rather than buying new stuff.

Next dig day – Sunday November 28 1-3pm

Posted: November 19, 2010

The next dig day will be November 28. We’ll focus on the compost area, make a start on digging out one of the pampas grasses, and dig another bed if the ground isn’t too wet.
The steering committee met this week to discuss the budget. We are applying for Lambeth community funding for a greenhouse and a tool store.
We have added a wish list to the website, in the lower right corner of the home page – if there’s anything on the list you want to donate please get in touch.

Dig day today

Posted: November 14, 2010

We had an impressive turnout of stalwarts in the cold rain today. I’ve taken a picture to prove it. IMG00452-20101114-1338We took out the beans and planted vetch in the rest of that bed. We made a teepee on the broad beans in the wheelchair height container and planted parsley, rocket and tatsoi. And we tidied up a bit – fixing netting, raking leaves, and taking the yellowed leaves off the brassicas. There wasn’t a huge amount to do so we finished up early.  All the seedlings are looking good. IMG00451-20101114-1325We should have a reasonable Brussels sprouts harvest soon, as well as some rocket and pak choi and some beetroot and chard from earlier in the year.

An animal dug up one of the rhubarb crowns. Not sure if it was a squirrel or a fox. Jean has a rhubarb she needs to divide so we’ll get a replacement from her.

We will now start having dig days every other Sunday, as there just there isn’t that much to do. We’ll go back to every Sunday when things pick up again, probably early spring.

Next dig day: November 28, 1-3pm!

The fruit is in!

Posted: November 8, 2010

IMG00442-20101107-1541The fruit is in! In all:

Blackcurrant – 2 Ben Lomond
Gooseberry – 2 Invicta , 2 Pax
Rhubarb – 1 Champagne, 2 Victoria
White currant – 1 White Versaille
Red currant 1 Ben Lomond , 1 Jonkheer van Tets
Raspberry – 5 Glen Clova, 5 Leo, 5 Glen Ample, 5 Autumn Bliss, 5 Polka (a mix of early, mid, and late fruiting varieties)

IMG00435-20101107-1400Big thanks to Carole and Jake, who laid out the beds and researched the varieties. We had lots of energetic diggers so we finished by 3:30. We got really lucky with the weather – the ground was moist but not soggy and it was dry and sunny except for a brief showery spell with a spectacular rainbow.

IMG00440-20101107-1532As well as planting all the fruit canes, we planted some garlic, raked some leaves for the compost pile, and put some netting on the broad beans. Kate updated the planting plant to reflect what’s in the ground. All the seedlings are coming on well, aside from the broadbeans which are getting munched, probably by birds. Roger’s teepees on the wheelchair-height beds are working brilliantly, keeping the veg slightly warmer as well as preventing the plants from getting eaten. We had a huge harvest of Jerusalem artichokes, over a kilo each to take home. We also had a bit of purple sprouting broccoli.

If you haven’t cooked Jerusalem artichokes before, here are a couple ideas. Jean recommends roasting them with salad potatoes; throw in some sage and lemon half way through roasting. I usually make soup – fry some onions then add the sliced artichokes and stock and cook for 20 min, then puree and add cream and seasoning. If you want to get really fancy a drip of truffle oil is a fantastic addition.

We’ll need to build supports for the raspberries in the spring. We may also want to plant comfrey around the roots as a companion plant. It feeds the soil and keeps the weeds down.

Next week we’ll plant up a few more beds. We may move to dig days every other Sunday because there’s not much to do this time of year.

Reminders: please bring your 2 liter plastic bottles to the garden and remember to vote for funding for local projects (e.g. the Ruskin Park café). Also the Carnegie Library Winter Fair is November 27, please let me know if you can help on our stall.

There are a number of excellent upcoming events:

Brixton Community Draught Busters
Thursday 11  Nov, 6-8pm, (drop-in), TTB Community Shop, 6 Granville Arcade, Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8PR FREE
Saturday 13 Nov, 11-2pm, on Railton Road near Herne Hill Station, (phone 07892 792944 for booking) FREE

Saturday 27 Nov, 11-2pm, SW12, on Midmoor Road, (phone 07892 792944 for booking) FREE
Learn, hands-on, how to install draught busting material. Draught proofing is a cheap and easy DIY measure which will save you money, reduce your carbon footprint and improve the comfort of your home. If you are interested in arranging a similar workshop in your own community please email Sibylle.

The Big Lambeth Clothes Swap!
23rd November 2010 19.00
Venue: Upstairs at the Ritzy, Brixton Oval, Coldharbour Lane, London

v      Swap to your heart’s content in the fantastic surroundings of Brixton’s Ritzy Cinema
v      Drop off items at 7pm, party begins at 7.30pm!
v      Please bring up to five items (clothes, shoes, bags, accessories) that are clean, in good condition and that you are proud to hand on
v      Delivered by the London Borough of Lambeth in partnership with the textile charity TRAID, and Recycle for London. TRAID will take away un-swished items for charity reuse
v      Full bar open

For more information please email cbourke2@lambeth.gov.uk

Solar Energy for the Home at Herne Hill Green Drinks – Thursday November 25th

Solar power – facts, advantages and incentives

Matt Mann of Southern Solar will present the latest development and opportunities of solar technologies in the domestic applications.
Thursday 25 November, 7:30pm for 8pm start
Upstairs at the Prince Regent Pub, 69 Dulwich Road
The talk will be cover the key areas of the use of solar power in a domestic environment:
– What is solar electricity?
– How does it connect to existing services?
– What are the savings?
– How are they installed
– What is the Feed in Tariff and how does it work? Are there other financial incentives?
– How do solar technologies relate to other renewable technologies?
In the second part of the event Martin Hoenle of M.HAUS will give an overview of financial incentives and grants available for
– other renewable technologies
– insulation
– energy efficiency measures
– micro generation
We will also outline the criteria you have to fulfill to be eligible for financial support. For more information please see www.hernehillcan.org

All hands on deck – the fruit canes are here!! Dig Day Sunday 1-dark‏

Posted: November 3, 2010

Please come on Sunday if you can! There are loads of canes to plant, and a few veg beds we can plant as well. It looks to be sunny and cold. We will start at 1 and most likely work until dark. Also, please bring gloves if you can.

