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
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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) . Let’s keep this magical place going!!!
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