Friday, 28 December 2012

Winter Blues

It's been the wettest winter I've ever experienced. All the parks are flooded and many rivers have risen high above their banks. In the garden, the ground is saturated and the uncompleted pathways are now a boggy mush. It's good fun splashing around in the vastness of water and mud. It's also been cold, very very cold. -7°C. It's been so wet and so cold that we have not been able to spend much time working on the garden. I fear for the crops I planted outdoors a few months ago. The leeks and chard are not liking this volume of water and having their roots firmly fastened in heavy clay soil is not helping matters. Our soil holds onto water like a sponge, which is a good quality in most situations. I sit and hope that this period of wet weather won't cause too much permanent damage. 
Biological toilet build
Working on the new feature
Working in the polytunnel
One way we've been keeping warm during the odd brief break in the rains has been by working on creating new features in the garden. One of our volunteers has been designing and creating a stunning feature which will greet visitors as they walk into the garden. We have also been constructing the biological toilet, which has been severely delayed due to 'bad' weather. Our salvation during the rains has been the Polytunnel. There are many baby seedlings coming on in the tunnel and we had managed to keep salads going even through the frosty periods. But not even crops in the polytunnel have been completely safe from harm. The foxes are back in force. They too seem to have worked out that it's both drier and warmer in the tunnel. They have been tearing their way into the tunnels and causing a great deal of damage to both the tunnel and the plants that live there. The polytunnel won't be the only refuge from the poor weather for much longer. We are working on starting the build of our communal structure. Our friends at the National Trust have kindly agreed to give us as much material as we need from their tree punning exercises. Building work is due to start any time now.
Our Christmas tree 
The Christmas period was fun. We made a Christmas tree using recycled material and branches from several different trees to symbolise creativity and togetherness. This was on display at Morden Hall Park's Stable Yard for a few days during their Christmas celebrations and had a very good response. We also held a small feast where people came together to cook healthy and delicious meals from food that was thrown away by our local shops and supermarkets (pictures). On the 12th of December we had a small gathering where people came together to celebrated sustainability and enjoy good music and great company (pictures).
2012 has been a very full on high energy year and many developments and lessons learnt. We are very much looking forward to growing further in 2013. We hope you'll be able to join us.