Meloni led the dig last Sunday. She said: “we had a productive day at the garden with a few seasoned gardeners we trimmed the beds, dug over the fruit beds in preparation for the fruit trees and dug out the beans which have finished harvesting ready for planting more winter seeds next week.”

The Shakespeare Road Zero Waste veg garden is going to build a greenhouse from recycled drinks bottles and they need 900 of them. If you have any 2 liter bottles, please bring them to the community garden.

I went on an introductory permaculture course this weekend. Permaculture is a design methodology rather than a set of gardening techniques (to my surprise). The idea is to create systems that are self-sustaining and maximize efficiency while respecting and working with nature. There are certain gardening techniques that fit well within permaculture, e.g. no dig gardening and forest gardening. One Sunday I will spend some time talking about what I learned and what we might apply to the garden. The course was organised by BioRegional (www.bioregional.com) who were involved in building BedZed. The first day of the course was there so I got to tour the development, very inspiring. It was led by Graham from www.spiralseed.co.uk; he was an excellent teacher.

We have a chance to get some funding for a community cafe in Ruskin Park, how lovely would that be! You can vote, please see below.


Hello Everyone.

I want to bring your attention to a great opportunity to have a café and community centre in Ruskin Park.

We need you to support votes for this project.

Lambeth council’s campaign “Your borough, your budget, your choice” gives Lambeth residents and local groups the opportunity to vote for particular projects and decide how to allocate its budget.

Lambeth residents can vote – so if you live in Lambeth make sure you vote for this project. If you use Ruskin Park but live outside the borough please encourage all those you know who live in Lambeth to vote for the development of a café and community centre in Ruskin Park

Ruskin Park is one of Lambeth’s most popular parks with sports and recreation activities available year round. However, Ruskin Park has always lacked a community focal point where visitors can stop for a coffee and something to eat, offices for park staff and volunteers, and a low-cost space for training, events and meetings. 

The stable block is a historic building in the centre of Ruskin Park, modified over time for use as a parks depot. It needs to be brought back into the daily life of this attractive park and given a use that meets the needs of park users and the wider community including the staff, patients and visitors to King’s College and Maudsley Hospitals, which are both a short walk from the stable block. 

The plans include:

· a modern, fully equipped café, to be run as a local community enterprise;

· male and female (or unisex) toilets with baby changing facilities;

· space that can be hired for various exhibitions, meetings, training or events, including school visits, art exhibitions or parties;

· a centre for the park manager, contractors and/or authorised agencies for administration and meetings;

· ‘community rooms’ which can be leased out or used by stakeholders or groups, generating income to improve the use and environment of the park.

Vote to have a cafe and community centre in Ruskin Park before 30th November @ www.lambeth.gov.uk/surveys/fin/yourchoice2010.htm

dig day today

Posted: October 24, 2010

IMG00420-20101024-1418We had a lovely day in the glorious fall sunshine. There was plenty to do – clearing the squash, sugar snap peas and courgettes, weeding, and planting onions, garlic, green manure (vetch), peas, rocket, and broad beans. The black birds are snooping for snacks so Roger built impressive teepees over the wheelchair beds to protect the new seedlings.
IMG00421-20101024-1452Kate put sticks around the onion bulbs to stop the squirrels from digging up the bulbs and squashing the stems; it looks a bit funny but hopefully it will work. We harvested beans, kale, beetroot, a turnip, and the rest of the squash.
The bees people had a meeting this afternoon with Bob Jackman, a local beekeeper, to understand where we could site a hive and what steps need to be taken to get ready to keep bees. Trainee beekeepers need a year of practical experience before having their own hive, so the group will be going on courses, attending lectures, and reading a lot.
I gave a short talk at a meeting of the Friends of Streatham Common this week about how and why we started the community garden, and how it runs. They are hoping to get permission to grow veg in part of the common so wanted to understand our experience.
I am hoping the fruit canes arrive so we can plant them next weekend.

dig day Sunday 1-3pm

Posted: October 22, 2010

Hope to see you Sunday at the garden. It is set to be sunny and chilly. We’ll weed, and possibly clear some beds and do some planting.

Sunday’s dig

Posted: October 19, 2010

From Cosmo:
SAMSUNG DIGIMAX A503Well that sun didn’t stop shining all dig and it certainly spurred on everyone to get an awful lot done. We cleared out all the tomato plants and saved the green toms for some chutney making and turned the soil ready for planting. Some old squash vines were cleared and the soil weeded and turned with some vetch planted in it’s place. Also the mendelssohn bed was cleared of the old chard and soil was turned then some pak choi was planted and window covers were put over. The bed where the potatoes were has been turned and kate has planted some new treats and this area has been covered with windows. Finally everything had a good water and alot of weeding was done.

dig day sunday 1-3pm

Posted: October 15, 2010

Sunday looks to be sunny. Cosmo will be organising the dig day. We’ll plant broad beans, green manure (vetch) and possibly some other things.
We have two new bed names: the fruit beds are named for Auntie Betty Patterson, after Carole’s family friend, and Mendelssohn, who wrote well-known ‘Spring Song’ when visiting relatives of his wife, the Benneckes, in Camberwell. The latter was suggested by Lara and Di, the park rangers, and Alison from the Friends of Ruskin Park.
Clara, Robert, and I had a promising meeting with the Maudsley and have several possibilities for accommodating the patients.

dig day big draw and cake stall

Posted: October 10, 2010

09102010069Jean organised the dig day and I ran the cake stall. The weather is too mild to start the fall planting so they did a lot of tidying up with plenty of visitors to the garden – cleared front demonstration bed to plant green manure, planted some quick germinating herbs in 4th raised tub, re-fixed edging that had lifted during the summer is 2 beds, weeded the squash bed and the soft fruit beds, topped up soft fruit beds with compost, cut grass around beds by the fence, and picked tomatoes, carrots and beans to share.

IMG00393-20101009-1234The cake stall made an impressive £113.38 and completely sold out. There were delicious cakes and cookies from Anne, Cathy, Di, Jean, Carole, Kate, me and an anonymous donor. There were lots of happy families drawing fantastic pictures on the pavement.

Big Draw, cake stall, and dig day tomorrow!

