Herbs are amazing plants. Many are perennial and grow successfully year after year, they grow in all conditions coping with poor ground, windowsill growing or containers. They add great taste to variety of dishes and some have health benefits such as lemon balm that is very calming.
Leafy herbs such as mint, lemon balm, chives, oregano can be trimmed back to encourage new growth so you have fresh herbs all season. If you leave them to grow they will form flowers, not only are these attractive but also very popular for bees and insects. You can grow several patches of chives to alternate the ones you harvest and trim back, and have some in flower for the bees. Mint and oregano we cut back about a third of the clump, to keep a regular fresh growth, which also encourages us to find ways to use the harvest, such as mint makes a refreshing cordial.
18/05/2020 Plants have amazing powers of recovery!
Despite being warned about the ground frost last week some plants still suffered. We had earthed up the potatoes protecting them, all tender plants back inside the polytunnel, most covered in fleece, but some couldn’t be protected. The broad beans were badly damaged yet the following morning they were back to their former glory. Despite years of gardening this took me by surprise, broad beans have coped with hard frost and snow and been fine but maybe this year the unseasonably warm weather might have made them more tender than normal. Every year is different and gardeners are always learning, which makes it so interesting.
30/04/2020 Tender crops, Nettle Tea and Greenfly…
It’s that time of the gardeners calendar when we want to plant out our tender crops but we’re not sure if it’s warm enough! My outdoor peas, turnips and salad are all doing well and my indoor crops are visibly bigger every day. The potatoes are just coming through, if yours are then earth them up (pile up the soil on top of them), it helps produce more harvest and if we get a surprise frost, it will protect the plants.
Protected inside a polytunnel I have my seedling nursery, and its overflowing. They need planting out soon but if the weather goes cold my tender crops will suffer, these are tomatoes, courgette, pumpkins, French and runner beans, coriander & basil, as well as flowers. It is the gardeners gamble, when to plant out, but help harden seedlings off by putting them outside during the day and bringing in a night or use a coldframe, opening the lid during the day.
I’m still enjoying drinking nettle tea, which is highly beneficial, but make the most of it now, at the first signs of flower you must not consume them as they produce a chemical which interferes with the kidneys! However if you cut them down, a new crop will soon grow.
Greenfly are rife on my indoor strawberries, given away by the small white droppings. To get rid of them wash them off, jet of water works well, or spray with soapy water (I use diluted organic washing up liquid), I also add few drops neen oil (it stops the greenfly from eating) but needs using within 8 hours. It is important to spray the undersides of the leaves as they hide there. This needs repeating weekly as it doesn’t kill the eggs so spray again when they hatch out.
23/04/2020 Sunshine and Dandelions at the Community gardens
We’ve been planting out hardy seedlings like peas but keeping an eye on the more tender crops like tomatoes, beans, courgette and squash. It’s important to check that these are not becoming root bound! If the roots are creeping out at the bottom of the pots it can damage the plant as they exhaust water quickly and don’t have nutrients to grow. Either plant them out or plant in bigger pot with fresh compost.
We’ve been busy at the Community Gardens at both Almondbury and Rawthorpe & Dalton libraries. If you live nearby please call in and if you can, water the plants – it would be a great help in this sunny weather!
At Dalton we’re encouraging herbs and flowers, look out for the poppies in a couple of months!
At Almondbury we have broad beans, peas, salad crops and have also just planted some brassicas. The strawberries are doing well. When out for your exercise have a look around, take a blanket or seat and enjoy the space.
We are also looking for local people to help keep the plots tended, so if you fancy a spot of gardening then contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t forget it isn’t just about growing food, make the most of what grows naturally! Have a go at dandelion honey, lots of online recipes, fairly simple to make and delicious.
16/04/2020 Community Gardens update
The sun has been shining and the allotments are coming to life. The garden at Almondbury library is beautiful even when overgrown and has plenty of flowers to enjoy. If you live nearby, why not call in for a visit during your daily exercise (don’t forget to use gloves if touching any surfaces). The strawberry bed has been weeded and looks great and there are plenty of herbs to smell or pick a little of to take away. The site has rosemary and chives, also garlic mustard which tastes great in omelettes or soup! We’ve recently planted potatoes as well so we’ll keep you posted as they grow.
At Dalton Community Garden next to Rawthorpe and Dalton Library there has been Rhubarb to harvest and plenty of flowering fruit bushes and trees to enjoy. The site has been weeded this week with herbs and flower seeds planted. If you live nearby do call in and enjoy the space, the Rhubarb will continue to grow and be ready to offer some more to share in a week or so.
