Monday, 25 September 2017

Hello autumn, plus some exciting news!

Nigel from the RHS' initiative It's Your Neighbourhood visited Empty Common in August. Charlotte welcomed him with a special tour and Rebecca took the photos above. Nigel seemed impressed by our efforts. Fingers crossed we passed!

Below are some photos from Silvia, showing Empty Common's bounty. The pond is well established and the garden is thriving. There was even a party to celebrate our new compost toilet... any excuse to get together and celebrate our wonderful space.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

A cooler August at Empty Common and a big thank-you!

Dunkirk Little Ship and Empty Common Community Garden's sweet peas

The garden has been thriving, produce is being picked, wild flowers are creating lovely patches of colour and the community is coming together on Sundays and at special events. A butterfly count was also attempted. 

I have received a lovely photo from Charlotte featuring our colourful sweet peas. Elena Moses from Transition Cambridge sent us some beautiful summer pics of the Garden, you can see her album here.

Cambridge is a transient city, so it's with heavy hearts that we say good-bye to two top volunteers, Mary and John. They have contributed so much of their time and have sent great material for this blog. Here's a photo of Mary with two other regulars... We wish them well and hope they stay in touch to see the garden grow.

And here's a photo of John, busy on the pond...

You will be missed, no doubt you will come back and see us if you visit Cambridge again. Thanks again for all your dedication and great party food!

Last but not least, a picture from our archive.... May 2017!

We had around 15 workers at ECCG and were visited by a wonderful team of community gardeners from Peterborough who helped us complete the installation of our pond and then helped ECCG members form a bucket brigade to fill the pond with water from the creek on the west side of the garden. Many helping hands made the work social and fun!

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

A variable summer at Empty Common

It is hot, it rains, it gets cooler, it warms up, the sun scorches... It's a British summer but on balance not a bad one... John has sent us some lovely pics of the garden.

The 'old' wheat is doing well

The pond is teaming with wildlife

Veggies are being harvested

Everything is great, except some beasties are eating beetroots and courgettes, a net has been deployed to discourage further munching.

Mary sent us the evidence
The bioblitz event put us on a map and we are getting requests from groups to use the garden for their events. If you would like to host an event or collaborate with us, do get in touch. The email is on the first post, where the map is.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Next Saturday's BioBlitz link and some updates....

All is well and growing at speed at Empty Common. Summer is coming soon. The pond has now some tadpoles and it's a nice place to sit and relax with lovely furniture. The raised beds got a makeover. Everything is looking at its best for next Saturday.... Come and see us at 12pm, bring some food and enjoy the garden. We are taking part in the BioBlitz, info and free tickets here.

Mary sent us this 'cosmic' picture of a kohl rabi... Last year we got some massive ones... On the previous Sunday the volunteers got lots done. Charlotte wrote: "We had fun putting the sedum green roof on the front half of the black shed using many hands and some engineering - no one went though the roof. The garden looks great from the roof."

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

A chilly, variable spring, but we do have a pond now!

Charlotte writes that the frosts have been damaging and our beans were affected. It is unusual to have frosts in late April and early May and we have heard of many allotment people being hit, with growing veggies being killed by the freezing temperatures overnight.

The biggest event last Sunday was the digging of the hole to accommodate the preformed fiberglass pond. John, Hugo and Toby worked really hard. Here are a few pictures so you can appreciate how deep the hole is...

Other volunteers sowed the pictorial meadow seed and planted more brassicas and a bag of potatoes. Lots of weeding was done so the garden is looking great. Volunteers are required to maintain a watering rota, it is quite warm in the polytunnel and it has not rained that much.

The compost toilet is coming together.... Charlotte sent us these photos of the progress.

The fancy rhubarb is flowering, we will have to the tip off to help it put energy into growth. The raspberry path and the new cabbage patch got weeded.

Our wheat is growing well but it looks a little pale to Charlotte, perhaps a cup of compost tea will sort things out.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Easter wishes & update from glorious garden... so sunny!

Rebecca took this dreamy pic

This morning an email brought a smile to volunteers' faces. Our coordinator gave a speech at our partner's meeting, Transition Cambridge, and it emerges we are a tad informal.... The garden is over three years old but we never had proper meetings, we do not have a committee and our coordinator is not a strict taskmaster... It all works as we never had an argument - we must be happy anarchists with green fingers.... 

Reading more of the feedback from the current volunteers, the only worry seems to be manpower. Cambridge is a transitory city so some helpers are here on a temporary basis... they leave us with a lovely legacy but we often need new hands to maintain it... so if you are interested in what we do, please read the first post here, with the map and contact details, and get in touch. Being allergic to committees is a bonus!

Tomas reported a mouse has taken up residence in the polytunnel. The little 'resident' ate all the corn seeds he sowed last week. "In every single pot there is hole dug and the seed is gone."

The weather is warm and it's very sunny, so there is a watering rota in place. We have plans to finish our compost toilet (with a green roof) and to build a pond. 

Things to eat aside lettuce includes the wild garlic... Unfortunately there is quite a bit of weeding to do as the horsetail is sporing now... It gets picked and drowned in a bucket of water. Rebecca has sent us some April photos so you can see for yourself.

The prodigal son returns!

Polytunnel is doing well...

A lovely log with beautiful bark

Preparing the beds...

March pictures from Carol & Mary

By the mighty oak flowers in a circle

A little chat by the beds

Volunteers' gardening tips

  • Mary suggests: "Nick the seed coat of each seed and place between paper towels that you keep very damp until the seeds germinate"
  • Rich writes: "This website a great reference to companion planting:
  • Carol recommends: "I use coffee grounds, paprika and citrus fruits to repel cats."