Posted: October 8, 2010

Tomorrow 12-3 is the Big Draw, our cake sale to benefit our bees project, and our dig day. The weather looks to be good (phew). But in case of rain, the Big Draw and cake sale will be in the Carnegie Library. I saw Carole yesterday, she was about to make the bees for decoration on her marzipan-topped cakes. YUM.
No dig day Sunday.
Clara, Robert and I are meeting with the Maudsley folks next week to understand how we can organise patient visits to the garden. Clara did the training this week, thanks!!!
Our four beekeepers are enrolled in the natural beekeeping course and we’re meeting with a local beekeeper to talk about supervision.
I have put a plan of the garden with current/future crops on it here. We have three named beds: St. Nicholas, Shinto, and Oklahoma. Please suggest more!

yesterday’s dig, and all about next weekend

Posted: October 4, 2010

IMG00388-20101003-1408Our gardeners are a stalwart bunch, no fair weather diggers here! Several of us braved the downpour and we planted, netted, and harvested. There was another huge pile of beans, and some potatoes, tomatoes, sugar snap peas, and a courgette.
Next weekend: the dig day will be Saturday 12-3, during the Ruskin Park Big Draw, and we will run a cake stall at the same time. No dig day on Sunday. Saturday’s dig day will be all about planting – onions, garlic, broad beans, peas, spring cabbage, and green manure.
We’ve got seven bakers on board, so we should have a table groaning with yummy treats (always room for more if you fancy a bit of baking!). The cake stall will be next to the bandstand, and we’ll hand out garden flyers and invite people to go have a look. If you’re one of the baker’s please stop by the stall with your goodies at 11:45.

Dig Day Sunday 1-3pm

Posted: October 1, 2010

PLEASE NOTE: The dig day next weekend (October 9-10) will be Saturday, not Sunday! We’ll dig 12-3pm Saturday October 9 so that the garden will be open during the Ruskin Park Big Draw. This weekend’s dig will be Sunday 1-3pm as normal.
We’ll have a cake/cookie stall at the big draw, please let me know if you can bake something and/or help run the stall, or whether you’ll come to the dig day. We’ll hand out community garden flyers at the cake so we may have a lot of visitors to show around. All proceeds benefit the bees project.
This Sunday’s dig: the weather forecast is marginal but we’ll be there if only to harvest. If it’s not too grubby we’ll do some planting and weeding.
I’ve ordered the fruit canes. They will arrive mid-late October. Very exciting!

today’s dig, and upcoming dates

Posted: September 26, 2010

IMG00373-20100926-1438We had a very productive dig day today, and only got wet at the end. We weeded, trimmed the grass around the beds, and switched the netting on the brassicas to get more ventilation in. Roger fixed the water tank so it doesn’t leak (thanks!!). Kate planted up some winter lettuce in the ammunition boxes and we figured out what seeds we need to buy; next week we should be able to plant more seeds.

IMG00370-20100926-1346We had a big harvest, particularly of green beans. Also potatoes, sugar snap peas, tomatoes, lettuce, chard, potatoes and the first of the jerusalem artichokes. We also harvested the first purple sprouting broccoli and can see the brussels sprouts forming.

The Ruskin Park Big Draw is October 9th and we agreed that we’d hold a cake sale to raise money for the bees project. Please let me know if you can contribute something.

The Carnegie Library Winter Fair is Nov 27 and we’re going to have a stall selling herb plants to raise money to buy seeds etc next year. We’ll bring compost, pots, and seeds next Sunday and have a potting session.

One more reminder about the home energy talk Tuesday, hope to see you there:


Home Energy Reduction Talk
Tuesday 28 September
7:30pm for 8pm start
Upstairs at the Prince Regent Pub
69 Dulwich Road, Herne Hill

Come hear local home home energy expert and resident Martin Hoenle present a range of ways to save energy in the home, including:
* the small and easy things to do immediately
* things to do in a complete refurbishment
* things to do over the next 5 to 10 years.

For more information, please visit www.hernehillcan.org

Dig day tomorrow, and our first workshop!

Posted: September 25, 2010

Tomorrow we’ll do a bit of weeding and harvesting and planting up some of the containers and beds in the front. The weather forecast is iffy but not dreadful.
IMG00365-20100924-1335Maria led a brilliant workshop yesterday at lunchtime for several King’s Hospital employees. She covered all the basics of veg growing and the attendees each planted up some rocket to take home. She has offered to do more workshops in the future. Thank you!!!
And thanks very much to the Friends of Carnegie Library for letting us use the art gallery as a workshop space; we couldn’t meet in the garden because of the rain. It is a lovely space.
Big thanks to Carole and Jake for putting together the list of fruit canes etc – both the variety and number of each. We need to spend our Capital Growth money by Thursday, so I’ll order those this week. I’ll also order the rest of the seeds and sets we need for our winter planting.
The Maudsley hospital has asked whether we can accommodate patients coming to the garden. Is there someone who wants to take this on? There is a half day training day on October 5th. It will “provide practical information and guidance to enable you to feel confident supporting volunteers who have experienced mental health problems, as well as ensuring the volunteering experience is a positive one for everyone in your organisation.” Please let me know if you’re interested.

The Harvest Feast

Posted: September 20, 2010

IMG00349-20100919-1728The harvest feast was aptly named; the picnic tables were groaning with delicious local food. We have some serious cooking and baking talent! Big thanks to our chef-organisers (Cosmo and Meloni) who prepared our harvest: potato, green bean, sugar snap pea and beetroot green salad with mint, roasted squash with three different dressings, grated beetroot, fried green tomatoes. The gardeners brought veg lasagna, veg curry, barley and peas, tabouleh, samosas, tortilla, cheese, home made bread, date cake, scones, cookies, and several apple desserts – pie, crumble, cake, tarte tatin, and apple butter. Meloni made gorgeous bunting which added to the festive feeling. A really lovely evening, thanks to all everyone!

IMG00344-20100919-1710We did some work before the feast – we finished edging all the beds, trimmed the grass around the beds, weeded, watered, and sieved more fruit beds.

Next week we’ll finish the sieving, and do some weeding and watering.

Harvest Feast Sunday!

