We have been asked to spread the word about MYHarvest (Measure Your Harvest), which is an opportunity to participate in an exciting research project that will estimate the contribution people who grow their own fruit and vegetable crops are making to UK national food production. At present, there is a recognition that own-growing in the UK makes a really important contribution to food security, healthy diets and general well-being, but we currently have a poor understanding of how much own-grown food people are able to produce. This will be key to providing the vital evidence base to support the use of land for growing spaces within our cities and towns, at a time when people are becoming increasingly interested in growing their own fruit and vegetables. The National Allotment Society is supporting the research team at the University of Sheffield who are working with members of the public growing food in allotments, gardens and other own-growing spaces across the UK to understand the yield of typical UK fruit and vegetable crops. By providing the team with the area of land they use to grow a crop and the weight of the crop they harvest participants would be: 1.     Contributing to a first national estimate of own-grown food production in the 21st century. 2.     Helping us to understand how much allotment and garden space we need in the future to ensure sufficient access for the growing number of people in our cities and towns. Twitter: @myharvestuk Facebook: Download Link … [Read more…]

‘Spring Planting Session’ Compost List

Following on from our ‘Spring Planting Session’ at Leigh Community Centre yesterday, one of our committee members has drawn up a list of items which can or cannot go into a compost bin. There’s more that could be added but it’s a good starting reference for beginners.  Ideas are also in the pipeline for a more child-friendly one or even create a game/chart?   Download Link … [Read more…]

Gozo Growing #5 : Plants, Pots, Bologna

You know what it’s like. You find yourself standing outside high garden walls, catching tantalising glimpses of what lies beyond. All the while wondering what must it be like on the other side of those gates and hoping to someday get the opportunity to look around the place! This became reality for us recently, when we managed to get through the gates of the working estate and gardens of Villa Bologna in Attard on Malta. I’d been intrigued by the place for a while, and was keen to discover more about the history of the fine 18th century Maltese house, gardens and grounds. The visit proved an ideal opportunity to learn more about the ongoing efforts by a small team of staff and volunteers to restore the gardens using organic growing methods. On arrival, we were met at the Villa’s imposing gates by Emanuela, the enthusiastic estate gardener and our “tour guide” for the morning. She accompanied us around the gardens and introduced us to the team of volunteers helping with the many and varying tasks that maintaining such a large garden demands. We were also joined by unofficial tour guide, Lula, a rescue dog found living rough under cars outside the Villa. … [Read more…]