Friday, 18 September 2015

Our Speaker Today


Hi guys :) 
I am part of a community growers group, and over the next year or so we are going try and make our village look nicer and have an edible garden and flower beds.
 Co Durham council are going to stop planting flowers in the flower beds on our main street, due to budget cuts, so we got the idea of putting things in the beds ourselves, including lots of herbs, and fruit bushes along the green. We want to really bring the community together and get them involved in growing things and generally making the village look nicer. 
Yesterday, me and a two other members (and friends of course!) went on a wee jolly to Durham, for the Food Durham Annual Gathering.
It is a marvellous initiative called The County Durham Food partnership.More info here
"Launched in May last year, the purpose is to work together for a more equitable,sustainable, fairer food system for County Durham providing access to food that is healthy for people and the planet."

Doesn't it sound great?
As a relatively new group we were keen to learn about sustainable growing, seasonal produce etc
Neither of us had been to the place before, so we got slightly lost and were a wee bit late, so we missed the start.
The bloke below was from our village, and he had a very interesting talk on "Digging For Victory"
we missed the start of his talk, but the gist of it was about how food used to be grown during the wars, and how much families had to grow to keep themselves alive during shortages and rationing. It was really interesting learning about how much they had to produce, and how they went about it.


There was two workshops, the first of which was all about "Food For Free", and it was all about saving seeds, how to test if they were viable (really interesting actually, just drop them in a glass of water, if they sink they are still viable, if they float, they are dead/less likely to germinate)

The second workshop was called "Filling The Hungry Gap"
It was all about how to make the most out of the growing season, such as Succession Planting; Planting two or more crops in succession, after the first crop is harvested, another crop quickly takes that space.
Same Crop Successive Planting;
Where you have several smaller plantings at timed intervals so you have a constant supply of that crop, but you don't have to find room in the freezer for so many at once, you just eat the crop until the next lot is ready to harvest, which helps you have fresh veg without having to find various ways of preserving it.
He also mentioned how to extend the growing season for certain plants, as different varieties have faster cropping rates, such as leeks, you can plant a certain variety of leeks (i forgot to write down the names i'm afraid) in August, and then other varieties over the months up until feb/march and you have 7 months of that crop! 
(i hope this makes sense, my notes got lost in translation a little as i had to write rather quickly and so i got quite a lot of unintelligible scribble!)

There was lots of different info on allotments, composting, recycling etc
There was also a mini marketplace, where lots of local business came to show and sell their wares, give out info and leaflets.
There was a wonderful stall from Durham Beekeepers Association, selling delicious honeys, waxes and candles, sadly i didn't get to buy anything as i had forgotten to put my purse in my bag before i left :( They had lots of great info on educating the public in the importance of bees in the environment.
I didn't get a picture of their stall as i was whisked away to the next one.

I came home with a rather funky little tote bag (which will come in handy for reuse when shopping, and for putting projects in for knit and natter)
A package full of leaflets, a recycled To Do list and a free packet of salad seeds!

Various leaflets on composting, what you can compost, a few recipes, information on the stallholders etc

and a wonderful reproduction leaflet from WW2 on growing all year round and crop rotation 




Oh, and when i came home i got to puppysit this adorable little chap again for the afternoon
(I'm also puppysitting him tonight)

It's clearly hard work having your every whim catered to! 

What have you been up to this week? :)





13 comments:

  1. I think your community growing plan sounds very exciting! I hope it goes well! I wish something like that would happen near me, we have a few groups going on but all are a bus ride away and I'm not sure I have the energy to get a bus to do community gardening when I have so much gardening to do at home!

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    1. oh it is! To be part of something that it is so big, and is a great benefit to everyone, i am so very privileged to be a part of it :)
      We have many more exiting plans coming soon, so i will updating regularly with news
      Maybe you should set one up yourself Susie if the others are too far, then, when you are busy working on your own garden you can delegate haha :) xx

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  2. What a great event, there should be ore f this going on, your bag will come in handy as free carrier bags are being banned :-)

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    1. Absolutely! You never know maybe it will eventually become a nationwide thing :) I read a wonderful article the other day on victory gardens and how we should bring them back,and rely on seasonal food again, we wouldn't have to depend on importing carrots from spain etc which is a good idea :)
      I must admit, i do like carrier bags as they are useful as bin bags and other things xx

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  3. That sounds like a really interesting event. I would love to grow some of my own produce but I never seemed to have had much luck and we are plagued with cats so I no longer have the patience to try. Maybe if we move in the next couple of years. X

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    1. oh definitely do! keep at it apparently it gets easier!haha :)
      just google as many cat deterrents as possible and put them all into practice :)

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  4. You are an inspiration to us all. I love reading about the Dig For Victory gardens. I also miss my allotments when I lived in blighty. Smallholding life can be isolated at times and you miss groups like yours.

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    1. Aww cheers Dave :) if i inspire at least one person to get out there and get gardening then i shall be quite happy (Because if i can do it then anyone can!)

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  5. What a fantastic idea, very interesting for you, and some freebies x

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    1. oh it was wonderful, and we came away with so any more fab ideas ready to be put into action:D

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  6. Oh, how fantastic - I wish I could have come along! How wonderful it must be to have so many like-minded people in your community - and a willingness to put words into action. I am so excited for you, and look forward to hearing lots more about it all.
    I love reading all about Digging For Victory. We all need to come back to that model. Let's just hope it doesn't take something as terrible as war or other destruction to make it happen (but I'm not sure that it may not require a major shake-up for most people).

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    1. I wish you could have too! wouldn't it be wonderful if we bloggers lived closer to each other, or on our own wee island with like minded people-bliss!
      Me too, i love their mindset, i don't know about you, but i don't think there would nearly as many illness, disease etc if EVERYONE in the country was growing their own organic veg instead of relying on GMO crap pumped full of chemicals

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    2. Amen to that! I have a few like-minded friends here (not many!) and we often talk about setting up our own community. That would be so fun!

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Thank you for your comments, they are always appreciated :) <3

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