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Warwick Allotment Society

We Bonned the Fire

Fellow Allotmenteers,

Thanks again for coming to our bonfire last Friday! What a great way to wind down during this stressful period!

Thanks to all of you who came down and brought food. Thank you also to all those who shared their music, rap, poetry, etc… It was sustenance to the ears and the brain- the heart, too, was not left untouched!

Come throw your eye at these, jump in the daal pot and get a taste of what we were up to:

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What a bunch of goofballs!!!

See you soon for some flavoursome fun as we start to organise group dinners using our very own produce!

Love,
A-Leeks

A Foray into Foraging

~Hello Allotmenteers~

Last week Thursday, we met Sam Sender at the allotment and he took us on a mad foraging adventure around the area.

Foraging 19.05 (1).jpg
Our friend Sam- leading the workshop

We were given little notepads in which to tape down leaf samples and add notes on the ways to differentiate sorrel from its poisonous look alike “Lords and Ladies”.

Here is a picture of sorrel:

sheep sorrel jpg.jpg

Delicious, delicious sorrel… we have some growing at the allotment. It tastes like apple peel and can be used in your summery salads.

Its sneaky lookalike, “Lords and Ladies”, looks like this: lords_and_ladies_leaves_by_coshipi.jpg

How do we differentiate them, you ask? The tails of the sorrel have a sharp edge, while Lords and Ladies’ tails are rounded. Also, the leaf of L&L is slightly waxy, which is not the case with sorrel. If you’re in doubt, follow the foraging rule of thumb, crush a leaf and smell it. If it’s nice and lemony, it’s probably sorrel. If you’re still in doubt…. don’t eat it. L&L is filled with calcium oxalate which are like little shards. Tasting some will burn your mouth and create swelling for a good 2 hours. Tested and (dis)approved.

We learnt about the different plants that commonly grow around here- meadowsweet, oxeye (oxide) daisies, nettles, sticky willy (!), garlic mustard, chickweed….

We even encountered England’s most fierce CARNIVOROUS PLANT!!!! the teasel trapping bubbly buzzers in its appealing pools – then digesting them whole.

Foraging 19.05 (18).jpg

What’s more? Here’s a wee collection of the day’s pictures. Credits go to Živilė Steniukynaitė for the quality photography!

 

I hoped you enjoyed yourself and learnt loads of new foraging tricks! Quick reminder to stay safe when foraging and to be smart about it all!

Thank you Chris for organising this- it was a real treat.
Keep up to date with us, parsnip lovers, we will be organising a bonfire night in the coming week! (probably over the weekend… details will be issued asap!)

Over and out –
Potato and Leeks.
(ALeeks) xxx

 

 

Foraging Workshop, Elections, Spring!

Mornin’ beans,

It’s been a WHILE! I apologise for not keeping you up to date. The allotment has been living its own life, whether or not I’ve written it down. Well you’ll be happy to know that spring is most definitely here and that everything is growing stupendously well!

Thank you to those who’ve been going down to water the polytunnel! It’s getting so warm and the seedlings need to be watered everyday if possible. Let’s try and keep this going!!

This is going to be a LONG one, so let me give you a little summary so that you can scroll through to what’s interesting to YOU.

1) Foraging Workshop

2) Elections

3) Meeting (to discuss bonfires, plants, watering, etc…)

4) June Trip – Researching Watering Systems

 

But first, here are some pictures from yesterday’s session.

1. FORAGING WORKSHOP

haaaa!! Probably the most exciting thing you’ll do all year. This will happen next Thursday (19th of May). Make sure you bring sensible clothing! I’ll post this as a separate event on Facebook, so keep your eyes PEELED (like potatoes).

Here’s a little blurb of what we’ll be doing:

Did you know that the meadowsweet that grows on campus contains salicylic acid, the active ingredient in aspirin? Or that it gets its name because its rich honey scent makes it a key flavouring of mead? Making sweet herbal teas from its flowers from June onwards is just one of the ways to enjoy free wild food that grows on campus.