As Spring heads for summer there’s an increase in bug life to look out for as well. Rachel saw her first ladybird of the season today – a definite garden friend that feasts on aphids. Bees are buzzing about, and butterflies including peacocks, orange tips, and whites are fluttering around flowers looking for nectar. Those lovely white butterflies will also be looking for the brassicas though, so if you’re growing members of the cabbage family it’s a good idea to net them if you can.
If you live near either of these gardens and would like to help maintain them (on your own or with members of your household) then please do let us know and we can support and advise you on using them safely. Gardening is a great way to relax and escape for a while!
09/04/2020 Sowing your tender crops and the first harvest – Rhubarb.
Now’s the time to sow pumpkins, squash, courgette and French beans. They are all tender plants so they will still need protection from the cold winds and damp. I’m hoping for good weather in May so sowing now ready to plant out in a months time.
There are some great varieties of butternut squash, small pumpkins and different coloured pumpkins so be experimental. If you grow both pumpkins and courgettes, avoid round courgettes, they are lovely but can easily be confused with pumpkins as the plants are very alike but courgettes are harvested small all summer, pumpkins need to mature and ripen in the Autumn.
Rhubarb is a fabulous early harvest! If you live in Dalton near the Rawthorpe and Dalton library there’s lots waiting to be harvested in the community garden there. To harvest look for the pinkest stalks, hold near bottom and twist slowly. Help yourself but whenever harvesting from community plots, leave some for others. I make a tea/juice – cut into large chunks, add sugar and water and boil, strain off the pulp and drink. Also made rhubarb and ginger jam, delicious.
01/04/2020 Potting on & Potatoes this week
There are plenty of jobs at the allotment. With seedlings quickly outgrowing their pots they are in need of potting on. A good tip to check for this is to look at the base and see if roots are showing through. These peas are definitely ready for their new home in the polytunnel, but if you are planting peas outdoors a layer of fleece will help against night time chills.
Keep up seed sowing, a few each week, to stagger the harvest. Growing on a windowsill can be great when you don’t have a greenhouse but don’t let plants get too used to being indoors, they grow towards the light and can get long but weak. When the weather is good put them outside bringing them indoors at night.
The good weather has encouraged us to plant our early potatoes. Although a frost would kill the plant, the tubers are protected under the soil. Dig a trough, plant approximately 10cm deep and then cover with more soil as they grow, encouraging the production of more potatoes and making sure the plant is protected from frost. Plant with the chit (shoot) pointing up and remember they will only start growing when the soil is above 6oC so a covering of fleece can help at this time of year.
Please keep in touch by sending your pictures and questions to us through our social media pages!
26/03/2020 It’s time to get Growing – News from the Allotment
It’s a busy time on the allotment and although it’s a little early to plant most veg in the ground the Growing Works team have been sowing seeds indoors. Broad bean seeds if you have them will be fine planted outside and we have some of those already in the ground. We find dwarf varieties best as they don’t require supports but they do all need protection from the pigeons.
Other seeds going in now are salad crops, peas, root veg, carrots and leeks. All indoors or under cover. In a couple of weeks we’ll be thinking of French beans, pumpkins, squash and courgettes which require more warmth. With tomatoes, these can be started off indoors now but need to stay in until after the last frost! Our early seed potatoes are happily sprouting. It will soon be time to plant them out but we need to be a little cautious.
Always keep in mind that advice for planting is generally given for the country as a whole and we all know that in Yorkshire there is always the chance of snow in April! Keep an eye on the weather and we’ll let you know when we’re planting and what, and with any luck the weather will be kind. Don’t worry about getting it right or wrong, just get growing, the worst that will happen is the seeds won’t grow, the best that you’ll get a wonderful crop of veg or fruit and the satisfaction that you grew it yourself!
We will be keeping you up to date on our growing spaces over the coming weeks and sharing ideas for growing in gardens, on windowsills, and using whatever comes to hand during social isolation via social media. Follow our story and please do send us your questions. Each Tuesday our growing expert will be posting answers to our media pages and we’ll be hoping to keep up with growth in your gardens – lots of pictures please!
2/10/19 Lab Project joined us for our outdoor cooking workshop.
31/8/19 Growing Works had a great time at Imaginatrix Festival
Check out this blog about the Imaginatrix festival in August Holistic Huddersfield- Imaginatrix Spirituality and Music Festival Volunteer Richard Blackburn was a massive help weaving willow and helping us to fight against the wind.
