Thursday, 19 September 2019

Welcome to September... let the harvest commence

A busy Sunday of harvesting. Some of the beans were so high we needed Tiago to put Rachel on his shoulders to get to them. Tomatoes are looking great this year, no blight as yet - a problem in past years.

We also harvested stones and some strange-looking veggies. The pink fir potatoes below are more like underwater growths, while the surprise cucumbers look old and scraggy, but they might keep well with that thick, hard and crackled skin.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Our RHS award & our very own film for you to enjoy...

Our RHS award - Thriving!

We have been busy at the garden, watering, weeding, sowing, harvesting and dealing with our hut project. Our hard work was recognised by the Royal Society of Horticulture (RHS) and we finally received our certificate, which got laminated and is hanging inside our black metal shed. 

Another exciting bit of news is that the movie my Michelle Golder, talking about the garden is now publicly available here: We had a filming party over a year ago and this is the fruit. Enjoy! The film also tells you more about our coordinator, Charlotte and why she is so passionate about permaculture and the environment - it runs in her genes....

Charlotte and filmmaker Michelle Golder (screenshot from the film)
We do love a party and we were happy to share our garden with our partner Transition Cambridge in late July. The party had a life of its own and it continued among ourselves well past the appointed time, until 10.30pm! There was food, there were people (50!), there was singing by the fire. Here are pictures of the party during day hours.... We also participated to the Vegetable Festival, in our own way... see at the brilliant veggie creatures below...

The creatures... doesn't the snake look like a Monster Inc's villain?

More party pics...

Friday, 28 June 2019

Summer is here!

A satellite image of where we are... off Trumpington Road

While temperatures soar abroad, it is overall quite moderate and sunny here in Cambridge. We do have a watering rota but the outside beds don't need as much attention this year, it was incredibly dry last summer, so dry the grass turned yellow and looked like straw. And talking of water... here's a picture of our water closet!

Our compost toilet

Toilet's door with
protective eye
We have been busy with planting out seedlings as the polytunnel was getting crowded. We have enjoyed crispy pak choi and lettuce from the polytunnel and some tasty chard growing by the pond.

The watering volunteers are focusing on keeping young plants hydrated, some are a bit tricky because they are under bottles or cloches. The trampoline bed has runner beans and tomatoes this year. There's rocket, coriander and mixed leaves in the raised beds - great for summer salads. Charlotte advised us that a good soak aimed at ground level is better than sprinkling water over the plants and bed, especially in the heat of the day. 

We have exciting news, there is a new growing group, coordinated by the University's Botanic Garden. As the logo says, it's the Cambridge Community Growing Group. We attended the second meeting in May and made some exciting plans alongside the other community gardens. We hope this alliance will bring us all benefits and more volunteers....

Friday, 3 May 2019


Brief tour of ECCG by Newcomers and Visiting Scholars at the University of Cambridge, following a talk

I used to joke we are a green-fingered anarchic collective when giving talks about the garden - our communications happen via a google group - whether it's jobs to do, watering rota, decisions to make... However our new meeting hut project requires more formality so we are having a 'physical' AGM this month. Members will be notified via the google group. If you want to join us, check out the first post and email Charlotte.

The Empty Common Community Garden's film by Michelle Golder will be finally screened at The Waterman Pub, in the back room (the potting shed), in Cambridge, on 2 June at 4.30, and will be followed by a Q&A on gardening for the planet. Tickets and donations through Eventbrite -

Thank you, Tina Mellon, for the lovely photo.

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Spring has sprung!

Many willing hands have been preening the garden in readiness for spring. The water trough is clean, the polytunnel got a wash and there has been some tidying up everywhere.... Jerusalem artichokes were harvested, seeds are starting to be sown and all the compost bins are empty - their contents enriching the soil.

Our solitary bee home produced 52 cocoons that look healthy so they are now safe in a black pot - which has a hole in the side so when they hatch they will see the light and leave through it. The bee tunnels are all scrubbed clean and ready for next year's visitors.

We were given two varieties of seed potatoes and Charlotte ordered 20 pink fir ones. More herbs and flowers are on the list. Remember our horsetail problems? We were reminded of this video of its dancing spores...  


Thanks to this 'feared' weed, we have our brilliant space! We are welcoming monetary and donations in kind, please contact us if you can help!

Saturday, 23 February 2019

It feels like spring and it's only February!

After a rather frosty January, February has brought warmer weather, unseasonably warm with highs of 14 degrees... Last Sunday 14 willing volunteers turned up for the regular session. 

With so many eager hands, the woodland garden by the hazel copse got weeded in time for the spring flowers to come up and look their best.

The roof of the compost toilet finally got felted to protect the plywood, which has stood up to the weather remarkably well. Bindweed roots were dug out and the area by the sitting logs got tidied. 

Best of all we made a start on the ultimate beasties' home - converting the mess of old wood and branches into a giant nest-like curved edge. This will have lots of partially composted materials over the top, a dream pad for insects and small mammals. It will also enclose our hazel copse area nicely and give it a sense of place. This also emptied our compost bins which had gone completely out of hand, plus it dealt with the pile of brash and branches and old building wood. A win-win situation for man and beast.

Volunteers went home with pak choi from the polytunnel for supper. Next on our agenda is to get seeds and start sowing soon. Anyone connected with us has a say on what we are growing, so don't be shy!

We love this growing chart:, take a look if you are thinking of growing your own veg at home...

Last but not least, we were mentioned in Cambridge Edition - February issue. They did not contact us so we could not comment on the cow topic. Cambridge cows herald spring! Read the feature on page 48.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Happy New Year! Plus Seedy Sunday in Cambridge on 28 January

In December volunteers from CamBridge 2 Environment visited to help us clear the woodland area for the meeting hut. Here they are inside our new wooden shed! The old, rotten one was pulled down and recycled. The paint for the new shed was sourced at the dump, where Charlotte found some unfinished tins.

The meeting hut's model was presented at the University of Cambridge, Faculty of Architecture. We are trying to keep costs down so there have been some amendments to the original design.

Then students from the Faculty came on site to help with the structure. We finally got permitted development to build the hut, a major step ahead for our project.

We have a lot of building work and other stuff to do this winter, including: 
  • Finishing the new wooden shed 
  • Felting the roof of the compost toilet, treat the wood and put up trellises for the honeysuckle.
  • Re-roofing the black shed
  • Making the wavy bike rack
  • Sorting out the compost heaps and spread the mature compost
  • Cleaning the pond
  • Washing the polytunnel
  • Doing a lot of weeding, edging and transplanting.
So lots of things to do this winter before spring comes - so do come and join us if you can.

DON'T FORGET SEEDY SUNDAY! It's next Sunday in Trumpington - details here. We will be there alongside the new growing group set up by the Botanic Garden.