Thursday 17th May 2012 – Seeds, sun, sheds, strawberries, and mud

Hi! Been a while – been away and neglected to update the blog last week – apologies…

So! Down the allotment this week we all undertook some manual labour after navigating up the hill through some sticky mud – not ideal conditions, so we started by planting the remainder of our seeds…

Seed trays almost completed…

After lunch (and spotting this little fella here…)

Unknown caterpillar – maybe a moth or a butterfly…

We continued the biggest part of the project – clearing and digging the site…

Everyone getting stuck in…

We also transplanted some strawberries which were in the way of the clearance and needed to be moved to the strawberry patch…

Transplanting the strawberries

After a hard days grafting, we were all happy to get going home.

Oh, and the shed now has a glass roof giving the seeds a bit more heat!

New shed roof!

Thursday 10th May – Seed planting, shelter, saws and mud…

Up at the plot today, straight away as there was no rain! Just grey skies…

Firstly, we bumped into the new community building at Rosendale Road Allotments which is in the process of being built:

The new community building in the process of being built

Then upward, up to the allotment; today was the first day for 4 weeks that we felt comfortable to venture straight to the plot and work without the fear we would have to stop re: rain – as our new shelter (an old gazebo from Rathbone) would keep us dry if it did rain at all.

The new shelter in case of rain…

We continued with our planting from the previous week (in which we only planted a few tomatoes) and planted in propagators – we had brought the seeds the week before, and managed to almost fill the propagators ready for planting out in a few weeks…

Searching and choosing the seeds to plant in the propagators

We planted pea’s, broad beans, sweetcorn, watermelon, okra, cucumber, marrow,  some salad and mustard!

While some of us planted seeds, some of us laid some wood down for a temporary working surface under the shelter…

… and others found metal on the site to clear which is being collected for recycling later next week…

… and others helped to clear some more grass from the plot!

Quite a busy day, with a new staff member joining us and a couple of new people joining the group, but at least we managed to stay up at the plot for the whole session

Thursday 3rd May 2012 – Choosing seeds, clearing part of the plot

The third week down at the Rathbone Gardening Project saw light rain with a few dry spots – a nice change from the constant rain of the previous weeks.

We started this week by talking about what vegetables and plants we like, and then deciding what plants we would like to grow. A couple of members of the group have purchased their own seeds for their plots already.

We then walked down to Croxted Road Garden Centre and browsed through the seeds they had on display to find the right variety of plant, and read the information on the back of the seed packet to make sure we could plant it this year.

Then, after a cup of tea and a toilet break at the local cafe, we made our way to the plot at the top of the hill. There was no shelter from the light rain so we began to clear a space for the shelter to go.

The site of the temporary shelter being cleared
Parsnips rescued from the clearing

It took a good hour to clear the plot – we found some old carrots and some parsnips which must have been planted by the previous community group who had used the plot.


We then settled for a spot of lunch before returning to the work and eventually finishing the clearing! It looked like this when it was finished:

Finished the clearing – ready for the shelter

We then put up the shelter and sat down to plant some seeds – unfortunately, we only had time to plant a couple of tomato seeds today, hopefully next week we’ll get a chance to get all the seeds we need to plant into trays to begin germination…

The project continues on the 10th May!

Thursday 26th April – Trip to Thrive Gardens in Battersea Park

Unfortunately rain stopped our plans up at the allotment this Thursday – we had hoped to continue our planting of bare rooted strawberry plants and various seeds, but the constant showers put our original plans back a week as we still have no shelter up at the plot yet.

Instead, the idea to pop to Battersea Park to see the Thrive gardens was suggested, and we agreed that rather than sit in a shed, we could go and see what was growing at Thrive.

Arriving at Thrive Herb Garden in Battersea – umbrella’s  prepared for the next downpour…

Thrive are a small national charity who work with people with various disabilities and impairments and provide support to help them experience and learn about gardening. The link to their website is here: Thrive

We took the train from Herne Hill station to Battersea Park and walked to the Thrive garden – it was being re-developed, so there wasn’t a lot there, the man in charge explaining that there is a herb garden run by Thrive in another part of the park. After sheltering from a particularly heavy rain shower we made it to the Thrive herb garden and the sun came out!

We had a look around, and learnt what some of the plants look like from the top (potato plants have green leafs above the soil – the potatoes grow below it – see picture below)

Potato plant – the green leaves grow above the soil – the potatoes below it – from

We also looked in the greenhouse at some of the plants which had just started to grow (or germinate) from seeds and are known as seedlings – they all look very similar at first, but on closer look, some were quite different, like the cucumber seedling.

Seedlings in the greenhouse at Thrive

We then explored the gardens some more, taking some photographs to record what we saw as you can see below;

Some onions

The centre of the Herb Garden, Thrive in Battersea
Broad Beans

Netting protecting Pea Plants from pests like birds and slugs
The tops of the Potato Plant!

Chard – it comes with various coloured stalks like above, red and orange
About to leave the Thrive Herb Garden and travel back home

All in all a trip in which we got to see how another project works, the kind of plants we may grow, and hopefully we will be inspired with some idea’s for our own project!

Thursday 19th April – the first day of the project…

Last Thursday – 19/4/12 – was the first day of the gardening project – we’re still getting up and running so not everything (shelter during rain, raised beds) are ready, put we did have our first session where (between heavy showers) we planted a few strawberries out in the strawberry patch and painted a couple of boards for the raised beds.

Due to the rain we stayed up at the plot from 10-12, then decided the rain was too much, so we walked down to Croxted Road Garden Centre which is based under a railway arch – see the photo here;

Croxted Road Garden Centre

We then decided to head to a cafe at Herne Hill to warm up. We ended up in Steves Cafe where we discussed any ideas how we could improve the project and what we could do when it rains.

All in all, the session went well, but the rain didn’t help with any of the jobs which needed to be done on the allotment, but we got some jobs done and know where the local garden centre – and cafe – are!

Gardening project first day is on Thursday 19th April 2012!

Hi and welcome to the Rathbone Gardening Project!

We are quite excited to be beginning the project on Thursday 19th April – not everything is looking perfect on the site, but a few hours of hard work from all who attend on Thursday and it’ll be looking better in no time!

If you would like to attend the project, please give the office or Martin a call on the contact details listed on the top of the main blog page.

We’ll try to update the blog as often as we can > keep a look out for any photo’s of the site, they will be uploaded here – like the ones below:

This is how the allotment looked when Rathbone first visited in March – the view is down the hill towards east London

This is the view of the same allotment looking up towards the Peabody Estate in the background