A foraging workshop from [TIME TBC – 2 till 4 or 1 till 3] will focus on plant identification, sharing simple tricks to be certain you’ve found and correctly identified wild spring salads like chickweed (Stellaria media). That’s handy if you want delicious free salads of lemony sorrel (rumex acetosa) rather than having to admit to unimpressed friends that its poisonous lookalike lords and ladies (arum maculatum) left you with a swollen, stinging mouth full of microscopic needle-shape crystals known as raphides.

You’ll leave the workshop absolutely certain that you’re making elderflower cordial and cheap sugary home-brewed ‘champagne’ from the elder trees (Sambucus nigra) on campus that are starting to flower in late May, and not its earlier-flowering cousin the wayfarer’s tree (Virburnum lantana) which would make your home-brew smell like cats.

We’ll swap some simple tips and tricks for making our wild food delicious as well as nutritious, for example using tender new growth of stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) for soup – which can be done all year round by cutting tougher tough old nettles back and waiting for the bright lime green regrowth.

We’ll also go over the legal protections for foraging wild fruit, flowers, fungi and foliage given by the Theft Act 1968, with the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 ruling out any uprooting, as well as rules of thumb for ecology and safety.

Sam Sender lives in London and loves wild food.

 

2. Elections

It’s that time of the year again, where we need to start thinking about a turn over in the exec. As you know, the Allotment Society’s a pretty horizontal society, but the university requires us to have at least a president, a treasurer and a secretary. They are all pretty easy tasks, especially when one has a Chris/ master gardener in one’s life.

If you are around next year, it would be really great to have you get involved a little bit more formally. You don’t actually need to know much about plants, apart from the fact that you like them and that you’re ready to commit to a year of plant loving! 🙂 You’ll learn so much by doing! Have a think about it.

If you’re interested, drop me a line so I can see what the level of interest is (alix.villanueva28@gmail.com) . Let’s keep this magical place going!!!

 

3. Meeting 

So, it’s probably in order that we have a meeting sometime soon in order to hold the elections. We also have to discuss when everyone’s free for a little bonfire night!!

The meeting will take place not next Wednesday but the one after that, on the 25th of May! Let’s head over to a room on main campus after the regular session. Would everyone be able to make that?

4. June Trip 

We’re going on a trip again!!! Our postgrad allotmenteers applied for funding to go and do some research in self-organising communities. We will be looking at their watering systems to see what we could do with ours (and going on a road trip, sitting around bonfires, and making music together… what could be better?)
We’re hoping to go during the last week of June, but will keep you posted as soon as we have a plan!

Right, that’s all folks. Thank you if you managed to read this one till the end hehehe

LOVE,
A-Leeks

 

 

 

 

SOIL FEST

Update! get your diaries out

Hello little saplings,

This is my first email as the allotment’s secretary and it’s a pleasure to be gracing your inboxes!

It was a lovely session last week, the clouds rolled by and the shed got a new coat of preserver to bundle up warm against the forever changing weather.

We had some tea and coffee too!

Last week was also the week in which a few of us got together for an allotment meeting where we discussed a number of exciting projects and events for the coming months. (Thank you to Rhal for letting us use your kitchen!)

We discussed workshops – getting experts and passionate vegetable lovers in to impart their wisdom of sowing, sprouting, companion planting, foraging – anything that will get dirt in our nails and nature in our souls!

A number of events were proposed such as bonfires, art installation and poetry readings AND the very exciting topic of the summer trip. As soon as dates and locations are fully formed the information will be flooding your inboxes and Facebook pages.

We also spoke about a possible day trip to the canalside farm near Leamington. It’d be a really nice chance for a few of us to get together, walk down the canal and pick some fruit and veg in return for fruit and veg.

After the success of last year we’re planning on getting children from near by schools down to the allotment to sprout the seeds of nature loving early. We have a few volunteers so far but if anyone would like to get involved please message us! You won’t need an in depth knowledge of the allotment or methods, just a friendly face and a little bit of time.

But, the moment you’ve all been waiting for – what veg shall we be planting this year? We discussed everything from courgettes to kale, sweet corn to swedes and even a few interesting choices like kiwis and quinoa! The full list can be found here but in the mean time here is a little collage of some of my favourites.

