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St Mathew Bloxham vegetable garden

I have been making a vegetable garden for the School .All the beds are now up,filled with soil, and rocket early potatoes and Sutton broad beans planted. There are two beds for strawberries, rhubarb will be added later.The pathways will be edged with mini railway sleepers, and filled with woodchip. A leafmould bin is filled with leaves,there are four dalek compost bins,and there is a larger pallet compost bin.

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St Mathew Bloxham vegetable garden

Greenhouse now has tomatoes growing, rocket early potatoes nearly ready to harvest. Some radishes harvested and strawberries, courgettes growing well,also cucumbers and sweetcorn, rainbow chard ,leaf beat,onions. Runner and french climbing beans doing well.Planted out 20+ assorted squashes,two achocha and cucamelons, Built new compost bin with wooden pallets .

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St Mathew Bloxham Vegetable Garden

On Thursday 4th June, JLR community volunteers helped replace wooden edging, lay bark paths, Creosoted raised beds, make two more raised beds and put a slab base and errect a 8×6 polycarbonate greenhouse

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St Mathew Bloxham vegetable garden

I have been making a vegetable garden for the School .All the beds are now up,filled with soil, and rocket early potatoes and Sutton broad beans planted. There are two beds for strawberries, rhubarb will be added later.The pathways will be edged with mini railway sleepers, and filled with woodchip. A leafmould bin is filled with leaves,there are four dalek compost bins,and there is a larger pallet compost bin.

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New Bilton Community Garden Harvest!

New Bilton Community Garden Harvest!

This was held in Jubilee Park, Rugby on Saturday 6th September. From 1pm to 5pm

This was all about celebrating the harvest of the first year of this community project. The idea is the community sow and plant and help themselves as the produce becomes available. It has been all about a community sharing and enjoying fresh vegetable and herbs.

The weather was great, the company wonderful and enthusiastic. There was over a 100 visitors though the afternoon. There were many stalls and entertainments. There was a stall which had donated vegetable and fruits for people to take away and enjoy.

Cooking demonstrations. Margherita did a 3 course meal using some of the donated vegetables. Fran Poole from Warwickshire Public Health also did a healthy food demonstration and Sheela Hammond (from New Bilton) demonstrated an easy to do Indian vegetarian dish.

There were competitions for home made cakes, preserves (jams and chutneys) and a garden on a plate. The day was supported by Rugby’s Mayor and Mayoress, local CPO, Community Safety wardens, St Johns Ambulance service and a visit by a Fire Engine and a bouncy castle for the children

Master Gardeners John & Sandy had a stall answering numerous questions on gardening, composting, what to do and how to cook vegetable and fruit. Sandy had some tasters of Marrow (extra large courgettes) & Apple Chutney, Raspberry Jam and Marrow & Apricot Jam. Courgette & Chocolate and Courgette & Cinnamon cakes. This was all based on the bumper harvest of Courgettes and it showed a way of preserving produce for a future enjoyment.

It was a great day and was fully appreciated by the community of New Bilton and gave confidence to continue next year.

John & Sandy Young

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Paddox School Gardening Club

First session of the school gardening which will run every Tuesday after school 3.30-4.30
Weeded the raised beds to start , then planted Bunyards Exhibition broad beans and meteor peas .

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Appetising Apples

This year has seen a bumper crop in the Orchards all over the Country. It also feels like my own small orchard has been particularly fruitful. This has challenged me to find new and different recipies to use up all of the wonderful harvest.
On Saturday I had the pleasure of spending the day with my fellow Master Gardeners at Ryton Organic Gardens for a day full of education and learning on the subject of propagation. We also celebrated our success of winning the Local Food award for education and learning. And how else would we celebrate but with some homemade cakes from Vicki’s kitchen (made with Apples of course!!!!)

The cakes went down a storm (and very quickly!) and many of the MG’s have asked for the recipies for thier own apple harvest.
I hope you enjoy the recipies and have had a truly bountiful harvest from your plots and trees this year. I am sure I am in good company when I say I am truly looking forward to what the next year will bring for us all and for the Master Gardener project.

Apple Cake

115g butter diced
225g cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
juice of half lemon
225g plain flour
1 and a half spoons of baking powder
165g soft light brown sugar
1 egg beaten
2-3 tbsp milk
half teaspoon of ground cinnamon


1. preheat oven to 180 C/Gas mark 4 and grease and line a 7in round cake tin

2. in a small bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice

3. sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl

4. With cold hands, rub the butter and flour mixture (incl. the baking powder) until it resembles fine crumbs. Stir in 4 115g of the sugar and the apples.

5. Add the egg and enough milk to give a soft dropping consistency.

6. Spoon into the prepared tin and smooth the top level.

7. Mix together the remaining sugar with the cinnamon, then sprinkle over the cake batter.

8. Bake for 45-50 mins or until firm to the touch. Leave to cool, then turn out on to a wire rack to go cold.

9. Enjoy with cream, icecream, custard or just on its own! You may even like to share it! Perhaps!


Farmhouse apple and Sultana Cake


175g softened butter,
175g soft light brown sugar
3 eggs
225g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2tsp mixed spice
350g cooking apples, peeled, cored and diced
175g sultanas
5tbsp milk
2tbspn demerara sugar


1. Preheat the oven to 160 C/ Gas 3. Grease and line a 20cm round deep cake tin with baking parchment.

2. put the butter in a large bowl with the sugar. Beat together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs. Sift in the flour, baking powder and spice then beat until thoroughly mixed.