Posted: September 13, 2010

IMG00324-20100912-1550Harvest Feast is Sunday 5-7pm! We’ll harvest and cook some veg, then eat it together to celebrate the harvest and the garden that we’ve created. The dig day will be 3-5, not 1-3. Please bring: some local food to share, something to drink, and your own plate/cup/cutlery. And please RSVP so we have an idea of numbers. It looks like we’ll have a good crowd.
IMG00319-20100912-1506Sunday was a gloriously sunny day and loads of people came and sieved, dug compost in, edged the fruit beds, weeded, and harvested. Kate came from her sickbed to deliver the winter planting plan and the seeds, and we planted turnips (for spring greens), spinach, rocket, and lettuce. Roger brought timber and tools and built a stand for the water butt. Carole made very yummy beetroot chocolate cake. We have one more bed named – Shinto is the bed closest to the front, named by Meloni because it’s the Japanese religion that believes that there is spirit in everything including veg.
Our first workshop will be Friday September 24th 12:30-1:30 at the garden and will cover basic plant care. Please let me know if you’d like to attend.

dig day Sunday 1-3pm

Posted: September 10, 2010

Sunday promises to be lovely and warm, and there’s lots to do in the garden. Lambeth delivered a big load of compost (thanks!!) and Carole shifted it (30 barrowloads!!) into the garden. So digging in and a bit more sieving to do on the fruit beds. The edging is expected to arrive tomorrow so we can put that in too and then we’ll be ready to plant up. We will start the fall planting and as always there’s weeding to do.
Hope to see you then.

Sunday dig and meeting

Posted: September 6, 2010

Please RSVP for the Harvest Feast – September 19, 5-7pm. Thanks!

IMG00305-20100905-1456We had a very productive day Sunday. We finished digging the fruit beds and did most of the sieving. We did a lot of weeding, staking, watering, and harvesting.

There’s loads to do next week.  We can finish sieving the fruit beds, and I will get some manure (and hopefully some compost) this week for digging in.  And the edging should turn up so we can put that in.  We should be able to get seeds for winter planting so those can start to go in, and there’s more weeding to do.

IMG00306-20100905-1517The meeting was good too, and we made great use of our new picnic tables.

Planting: Kate talked through the planting plan. She has organized a 4 year crop rotation – brassicas, onions and roots, legumes, and potatoes for the seven beds in the back, with the small square bed used for herbs.  The front beds will continue to be a variety of veg to show people what can be grown. For winter planting, we will put in turnips, spinach, lettuce, onions, broad beans, and green manure. We will build coldframes using the donated windows (we need bricks!) in both the back and front. We will also use companion planting.  We need to name the 8 beds in the back so please bring a name suggestion next week. The fruit beds will have Scottish names.

Admin: People are happy with the way things are run, so nothing will change. We are writing down a few guidelines just so that if the need arises, they are there.

The harvest: people like the idea of eating what they’ve grown, so we’ll continue to distribute the harvest among the people who worked that day (and arrived before 2pm).  Rather than dividing up the harvest so each person gets a bit of each thing, we’ll have people take a bunch of one or two things.

How decisions are made: The purpose and values of the garden are described in the mission statement (http://www.ruskinparkcommunitygarden.org/about), and these guide decisions that are made about the garden.  Most decisions now are taken as a group; for example, putting in fruit beds came out of the discussions at the June garden meeting at the pub. The initial decisions about the garden were made by the steering committee  – Therese, Jean, Karen, Giles.  (Meloni has now joined the steering committee). The license is in Therese’s name so she is ultimately responsible for the garden. Jean is responsible for how the money gets spent as her name is on most of the funding applications, and she writes the cheques.

At the moment, people are taking on individual projects. People would like to continue that way, rather than creating formal committees.

Fundraising: the funding source I had identified for our bees project is no longer available, so we’ll have to find money elsewhere. As a start, we decided to hold a cake sale at the big draw at Ruskin Park (October 9th).

Sunday supervisor: there will be a person designated as a supervisor on Sundays, and people should check in with this person to see what needs doing. The role of the supervisor is to make sure that the garden progresses as the group has agreed it should; e.g. there’s no sense in Kate doing a detailed planting plan if subsequently someone turns up and plants whatever they want.

Garden rules

  • Don’t step in the beds if possible (I will bring some planks to use for weeding)
  • No use of pesticides or other products that aren’t acceptable to organic farmers
  • No dogs
  • Take any rubbish with you
  • Safety:
    • Children need to be supervised and musn’t use the big tools
    • If you’re using big tools, wear solid close-toed shoes
    • Don’t leave tools lying on the ground

Harvest feast: Meloni is organising this. It is September 19, 5-7pm. The dig day is 3-5 that day. She and Cosmo will cook (on three camp stove burners) food that is harvested that day.  We should all bring something to share, e.g. bread, rice, pudding, and something to drink. Please try to bring something that is local, e.g. English wine.  Please RSVP and indicate what you’ll bring.

Workshops: Maria Devereaux, a Master Gardener, is going to lead a lunchtime workshop for King’s employees. The workshop will be about basic plant care.  We haven’t organized anything for the 1 o’clock club yet because they require an enhanced CRB check. Good news – Seb has just got one and Farah also has one. So they’re going to think about what to do for a workshop for 2-4 year olds.

Bees: Roger is going to help build a hive based on plans provided by Seb. We need to raise some money for equipment, timber, and training, as the funding I had identified has been suspended.

sunday – dig day , 1-3pm and meeting 3pm

Posted: August 31, 2010

IMG00292-20100829-1418We had another fantastically productive day Sunday. The fruit beds are mostly dug! Jake laid them out and we had lots of diggers. The weather cooperated, even had some sun, until the last ten minutes which felt like a mini hurricane. Next week we’ll finish digging, sieve, and add compost and a bit of topsoil. We’ll get some more edging to keep the grass at bay. Then they’ll be ready for planting in November. Carol is researching which varieties and how many plants we’ll need; she’s going for disease resistance, yield, and flavor. As well as digging, lots of weeding, building bean teepees, caterpillar picking and harvesting was done.
IMG00290-20100829-1348Next week we’ll need to finish the fruit beds, stake the tomatoes in the front, weed, and maybe start the winter planting.
Compost – the council has been promising us compost for months, I have requested it urgently for the fruit beds. I am also trying to get some from Aardvark, which composts food waste. Please bring your garden waste and kitchen scraps for the compost heap so we can make our own!
Let’s have a meeting after the dig day. Here’s a draft agenda:

garden planning (based on Kate’s plan)

