Well despite a far from promising weather forecast we had a tremendous day today and planted squashes, courgettes, celeriac, celery and beans many and varied. Not only that we had volunteers on hand to help with hoeing and thinning and watering. It was lovely to welcome friends old and new. The cakes were good too! It was lovely too to get a future generation of growers involved in watering and hoeing – we even had Spiderman putting in an appearance!
With summer fast approaching (honest) we need many hands to make light work of getting most of the rest of the summer’s plants in the ground this Sunday.
Lovingly propogated and nurtured in our polytunnels we’ve beans, courgettes, sqash and more to get in.
If you fancy some not too strenuous planting then come along at 11am on Sunday 31st May and lend a hand. Refreshments for workers will be available by the time we finish at 3pm.
If you happen to come by car then please park in the village centre and walk down – it’s not far.
A sunny sunday attracted the team to get stuck in to some land preparation, watering emerging polytunnel plants and pruning herbs on herby ridge. Even the new rotovator (replaces ‘the beast’) had an airing. There was time for discussion on the future of Dry Arch at lunchtime. Perhaps you can come along and add some wisdom?, we won’t bite.
Sponsor a tree. We invite all our supporters to become members of a new orchardshare scheme. Your support helps us pay for the new trees, and in return you get a share of the produce (in the first year, this will be from the established trees on the site). Sponsorship is £10 per tree per annum (maximum one per person).
Tree Planting & Wassail, Saturday 10th January. We invite you to come along to help plant the new trees, from 11am onwards. At lunchtime there will be some food and drink, followed by a celebratory Wassail and bonfire at about 2.30pm. Musicians are invited to bring instruments and join in an informal music session by the fire. This is an opportunity to become a part of the venture to establish a new orchard at Dry Arch. Entry is free, donations are welcome.
Getting there. The Dry Arch site is at the end of Holcombe Lane, Bathampton. There is very limited parking at the site, so if travelling by car, please park nearby, and walk down Holcombe Lane.
Regular events and volunteering. Even if you are unable to make it on 10th January, please do consider becoming a Sponsor. We will be holding other events during the year and there are regular volunteering opportunities on this very attractive site. It’s within walking distance of the canal towpath, and has lovely views over towards Solsbury Hill and Bath.
To become a sponsor, please send a cheque, payable to “Bathampton Community Co-operative”, to Alex Robertson, 91 Hantone Hill, Bathampton BA2 6XE. Please don’t send cash in the post. Or you may pay for sponsorship at the event on 10th January.
Then you need to pop along to Bath Area Growers Alternative Produce Show in Alice Park on Sunday August 17th from 1pm until 5pm.
You may even fancy entering one of the competitions.
For all the details visit the Bath Area Growers website at http://www.bathareagrowers.org
Herby Ridge is in full bloom and it was only started last year. Already it has produced lots of curly leaved parsley under ‘spooky tree’. Now other herbs are flowering and attracting lots of beneficial insects to Dry Arch. I took some photos last week amongst the humming of busy bees collecting nectar from self-set Borage & Buddleia.
Hurrah summer’s arrived!
At last, our veg boxes are filling up with our own produce. This week saw young and tender broad beans, purple speckled borlotti beans, onions, wet garlic, bunches of herbs from our own herby ridge, the first courgettes, salads, potatoes and even some gooseberries.
What’s more the sun is shining on our 4 little pigs who arrived last week. The weather has meant they can enjoy the wallow dug out especially for them last week.
The new arrivals enjoy their breakfast
Our crops are growing well and we look forward to more salads, tomatoes, peppers aubergines, cucumbers from our productive poly tunnels.
Volunteer days continue to be Thursdays and Sundays when we can find something for everyone: weeding, watering, harvesting, scything and soon we will be harvesting plums.
This lovely weather means we can enjoy the refreshing apple juice produced from Dry Arch. It’s still available and has a long shelf life so contact one of the team or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to buy some.
Tim posted this bulletin to our volunteers this week. Why don’t you come down, see what we’re up to, and maybe lend a hand?
“Plenty of varied work this week. Top of the list is to prepare the new polytunnel for planting out – wiring up, laying soaker hose and fixing doors. There is seedsowing and planting out to be done in the lower enclosure. The brassica plot needs to be wired and netted to deter wood pigeons. If someone would like to build a scarecrow or two that would be great aswell. Cold weather is forecast next weekend so tender plants will need to be fleeced to avoid damage. For the same reason early potatoes just sprouting will need to be earthed up. Then there are the usual everyday tasks such as harvesting, watering in the greenhouse and polytunnels and making the tea for volunteers. Volunteering times remain the same – Wed 10 till 1, Thurs 10 – 12, 1.30 – 4.30, Fri 10 – 1, Sunday 11 till we drop! Hope to see you there. “
“No work today – wet again!”
This has been the recurring theme in my diary this year so far at Dry Arch. Work may have been limited outside but, undercover, we are well ahead. The salad leaves have been flowing out of the polytunnel – now regularly contributing to members’ weekly boxes and the odd handful taken by volunteers.
This year we intend to increase our output of homegrown produce at Dry Arch. The next two months will be crucial. Land has to be prepared for sowing and planting. Pre-grown seedlings need to be pricked out, potted up, hardened off and planted out in April/May.
If you’d like to join the landworkers now is the time to come along.
There are garden work sessions on:
WED 9.30 to 12.30
THURS 10 to 12noon (Harvesting)
1.30 to 4.30pm
FRI 9.30 to 12.30
SUN 11am to dusk
In March soil prep is the top priority. Once the soil warms up, towards the end of the month, sowing outside will commence. Undercover we’ll be taking care of our seedlings and sowing the half-hardy summer crops – sweetcorn,courgette, squash, tomato, climbing beans.
On the construction front the ‘new’ polytunnels are awaiting ‘skins'; the foundations for the insulated, and ratproof, storeroom need to be laid; two aluminium greenhouses need to be erected; and the multi-purpose workshop, presently at planning stage, will need to be constructed. So there is plenty to do.
February work completed:
Wind damage repairs to sheds and glasshouse
Bridgebuilding over our new stream
Sowing early seeds in containers
Soil prep on raised beds
Compost purchased and stored
Paving laid in small glasshouse
At least a brief break in the weather made working at Dry Arch a little more pleasant today. The wet conditions are still making horticulture a bit of a challenge but it does mean we are able to develop our civil engineering talents!
Water continues to drain off Bathampton Downs and into Dry Arch, emerging half-way down our lower growing area and forming an impressive pond at the bottom. Tired of splashing through mud and puddles we’ve built a bridge. Pooh Sticks anyone?