Sunday, August 03, 2008

August update

Kitchen Garden veg on sale at Andreas and flowers at Pot Pourri
We have formed a partnership with a local not-for-profit organization, Chiswick Local Produce, which aims to liaise between producers and consumers on a very local level. For fresh, organic local fruit and veg from the Kitchen Garden, look out for the dedicated section within the greengrocer’s, Andreas, on Turnham Green Terrace. And ask for the special local flower bunches at Pot Pourri on the High Road.

If you have a glut of your own fruit or veg that you would like to shift, contact Sarah Cruz from Chiswick Local Produce on, 07771-768-411.

Pigs abandoned
We have sadly been forced to cancel our piggy project. We had everything all set to go with two little Tamworths, under the generous sponsorship of the Falcons School, and in association with Mackens the butcher on Turnham Green Terrace. The pigs would have cleared the northern walled garden, which is to be an orchard, rooting up all the bramble, and then done their baconian duty becoming sausages, hog roast etc. Meanwhile we would all have learnt a bit more about where our food comes from. We are really grateful to both the school and the Parents’ Association at Falcons, along with Mackens who were going to support us. It was all too complicated with the building works in the park, and although the Trust eventually agreed to the experiment, it was too late to sort out before they would have had to be slaughtered as the works progressed. Anyhow, we are now well equipped to appear on Mastermind with our special subject – keeping pigs, since we now know all about fencing, pignuts, DEFRA slap marks, heritage breeds, large animal vets, abattoir transport and so on, so it was not entirely wasted.

Food growing classes
We have had a good response to our suggestion about running food growing classes in September/October. It still seems like a long time away, so we are not asking for firm bookings now, but if this is of interest, please let us know.

Kitchen Garden news
We finished our school session season (try saying that late at night…) and would like to say how much we have enjoyed having all the school children working in the gardens. We have done good gardening, had some splendid picnics, made some wonderful artwork. At the last session the kids squabbled amicably to grab the last beetroot, rocket, lettuce, carrots and redcurrants, and the teacher stood open-mouthed at the spectacle of children fighting for veg.

At least two of our tadpoles have successfully made it to frogdom, and two minuscule little amphibians the size of a fingernail were spotted enthusiastically hopping away from the pond a couple of weeks ago. We had a lecture on bees from local nature man, Mick Massie, and were were soon able to identify 4 different species hard at work on the hyssop in the maze. Yesterday we saw our first grasshoppers in the gravel garden.

Elsewhere in the park Mick identified a very rare bee, a solitary mining bee, Andrena florea, that only collects pollen from White Bryony. This provoked great excitement, since it is a Red Data Book species, ie. a significant endangered species found in very few sites in Britain. Unfortunately a large clump of bryony has just been ripped out as part of the yew hedge trimming.

In the Kitchen Garden we are currently struggling somewhat with the building works, although they are being very tolerant of our wish to remain gardening throughout the whole painful ‘regeneration’ period. Last week we harvested onions and carrots early from one bed to make way for the builders to install drainage works, only to be told that another couple of beds (potatoes, beans and pumpkins) must also be cleared for some surprise archaeologists. But nevertheless, the garden looks lovely, and we need archaeology and drainage too. I suppose.

Other park news
The House Festival was generally considered to be a great success, and the clear-up operation was immaculate. Fun was also had at the Friends Opera.

The park is, however, a bit of a depressing place at the moment. The old café closed down earlier this week and building work should start imminently on the new restaurant. The replacement mobile café, by the cricket pavilion is imminently expected, and the temporary loos are also immmently opening. The lake path remains closed awaiting imminent completion, along with the classic bridge. Contractors have started work on the conservatory so that’s out of bounds for the foreseeable future. The hockey field also remains out of bounds. Dukes Avenue is generally accessible with a bit of zig-zagging.