  • winter planting
  • crop rotation
  • green manures
  • soil improvement

garden admin

  • put together a list of garden rules? e.g.
  • how/when to harvest
  • safety, e.g. closed toed shoes for digging
  • no pesticides
  • dogs
  • don’t step in the beds
  • how dig days are organised, e.g. who decides what needs doing
  • how bigger decisions are made, e.g. what gets planted

other garden activities

  • harvest feast
  • workshops
  • bees

If there’s something you want to add to the list, please let me know.
Sunday is also the Urban Green Fair at Brockwell Park and the Sky Ride (http://www.goskyride.com/city/details.aspx?eventid=305&cityid=4), The Sky Ride opens at 9:30 so we’re going in the morning.

No dig day sunday (heavy rain)

Posted: August 20, 2010

There will be no dig day this Sunday, because of heavy rain. We’ll dig the fruit beds next weekend.

picnic tables!!!

Posted: August 15, 2010

IMG00273-20100815-1523Today was brilliant. Kelly, Jared, and Meloni put the picnic tables together and Kelly and Jared did the smelly job of coating the tables with wood preserver. We moved the compost to the compost pile to make space for the tables. We planted some carrots and cavolo nero seeds. We also took the netting off the beans and sugar snap peas (they’re big enough to withstand the pigeons) and built teepees for them. Meloni made delicious chocolate chip cookies. The picnic tables are settled into their new home, looking inviting, and the garden is looking fantastic.

IMG00271-20100815-1444We agreed that we would dig the fruit beds next week. Jake is going to draw a plan. Meloni will coordinate things on the day. If we get really ambitious and have a lot of people we may dig one more big bed where the topsoil pile is (we’ll have to shift the topsoil).

We noticed that during the week someone harvested three crown prince squash; the squash are all meant for the harvest feast. Today we agreed that we would only harvest on Sunday, as a group, except for the waterers who are welcome to take the beans, tomatoes, and sugar snap peas as they are ready; harvesting encourages these plants to keep producing.

IMG00274-20100815-1527We had a big harvest today – two marrows, broad beans, French beans, cavolo nero, chard, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, lettuce, and cabbage. Meloni harvested some blackberries; she’s going to freeze them to make a crumble for the harvest feast.

Does anyone have camp stove we can borrow for the harvest feast? We have one but need another.

I will be sorry to miss next week — I will be in Cheltenham at my mother in law’s.

Picnic and dig day Sunday 1-3pm

Posted: August 6, 2010

There’s not much work to do in the garden at the moment, so let’s take the opportunity to have a picnic and watch the veg grow. Please bring something to eat and drink, a rug, and maybe a Frisbee.

Exciting news – two big picnic tables are on order and should arrive in the next few days. We’ll need to assemble and oil them when they arrive. Big thanks to Lambeth for some additional money. The tables will be really useful for running workshops and for events like the Harvest Feast.

We’re all set for the Harvest Feast September 19 at 5pm, after a dig day 3-5pm. We’ll cook what we harvest, and bring extras like bread, pudding, and drinks. The park closes at 7:15pm that day.

Sunday’s dig day

Posted: August 2, 2010

IMG00248-20100801-1356We had another lovely day yesterday at the garden. We put more netting on the brassicas and the seedlings and newly planted seeds. Kate planted some more seeds and worked on the planting plans. We put blocks of wood under the crown prince squash to prevent them from rotting. We strimmed a path to the beds and around the beds, and left the rest wild. We labeled the demonstration bed chalkboards with the chalkboard marker and picked up the stray bits of rubbish. We harvested the corn, (yum) and a bunch of other stuff. And we had a brief meeting to talk about the harvest feast. It will be Sunday September 19 at 5 pm, and we’ll have the dig day 3-5pm that day. We will cook and eat what we’ve harvested, plus bread, puddings, etc that we bring. Cosmo and Meloni will be in charge of cooking. Partners and children welcome as well. Would anyone like to come along and play guitar/harmonica/banjo/etc ? We’re thinking of cooking on a half-drum bbq (if we’re allowed to) – anyone know where we can borrow one?

Dig Day Sunday 1-3pm, and meeting notes

Posted: July 29, 2010

I am incredibly pleased and relieved to say that the outside tap is operational and the water tank and water butt are both full. I know you’ll all miss the smell of the boys’ bathroom.
Thanks to the folks who came to the planning meeting last night. We’re making steady progress on all fronts.
Simon and Kate are going to plan the winter and spring planting. On Sunday they’re going to ask people what they want to grow, and also about names for the different beds. Kate has done some research into crop rotation and companion planting which will factor into the planting plans.
Bees – Seb is going on a natural beekeeping course on Saturday. We are looking to put bees in the depot.
Fruit beds – we’ll dig these once the ground has softened. They’ll get planted up in November.
Harvest feast – we’ll talk about this Sunday.
Workshops – Monica has found a volunteer, Maria Devereaux, to run an adult workshop on basic plant care and growing indoors. We have set a tentative date – Sunday 12th September at 3pm. The 1 o’clock club workshop needs to be run by someone who is CRB checked. Di, who had volunteered to run it, is on holiday until September. If Seb’s CRB check is acceptable to the 1 o’clock club folks he’s going to run a workshop for children in August.
A kind neighbor is going to loan us a strimmer for Sunday. If you fancy some strimming, please wear long trousers and boots. I will bring safety goggles.
Please bring your veg scraps for the compost bin.

Garden meeting – 7:30 Wednesday July 28

Posted: July 25, 2010

First – please note that we’re having a garden meeting at Herne Hill Green Drinks, this Wednesday 7:30 at the Prince Regent. The pub is across the street from Brockwell Park Lido. There’s lots to talk about – planning the fruit beds, winter planting, bees, permaculture, workshops, the Harvest Feast.

