Monday, 30 November 2015

Party reminder and willow rooting solution

Next Sunday, 6th December, it's party time at the Empty Common Community Garden. 

Our Charlotte will be giving a much anticipated talk on Peak Soil & Permaculture at 12.30.

From 1.30 we have the Serendipity Sessions including 'Yarn Spinner' Mal Faloon sharing a tale or two and the fantastic works of Kate Swindlehurst, former Writer in Residence at Cambridge Botanic Gardens, Clare Crossman and Elaine Ewart.

We'll be having an Acoustic Open Air Mic, from about 3pm so if you play anything, or have something you would like to share, please feel welcome to do so and we'll make a session of it!

Last but not least, there will be a cosy fire and mulled (non alcoholic) apple juice.

Throughout the afternoon, you can admire some polytunnel art and a collage of the Garden's progression made by volunteer Mary!

This event is suitable for all ages. Wrap up warm and wear wellies/suitable footwear. We are looking forward to seeing you there!

Willow rooting solution -  a tonic for growing plants

It’s time to take some cuttings at Empty Common Community Garden and to make some of Charlotte’s home-made rooting solution.

What it does
The way that it works can be attributed to two substances that can be found within the Salix
(Willow) species, namely, indolebutyric acid (IBA) and Salicylic acid (SA). When you make willow
water, both salicylic acid and IBA leach into the water, and both have a beneficial effect when used
for the propagation of cuttings.

Indolebutyric acid (IBA) is a plant hormone that stimulates root growth. Salicylic acid (SA) - which is a chemical similar to the headache medicine Aspirin - is a plant hormone that also helps plants to fight off infection.

To make the rooting solution, just cut lengths of new willow growth from any type of willow, these should be about the diameter of a pencil. Pop them into a jar and pour over boiling water. Leave for 24-48 hours, then remove the willow. The solution can be kept in the fridge for a month or more.

When planting cuttings just dip the end in the water for several seconds or longer if it’s easy before
planting. You could also make a big batch in a bucket for watering in newly transplanted plants. We have lots of willow around our garden, other than our lovely coloured willow hedge, which is growing so well. Maybe we can try making some large batches in the spring next year, when we have lots of young plants to plant out.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Christmas wreath making and pictures from our volunteers

Foraging for Xmas crafts!

Artist Sheila Ghelani is leading an evening of mindful foraging around Cambridge, including our very own Empty Common Community Garden on Tuesday 1st December from 6pm. Under her guidance, you will be gathering twigs, feathers, berries and leaves to create your own Christmas wreath. The event, suitable for 14yrs+, is free but tickets need to be booked. Click here to book your ticket/s.

Last but not least, here's an overdue autumnal update from our volunteers, including pictures of happy, smiley people! Watch this space for more pictures of our glorious wintering garden as Sunday was a beautiful sunny day!

Getting rid of vicious nails from salvaged wood

A young volunteer

Gardening is fun for the whole family

Mary showing off a bouquet of nasturtiums
when still in their full glory

Friday, 13 November 2015

Contributions from our volunteers

Pot planting for polytunnel

Daffodil planting outside
In the past few months I have been receiving contributions for this blog from our volunteers, which is lovely for those members who have not been able to visit the Garden on a regular basis. Whether it's a health related reason, an overload of work/family commitments or a clash with other projects, we all like to keep up to date with what is going on in our community's oasis. Let's hope everybody can make the party on Sunday 6th December (see the previous blog post for information).

So without any further ado, here are some updates....

Peter emailed us that a sunny day allowed Jamie to recharge the mower's batteries. The weather has been mild so far for November, bar a few rainy spells. 

Mary, helped by Emily and John planted out flowers from the polytunnel, while John and Terence attacked some truly vicious nails to recycle some pallets earmarked for future projects. The area around the oak tree looked lovely after yet another attack against horsetail by Katharine and her sons.

In the polytunnel winter lettuces have been planted while outside areas have been cleared to make a start on winter preparations.

Monday, 2 November 2015

November update - shed art and December party!

Artist Rebecca Lindum Greene has contacted us to propose an art intervention to be held at the Empty Common Community Garden as part of the Pivotal - Cambridge Festival of Change. As nature slows down toward a winter's slumber this project is a fabulous idea to inject some zest into our wonderful open space.

Our black metal shed is being revamped with eye-catching linear drawing inspired by the garden around it and colourful abstract shapes, a nod to Kingfisher Way and the cycle of nature. Below are a few more pictures of the work in progress. The artwork will be unveiled at a special event held at the Empty Common Garden in December. Click here to find out more.