17/8/19 Young People learning bush-craft skills at Lindley Youth Festival
14/6/19 Fundraising cycling challenge
On June 14th 2019 Chris Taylor will be cycling 100 miles through Yorkshire and raising money for Growing Works. You can find out more about this event and support Chris through his local giving fundraising page – Click here.
16/4/19 With Spring bringing life back to allotments and gardens we have been celebrating in style, enjoying the increasingly accessible and wonderfully calming space at Wakefield Road Allotments at the Spring Awakening Event. Thanks to everybody that came along to share food, have a go at heritage crafts, and decorate and hunt for Easter eggs. We had a fantastic time and can really see the potential for this outdoor therapy space!
18/12/18 We had a great time crafting with volunteers at Paddock village hall on the 6th December – thanks to all those who helped out. All the crafty creations went down well at the POD in the Piazza event on the 11th.
The weather may be turning decidedly wintry but we have shelter at Wakefield Road with our newly finished Polytunnel! Thanks to everyone that helped make it happen – we will be continuing to meet there through the winter!
10/09/18 Our Sprout sessions are now running in both Dewsbury (at Crow Nest Park) and Huddersfield. We had a lovely time at Stirley Farm last Saturday making paints from wild berries we collected, trying out our own recipes at the juice bar and getting some weeding done. We even saw a deer!
02/08/18 Lots of families joined us at Crow Nest Park yesterday enjoying the sunshine for Food in the Park. We’ll be there again on Wednesday the 8th, 15th and 22nd August between 11am – 1pm.
12/07/2018 The weather was fantastic for POD at The Piazza Centre in Huddersfield on the 10th July. We had the support of our fantastic volunteers to deliver outdoor activities with delicious herbal teas and Hapazome Art on offer.
02/05/2018 Thanks again to Mark who ran the London Marathon in support of Sprout. It was an amazing achievement of 4hrs 8mins in the hottest marathon recorded. The money raised makes a massive difference to support families.
Still time to donate at https://localgiving.org/fundrai…/markwhitakerlondonmarathon/
13/4/20018 Even the British weather didn’t dampen the spirits yesterday for POD at Almondbury Community Allotment. It was great to see people cooking bread on the rocket stove and making fresh Houmous with wild garlic! The BUD group enjoyed the company and got stuck in planting up the allotment borders and putting in Peas.
6/3/2018 With help from the Volunteers we’ve been busy at our new growing site at Wakefield Road Allotments. It’s an exciting space with lots of potential as we get ready from the growing season.
25/12/2018 As we look towards the Spring we are excited to be Launching workshops at Dalton allotment in partnership with Community Learning Works. If you have an interest in the area, the Dalton Sure Start Centre and the allotment workshops, then join us for our launch session on Friday 2nd March, get involved and have your say on this resource for the community!
Watch this space for pictures of the projects as they gear up for the growing season!
20/12/17 A new home for Growing works
We owe a BIG thank you to our dedicated team of volunteers who have supported Growing works through a move this month! With lots of sorting and clearing, packing and moving to be done and just two weeks to do it all, our volunteers have been amazing. Thank you all!
From our new office at Paddock Village Hall, 9 West View, Huddersfield, we’re looking forward to the exciting opportunities this new space can offer.
The office will be closed between 22nd December – 8th January when we will be back promoting ‘Healthy Lives Outdoors’ and looking to the future with our great projects. Keep up to date with our plans for the new year through our latest activities page, Facebook, and Twitter, or call us for information on 07719 509703.
2/11/2017 Enjoying the Autumn sunshine with POD at Honley Community Centre
What a beautiful day to be outside! We had a great time at the Harvest Activities POD event. The sun was shining, and our fun outdoor activities were accompanied by music from the ‘sing in t’valley’ group.
Everyone enjoyed the warming pumpkin soup and mulled juice, and our younger participants particularly loved making, cooking, and eating the apple and banana fritters.
Thanks to all those who came along and particularly our Young Mentors and Volunteers who supported the various activities.
Preparing for POD – Harvest Activities in Honley
The team at Growing works are preparing for our next POD event which is happening this Friday 27th October at Honley Community Centre, Stoney Lane.
Come and join us – we have fabulous FREE activities for all to celebrate the Autumn season!
Hot pumpkin soup, bulb planting and willow lantern making.
How you can get involved…