IMG00227-20100725-1536We had a lovely dig day today. We put up netting on the bed with seedlings coming up so the pigeons can’t get at them. We put up our sign, tidied a bit, and watered a lot. We harvested a bit of a lot of different things – cavolo nero, chard, beans, courgettes, tomatoes, cabbage, broad beans, and radishes.

IMG00231-20100725-1545The garden is looking fantastic. The demonstration bed and ammunition planters are looking great; I’ll order some restaurant chalkboard markers so the rain doesn’t wash the writing away. It was good to see the netting up; I could see a cabbage white being frustrated by not being able to get at the broccoli. The corn should be ready next week. The first crown prince squash are appearing. We are going to have a bumper crop of Brussels sprouts.
IMG00228-20100725-1537I am meeting the plumber on Tuesday to get a quote on putting an external tap in; this will hopefully be the last week of trekking to the loos with the wheelbarrow. To all our waterers, without you the garden wouldn’t be what it is, thank you!

Ruskin Park Summer Fete

Posted: June 27, 2010

IMG00196-20100626-1403Yesterday was the Ruskin Park Summer Fete. Big thanks to Maeve who helped run the stall, it was a huge success. We gave away all the recycled yogurt pots that Becca decorated to people who planted seeds in them and went home with planted up lettuce, carrots, beans, peas, and beetroot. We gave out leaflets about the garden and encouraged people to have a look around. Mastoor, Monica, and Nicholas represented Garden Organic as Master Gardeners and helped people plant seeds as well.
IMG00190-20100624-1252And big sweaty thanks to the folks digging away in the hot sun in the garden. The soil is rock hard and it was seriously hard work. They dug and sieved the demonstration bed and started planting it. Simon made the planting plan, thanks! They also showed a steady stream of visitors through the garden, I think there will be some new faces in the coming Sundays.
Cathy’s dad has made us two beautiful signs- thanks!!! We’ll buy some more timber and put it up further away from the fence.
We are using up the water in the water butt really quickly. We are trying to find a used cold water storage tank so we can store more water. We are also trying to pursue a better water solution.
My mum is having surgery this week so I am going to America to look after her, and then we’re on a family holiday straight after so I will be away until July 20th. We have a rota of people who will be coordinating the Sunday dig, and Mastoor has generously promised to make cookies.

next dig day – Saturday 1-4, and exciting plans

Posted: June 24, 2010

This week the dig day will be Saturday 1-4, not Sunday, so that people at the Ruskin Park Summer Fete can tour the garden. We will be running a seed planting stall at the Fete using recycled yogurt containers fabulously collaged by Becca. Hope to see you there.

We had a great discussion last night about what we want from the garden and what to do next. People said what they like and want from the garden, and why they’re involved in the garden:

– To teach people how to grow veg and to encourage veg growing

– To teach children how to grow things and expose them to nature, e.g. minibeasts

– For people with a bit of experience, to learn more about gardening

– Community/social , meeting like-minded people and being inspired

– Bees!

– Wildflowers

– Climate change/sustainability

– Gardening with nature, e.g. companion planting, permaculture, forest gardening

Then we talked about what to do in the garden. We agreed to:

– Pursue getting bees. Seb is taking the lead on this.

– Look into permaculture and how we could apply its principles to the garden. Kate is going to research this.

– Plant up the demonstration bed next to the fence so that passersby can see things growing. Simon is going to do a planting plan for Saturday. I will look into some signage.

– Mastoor is going to look into soil nutrients and building an herb spiral.

– We definitely want to run workshops, both for the 1 o’clock club and for adults. I am going to work on getting picnic tables. We agreed that we’d aim to run our first adult workshop at the beginning of August, with the topic of basic plant care and/or what you can grow indoors. For the 1 o’clock club I will confirm with the staff what the CRB requirements are, if any, and arrange a date with Di, who will run the workshop. Monica is going to speak to the people from the Master Gardener training to see who can run the adult workshop.

– Maeve is going to be general intern and social secretary.

– We’re going to create a fruit area in the shady back right corner – black currants, logan berries, gooseberries, and rhubarb. I will look into getting canes, etc.

– Fruit and nut trees and a pond were discussed, but we decided we don’t have room for them. There is an orchard between the 1 o’clock club and the wildlife pond.

Mastoor and Monica did the Master Gardener training and were very enthusiastic about it; they’re going to help at the seed planting stall on Saturday, as are a few other people from the course.

The Lambeth country fair is July 17 and 18 – do we want to enter our produce?

We will have our next discussion at the next Green Drinks – July 28 at the Prince Regent. I am really excited about our plans. Thanks to everyone for all your energy, hard work, and general loveliness.

Next dig day – Saturday or Sunday?

Posted: June 21, 2010

IMG00176-20100620-1441The Ruskin Park Summer Fete is Saturday 1-5pm. It would be great if people could tour the garden during that time, so it might make sense to move our dig day to Saturday this week. Please let me know if you can come Saturday and if so what time you can come. Thanks!!

We have water! We bought a hosepipe and filled up the water butt donated by Mary from Friends of Ruskin Park. Those on watering rota, you should be able to dip the clear plastic water bottles in the top and fill up the watering cans that way. Also, the potatoes are big enough to start watering.

We had another lovely productive day yesterday, weeding and edging the planted beds and sieving the other beds. We also talked a bit about what we want from the garden. We agreed that after next Sunday’s dig day we would sit down and talk through what comes out of Wednesday’s discussion. Here are some things to think about:
• Planting fruit and/or nut trees
• Planting raspberries, gooseberries
• Winter veg planning/planting
• encouraging biodiversity – bug hotel, bee hives, ponds, wildflowers in areas too shady for veg
• Working with nature, e.g. companion planting, permaculture
• Educating/encouraging people to grow veg. Demonstration beds – plant up beds near the path with signage so people can watch it grow and know what it is and when it was planted. Run workshops? Run seed planting stalls at local fetes?
• Dig days – change the time to 2-4, or 3-5? Have regular mid-week dig days? While the days are so long we could even do an after work dig evening.
• A forest garden area, herb spiral, grape vine arch
• Anything you want from the garden but aren’t getting?

Meloni has volunteered to organize a Harvest Feast at the end of the summer! The basic idea is to research recipes that use the veg, take the veg home to cook, and bring the food back for a feast, most likely open to the public.