3. Fold in the apples, sultanas and sufficient milk to make a soft dropping consistency.

4. Spoon the batter into the prepared tin. Wet a metal spoon by runnning it under the tap and use the back of the wet spoon to smooth the cake top level.

5. Sprinkle with demerara sugar. Bake for about 1.5 hours or until risen, golden brown and firm to the touch. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes then turn out on to a wire rack.

Enjoy. Happy Winter by the fire everyone, See you all in the Spring.

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Help! I need somebody…

Read Master Gardener Helen Greenly’s school growing blog. There are heaps of great posts to inspire your school food growing,  with specific tips for running a successful school farmers market.

I set up this blog 18 months ago to tell you about how we were about to transform the veg garden at Ferncumbe School.  Initially the blog covered the investment made with the new raised beds and poly tunnel.  Then I covered the growing cycle 2012-13 which included our first 2 farmers markets.  This school year 2013-14 is my last at Ferncumbe, as my youngest is in their final year so this blog will reflect how I hand on the garden and I’ll stop posting after our summer Farmers Market in July 2014.

As I start my handover, I have split my role into 2,

  • Farmers market organiser.  More of that after Christmas as we prepare for our Mother’s day market in March
  • Class gardener, a volunteer who gardens with the school classes, primarily to get them prepared for the Farmers Markets

The class gardener role I am hoping will be taken over by a number of volunteers, ideally at least one per class, to work with the teaching staff and children to grow their veg, fruit and edible flowers.  If any parent/ carer/ relative or friend is approached to help, please say yes.  It is a very rewarding experience working with the children as they garden.   With the children you will see what you sow together grows into something edible. Time commitment is approx. 1 hour a week if there is one of you supporting a class, less if there are more of you.

To simplify further we have agreed that each class grows the same family of veg or fruit each year.  For example;  reception children always grow potatoes.  This means the teachers grow similar items each time, and the children get the chance to grow something different each year as they move through the school.

Over my next few blogs I will cover each fruit/ veg or edible flower family a year group will grow, including a month by month gardening plan, plus other comments and suggestions. For the volunteer class gardener, you will have this blog as reference plus your knowledge and information in school.

For now I want to say thanks to everyone who has read this blog and I hope you will find the posts during this academic year useful.

To read more of Helen’s excellent and informative school growing blog ……….click here

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Gardening through the coldest months

Gardening through the coldest months

By Hannah Towers

Winter is a dormant season for many plants, although it’s not a dormant season for us gardeners.

There are many jobs during the colder months we can do to prepare our garden for the next year. It’s the time for us to insulate greenhouses, prune fruit trees and even plant garlic.



Tasty festive sprouts


As the weather cools down in November, it’s time to prepare our greenhouses and polytunnels for the upcoming frosts to protect the plants inside. This doesn’t have to be expensive. Use bubble wrap to line the inside of your structure, using little clips to secure.

Stake any Brussels sprouts plants to protect against the elements. Strong wind can otherwise damage plants. You’ll then be able to harvest the sprouts closer to Christmas. Staking can also be done with kale.


Prune your apple trees


The weather, when it reaches December, will most likely be very cold. You can distract yourself from this cold by preparing for harvesting fruit next year. It’s time to plant fruit trees and bushes. For me, it will be time to plant raspberries. Raspberry canes should be planted in a sunny area, 40cm apart in rows.

For those of you who already have apples trees, it is time to prune. The first step is to remove any branches that are obviously dead, diseased and damaged. Then for healthy branches on ‘bush’ trained trees with an open centre, shorten main stems and side shoots. Follow a guide if you are unsure. Make sure you don’t overprune as this can cause many problems, such as no fruit.


Tasty rhubarb


For garlic lovers who haven’t yet planted their cloves, now is the time. Plant the separate cloves 2.5cm deep in rows 10cm apart. If your soil is sandier, plant them a little deeper.

If you have established rhubarb growing, you can now start to ‘force’ it to produce delicate tasting stems. To do this, first clear the base of the rhubarb. Remove any dead leaves or weeds. Then use a large pot or dustbin to cover the rhubarb to exclude any light. This will force the rhubarb to start growing early.


Hannah is a student from Rugby High School volunteering with Garden Organic at Ryton Gardens. She’s particularly interested in biology and has a keen gardening family.


Read more about gardening through the coldest months

Click here to discover unusual crops

Step by step growing activities…

Become a Garden Organic member…

What to do in the garden now

Lively growing blogs by volunteer Master Gardeners:
Warwickshire, North London, South London, Norfolk, Medway and Lincolnshire


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Blueberry blub blub

Has anyone had a wonderful blueberry plant which has not fruited this year? If so, can you let me know why this is? I’ve also heard someone had no gooseberries due to windy weather earlier in the year which separated the flower from the plant.

Any tips anyone??

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