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 20.48.38.png

And, just before I say farewell and sign off – here is a little bit of earth based music to get you stretching out those leaves and sprouting inspiration:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lSg6srt8rU

Love, 

Allotment Soc xxx

Cold Feet

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Allotmenteer- hello~ 

What lovely weather we’ve had last week! Cold sun- bitter and sweet, as we like it. Okay, sure- our feet went numb because it was so chilly and we decided to call it a day a bit early. It was a very enjoyable session nonetheless. 

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Here we are, tucking in our wee baby garlics for winter. Sleep tight and grow well ~ climate change is messing up your growth spurt, I know, but in the meantime, try and get some rest. 

As you know, we cancelled the meeting last week. Too few people could make it and some of us were a bit ill from the sudden temperature drop. The meeting has been moved to this week, Wednesday 27th at 4PM in Rhal’s kitchen (Arthur Vick, Block 1, Kitchen 2). That’s right across from the allotment so we’ll head straight there. 

Also- next session we’ll be painting the shed to make it waterproof, so don’t wear super nice clothes… unless you fancy looking like a debauched artist. Up to you! 

Catch ya later, parsnips~ 

Allotment Soc xxx

PS- Here’s a fun game for you: Send me a picture of your favourite plant, telling me a bit about it. Best submissions will be mentioned in the next email/post! Here’s mine:

old black & white copy scan picture of ROBERT PLANT  musician

It’s a rare Robert Plant. Latin name Robertus plantus. Grows exceptional foliage. I mean, look at that hair.

 

There’s dirt under your fingernails- and that’s a good thing

Hey Parsnips,
How are you? Are you feeling the toll of term two already? I am. But follow nature’s call, take a walk, clear your head, turn the compost, churn the soil!

Play this to the plants on your windowsill, and then play it to yourself. And watch your limbs grow, reaching for some sunlight and a breath of fresh oxygen (song courtesy of fellow plant-lover and allotment fairy Harriet Crisp).

Here’s what’s going on this week:

Come to our work session tomorrow (2-4PM usual time) and then head off to R1.15 in Ramphal for a wee meeting, starting at 4. We’ll be talking about what you want to learn, what you want to do with your hands (oh pretty pretty 10 digits, how you hold the shovel! How you hold the saw!), and what you want to grow in the allotment (though it’s a bit early for that). I also want you to start thinking about joining the exec for next term, especially if you’re of the fresh type! You don’t need to be an experienced gardener, just an enthusiastic one!

 

And here are some tips we learnt last week from Master Gardener Dr Maughan:

How do you prune soft fruit bushes?
Simple! Cut back the old stalks to the ground and tie up the new ones.
sure but…. how do you recognise an old stalk from a new stalk?

Here’s a picture of an old stalk (and a rare Harriet plant):

It has no buds and it feels tough.

A new stalk has little buds and the surface is covered wth soft down.

This way, you’ll be able to enjoy delicious raspberries in the summer!

Big Allotment Love xxx
A-Leeks

Happy Holidays and Welcome Back!

Hello pumpkins~ 

Welcome back! I hope that you’ve rested well, and seen those you love and those who love you. 

Are you ready to get digging? In a couple months, we’re going to be busy bees, sowing through the season, but for now, we must plan. We must learn. We must grow. 

I invite you to join us next week after the allotment session for a wee meeting to talk about things, the stuff you’d like to learn this term, the things you’d like to see happening in the garden, etc… I’ll send out an email closer to the date with the room number and the time! Do keep an eye out! 

Our usual session time will keep on going: Wednesdays 2-4PM. 

Here are some tasks we could be doing in the lovely month of Jan: 

– mulching the beds with leaves

– cleaning out the shed + reordering

– turning over the compost

– pruning the trees and fruit bushes

– work some more on our polytunnel 

That’s all for now folks! 

But before I go, here’s a picture of a pretty onion, garlic, rosemary and olive tart I made for the holidays! Yummmehhhh!

onion tart 

Blessed be you and all that you love, 

THE ALLOTMENT xxxxx

Cabbages!!

Two weeks ago, we planted some baby cabbages in our new polytunnel! Hopefully they’ll survive the cold….

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