We agreed we would prepare and plant the bed near the path next week as a demonstration bed. We’ll need to figure out some signage. On an unhappy note, someone has taken our sign frame; the whiteboard was ripped off and left on the ground and the frame is completely gone. Next time I guess we’ll just have to have it further from the path.

We also agreed that we’d name each of the beds and make a map of the garden. I’d like to call one of the beds “Oklahoma”.
There was lots of chard, spinach, lettuce, and some broad beans and French beans to take home. It looks like the soap solution is helping a bit.

Next dig day – Sunday 1-3pm

Posted: June 19, 2010

Great news – we have a solution to the water problem! We are going to buy water tanks and fill them up by running a hosepipe to the 1 o’clock club’s internal tap. We’ll have to do this between 12:30-1pm Monday-Thursday as that’s when the staff are there but before the children arrive. We will order tanks and a very long hosepipe in the next couple days. Enormous thanks to the waterers for all those trips to the loos.

Sunday we will be preparing more beds and planting more seeds and probably doing some weeding. If the netting arrives in time we’ll put that up as well. It would be great to get the compost going, please bring your veg peelings, they’ll be lovely plant food in no time.

Next weekend is the Ruskin Park Summer Fete http://www.ruskinparkcommunitygarden.org/friends-of-ruskin-park. We are signed up to do seed planting and we need volunteers, please let me know if you can help!

Ruskin Park Summer Fete

Posted: June 18, 2010

Next dig day – 20 June 1-3pm

Posted: June 16, 2010

We had a another lovely day at the garden Sunday. We dug a new bed near the path to become a kind of demonstration garden for folks walking by, we sieved and planted some of the other beds, and we put more edging in.

We have harvested our first produce! People took home spinach, rocket, chard, lettuce, and green beans. From now until the fall we should have a bit of something to harvest every week.

The broad beans have pods on them, yippee! But they also have black fly. The organic ways to treat this are to wipe it off (I tried but some are inaccessible) and to spray with a water/washing up liquid solution. There is now a sprayer with washing up solution with the watering cans (thanks, Karen!) so if you’re on watering rota please spray the broad beans all over with the sprayer as well.

We also need to net the brassicas; otherwise we will get very small green caterpillars living in the broccoli heads. I have first hand knowledge of this and it is very icky. We are ordering netting – it will be the right size to prevent the cabbage white butterfly from laying its eggs on the leaves.

Don’t forget to add 23 June 7:30 at the Prince Regent to your diary and start thinking about what you want to see in the garden.

Dig Day tomorrow

Posted: June 12, 2010

tomorrow promises to be partly sunny, perfect for digging! we’ll prepare more beds, plant more seeds, and put more edging in. and we’ll harvest our first produce – beans and salad. there won’t be a huge amount but please bring a container to take some home in. and pecan shortbread for sustenance.

i am doing my best to solve the water problem. we have made the problem abundantly clear and have proposed an alternative solution that addresses the health and safety issues, but another issue has been raised and we are waiting on an answer.

i have posted a watering guide on the website http://www.ruskinparkcommunitygarden.org/other-things-of-interest/watering-guide. once the seeds come up we may want to adjust the rota to water every other day.

we have received some fantastic tools from Veolia, thanks very much!

let’s get together to talk about things we could do next in the garden – raspberries, fruit trees, permaculture, demonstration small beds near the fence, encouraging biodiversity e.g. a pond, fall planting, please bring your ideas. please come along to the next Herne Hill Green Drinks – http://www.hernehillcan.org/dates/herne-hill-green-drinks-june
7:30-10:30 at the Prince Regent pub, on Dulwich Road across from Brockwell Park Lido.

Next dig day – Sunday June 13th – 1-3pm

Posted: June 7, 2010

IMG00135-20100606-1411Big thanks to Phil from Lambeth Recycling who came along to help us build a nifty composting bin out of recycled palettes, and spotted a stag beetle in the big horse chestnut tree . He has promised to come back at the end of the summer to give an instructional talk about composting.

IMG00141-20100606-1520Phil also helped us construct a frame for our sign; for the moment it is holding the white board with the week’s jobs. Cathy’s dad is a sign painter and has kindly agreed to make a proper sign for us, thanks!!!

We planted up the rest of the seedlings, the potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, and some French bean and sugar snap pea seeds. We sieved and dug compost and topsoil into more beds, and we got started putting the recycled plastic edging around the beds

IMG00142-20100606-1541We have our very first produce! Our dwarf bean plant has several beans on it. They will be ready to harvest Sunday, although it will only equate to maybe 1/3 bean per person :). The lollo rosso lettuce is also ready for picking.

Our next dig day is Sunday, June 13, 1-3pm. We’ll prepare more beds, put more edging in, and plant more seeds. We may hold a general meeting at the garden at the same time, will keep you posted. We have achieved a huge amount in a very short space of time and it seems like a good time to talk about what next.

Dig and build – Sunday 1-3pm

Posted: June 5, 2010

We sieved and planted up broccoli and Brussels sprouts on Wednesday; it’s all looking really exciting.

On Sunday Phil O’Keeffe from Lambeth will be coming to help us build the compost bins. If we bring timber we might also be able to build a frame for the whiteboard, so if you see any long posts in a skip please bring them along. We’ll also be preparing more beds and planting Jerusalem artichokes, potatoes, sugar snap peas, and whatever other seeds take your fancy.

Water update: the 1 O’clock club has said we can’t run a hosepipe above ground due to health and safety issues. I have asked Lambeth Parks for a site visit as soon as possible to discuss another solution and am waiting for a reply.

Thanks very very much to the watering rota folks; it is an onerous task but without it the veg could die, particularly in this hot weather. Each watering counts as a timebank hour, as does the other lovely things that people are doing – Mike wrote a great update about the community garden for the Friends of Ruskin Park newsletter, Cosmo is going to be posting weekly seasonal veg recipes to the website, Becca decorated a huge number of recycled containers for seed planting, and Ben is chasing up free tools.

I saw that another community garden is having a picnic in combination with a dig day – does that appeal? We could meet at 12, bring blankets, and hang out a bit.

