Notes on Food & Gardens Group Meeting 6th March 2014

Present: Steve, John Bush (Loughborough in Bloom), Martha, Rahul, David, Ken, Caroline, Barry, Fiona

Martha said that the sustainability team on the University campus had won an award for the Eat Your Campus project- Transition got an honourable mention for being involved with Fruit Route, LAGS and apple days.

John Bush presented on Loughborough in Bloom. Over 30 groups take part in Loughborough in Bloom with expert advice from Harry Cook (who has the superb garden on the corner of Epinal Way and Forest Road). John would like photos, stories, hints, calls for help, adverts for workshops, etc to go on the Loughborough in Bloom website. Photos should be around 640×480 (John can get them from people via memory sticks if needs be) and you can contact John via email.

Talked about putting fact sheets on TL/LiB websites after TL/LAGS events. Jon offered to write up fact sheets for workshop topics if people can tell him what was covered in any workshops (just a couple of bullet points is fine as he can expand on that).

March 22nd Fruit cage/raised beds/Andy’s workshop. Ken has the wood ready for the raised beds – he could do with some help after getting it cut to size (probably six trips on Friday 21st March). Ken said he hasn’t spent all the money from the grant on the wood. We have to spend the money on the fruit cage and accessible gardening area – so things like compost for the raised beds and paving could be included. Work on the fruit cage starts 10am (9am for the keen folk like Steve and Ken!). Suggest folk bring cordless drills if they have them to help bolt the beds together. Martha is organising the lunchtime refreshments. Andy’s workshop will be on making a Hugelkultur hot bed and . We have logs, leaf mould, animal manure, compost, etc ready to make this bed. Steve suggested having a label to describe the Hugelkultur beds – this could be done at the label making workshop planned for April.

We decided on the type of fruit wanted for the fruit cage: Autumn (4 plants) and Summer (4 plant) fruiting raspberries. Red, black and white currants (one of each). Gooseberries (2 green plants and 2 red).  Might have a couple of blueberries in a large container later.  Martha is visiting a fruit nursery this weekend and purchase these at the same time as the LAGS step over trees. Jon suggested that we have decent weed suppressing fabric to cover the base of the fruit cage, plus paving to the cage, in the middle of the cage and around the external accessible raised beds.

ACTION: Martha to buy the fruit bushes as above.

ACTION: Steve, Ken and Barry to go to the plot on Sunday 16th March to measure out where the cage will be and count up the number of pavers and then order them from a builders merchant (assuming funds allow).

Potato Day Planning. Caroline, Steve, Paul and Rahul visited the Transition Chesterfield potato day to learn how they run thie event, in preparation to run our own potato day next year. Aims are threefold: helping people grow their own food, raising funds for TL and raising our profile within the town. Paul has booked the charity stall on the market on 31st January 2015. We need 4-5 people to help organise it from now, with 10-12 people available to help on the day (and the day before). Chesterfield double the pre-paid, pre-orders, with the extra used for sales on the day. Having a week to make up the pre-order bags is no bad thing. Left over potatoes could be distributed to various community garden groups around the town. Transition Chesterfield also do food tasting and potato printing – we could do something like that in National Libraries Day if we sell excess potatoes from Potato Day at a seed swap in the public library. We won’t be as big as Transition Chesterfield and we should initially aim to just break even (which is how Chesterfield stated). Transition Chesterfield pre-orders start in September and finish in early December – we’re could hopefully share ordering from Scottish suppliers with them if we work to the same dates.

It was generally agreed that holding a potato day is a good idea. Caroline to lead getting people involved and arranging meetings: first one is to make sure that we have enough people to make organizing it viable. Steve wants to involved, Rahul (for the start as he might not be here for the main event) – Caroline will ask more folk to get the 4-5 people required.

ACTION: Caroline to arrange a separate meeting to get the Potato Day group up and running.

Barry showed reusing old plastic venetian blinds for plant labels – works really well, can be written on in pencil and its a great way to reuse waste materials.

Fiona talked about crop rotation. Rotation helps to limit soil bourne pests and diseases, builds up the correct fertility by having different crops following one another. Alliums and carrots have some of the biggest issues with pests and diseases. Need to think about putting green manures in when we leave beds empty – need to plan management of the beds, as well as time/people to do them.

Community Orchards. Steve is trying with Mike Jones to get the momentum going again, or at least keep the idea of orchards bubbling along. There’s the opportunity to get up to 100 trees for community planting. Hopefully might get a grant to get Fruit Routes extension from the campus out into the town (probably from 2015 onwards). The orchard at Gorse Covert is still there, but needs some TLC and buy in from the local community.

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