The Ruskin Park Fete is Saturday June 26, 1-4pm at the bandstand in the park. We will be running a plant-a-seed stall; we’ll supply recycled containers (decorated by Becca!) that people can plant a seed in and take home. We need volunteers to help run the stand – to help with the seed planting, to talk about/answer questions about the garden (maybe give tours?), and to generally help out. Want to?

Next Dig Day – Wednesday 3-5pm

Posted: May 31, 2010

IMG00128-20100530-1454thanks so much to everyone who came yesterday! we planted up most of the vegetables from the eden project, finished digging the rest of the beds, and started sieving them. the garden is looking great and abundant – we have spinach, rocket, chard, tomatoes, beans, pumpkin, crown prince squash, broccoli, cabbage, cavolo nero, broad beans, corn, beetroot, carrots, lettuce, basil, coriander, rosemary, thyme, and oregano. and i’m probably forgetting something.
we have organised a watering rota – thanks to all who have signed up.
we’ll have a dig day wednesday 3-5pm so we can sieve enough of the beds to plant up the rest of the seedlings. i have a big box of seeds so we can then start growing from seed, and we have some jerusalem artichokes to plant. there’s a fair amount of interest in potatoes so i’ll get some as well.

Next dig day – Sunday 30 May 1-3pm

Posted: May 27, 2010

img00120-20100526-1630We planted up the broad beans and cabbage seedlings yesterday, as well as some lettuce seedlings that Mastoor brought (thank you!) Everything will benefit from a couple days of rain. Sunday looks to be gloriously sunny. There’s plenty to do – lots more seedlings to plant and beds to prepare. We’re also going to plant some beetroot seeds amongst the broad beans.

Wandsworth Prison gives away free tools – would anyone be willing to give them a call and see if we can get some? Please email me and I’ll give you the contact details.

We’ll organize the watering rota Sunday and I’ll have padlock keys.

Dig Day – May 23rd

Posted: May 24, 2010

Extra gardening session: Wednesday 2:30-4:30. we’ll be planting up the rest of the seedlings, after sieving the beds. We have broad beans and cabbage ready to go in.

Thanks to all of you who came yesterday, we got a huge amount done! Two of the wheelchair-height containers are planted up with tomatoes and beans. We shifted 5 tons of topsoil. We forked in topsoil and compost into two big beds and sieved and planted one up with corn, courgettes, crown prince squash, and beetroot. We marked out three more beds and lifted the turf on one, and sieved another bed. We had soil samples collected for testing, thanks to Sarah from Growing Southwark. Thank you specifically to the water carriers, it is a mind numbing but essential job. And thanks to Florence Nsogebe, the Lambeth Cabinet Member for Culture, for coming to see us.

We talked a little about crop rotation. Here’s some more info http://www.vegetableexpert.co.uk/VegetableCropRotation.html. In general the RHS website is a fantastic source of veg growing knowledge http://www.rhs.org.uk/growyourown/

I have posted some photos

Watering rota: We’ll need daily watering in this hot weather. I’m going to get several extra keys made, and hopefully we can sort out a water source quite soon. Please email me if you said you’d be up for watering.

Health & Safety note – open-toed shoes and metal gardening tools are a risky combination; please wear close-toed shoes if you’re going to be digging/forking.

June 6: Phillip O’Keeffe will be coming from Lambeth to help us build compost bins using recycled pallettes and scaffolding boards.

Also, Herne Hill Green Drinks is Wednesday night, come along to the Prince Regent (across from Brockwell Park Lido on Dulwich Road) 7-10pm to talk about green stuff. http://www.hernehillcan.org/herne-hill-green-drinks

Dig Day Sunday 23 May 1-3pm – all welcome!

Posted: May 20, 2010

We’ll be planting up the four wheelchair height containers this Sunday. We’ve got cabbage, borlotti beans, tomatoes, beetroot, broad beans, corn, pumpkin, and courgettes seedlings ready to go in. Time permitting we may do a bit more sieving on the raised beds.

The weather looks to be fabulous, so bring your suncream and a water bottle. As usual we’ll have something yummy to snack on.

Dig Day today

Posted: May 16, 2010

We had a great day despite the weather (again). We moved the turf to the compost heap and lifted the turf from the 5th bed. We sieved all the soil from one of the raised beds and a bit of another.

The rocket has germinated! Nothing yet from the spinach or chard.

Next week: we will fill the wheelchair height containers and plant them up. And more sieving. We are hardening off seedlings: crown prince squash, corn, broad beans, cabbage.

We need to get the soil tested asap so we can get on with planting the big beds.

Dig Day – Sunday May 16 1-4pm

Posted: May 15, 2010

Please come by on Sunday, 1-4pm. If you have them please bring gardening gloves and maybe a big fork or spade. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, an extra wheelbarrow would be handy.

The soil looks very good, so we’ve decided to build quite shallow raised beds to take advantage of it. This means that we need to test the soil for contaminants. So… building and planting the raised beds is on hold until the soil is tested.

The jobs we’ll be doing are:

  • Shift turf from 4th large bed to compost area, we need a couple of barrows for this.
  • Remove top layer from that bed to compost area
  • Fill raised tubs with available topsoil and compost
  • Sieve grass roots from soil in cleared beds.

Launch Party – Sunday May 9th

Posted: May 10, 2010

Ruskin Park Community Garden is up and running!  Our launch party was Sunday – lots of people came by and planted a seed to take home, listened to vegetable songs by Jane Ruby, ate scrummy cupcakes made by SE5Forum, and learned about local groups  including Loughborough Junction Action Group, Friends of Carnegie Library, Friends of Ruskin Park, Growing Southwark, Brockwell Park, and SE5Forum. We planted our first seeds – salad, rocket and chard.

Next up, we will be building the raised beds and planting out the containers donated by the Royal Hospital via Growing Southwark. We will be meeting with the 1 O’clock Club to plan activities for the children there. We plan to participate in the Ruskin Park Summer Fete and to combine a Harvest Festival with the Big Draw. We also will be organizing vegetable growing workshops.

First Dig Day!

Posted: May 2, 2010

The garden is up and running! We had our first dig day May 2nd – a fantastic success. Despite the miserable weather lots of lovely people turned up, worked hard, and we lifted the turf on four of the raised beds – way more than the one bed we had expected.