Monday, 14 March 2016

The Wildlife Watch group visit Aylestone Lane Community Allotment !

The children and their parents of the Wildlife watch group enjoyed walking around the allotment last Saturday morning. 

Although there wasn't a lot to see on a sunny but cold March morning, the children could see that we were preparing the ground for beans and that we had plenty of seedlings in our poly tunnel. They were amazed that we had flowers on the broad beans, the peas and winter lettuce were also doing well in our poly tunnel.  




 The children near the "Edible Forest Garden"

 They also planted cress seeds and sunflower seeds


 They will be a competition for the tallest sunflower! so they planted them very carefully!


Here the children are planting seeds in our "Square Foot Garden"

We had a wonderful time, thank you to Jane and everyone from the Wildlife Watch!


Wednesday, 9 March 2016

First rhubarb of the year!

Last year we covered the rhubarb with a blue drum in October. When we uncovered it, we were amazed to find that the rhubarb (that had been covered up over the winter) was so much in front of the other one, that you can see to the left of it.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Muddy Boots Allotment Playgroup 

Every Friday, from April till November the Muddy Boots Allotment playgroup meet at the community allotment. We plant seeds, harvest fruit, learn about insects, eat healthy shared snacks and have lots of outdoor fun! The pre-school sessions are suitable for toddlers – 6 year olds with an adult. Contact emily@mymuddyboots.org.uk for further information

 

Would you like to learn how to grow fruit and veg and have some spare time? 

We are looking for volunteers to help us, sow seeds, do a bit of digging and other jobs to help to maintain the plot. There are many benefits to volunteering.

  • It can help to improve your health.

    Meet new people and feel part of a team.

    Build your confidence to grow fruit & veg.

    Learn new skills.

     

If you are interested we would love to hear from you. The session are free!


Friday, 5 February 2016

We have been busy the last two years



The story so far



The Aylestone Lane Community Allotment was created in March 2014, after the TCV “Food Champions” project came to an end. We are a bunch of enthusiastic volunteers that meet regularly on the site to plant seeds, have meaningful conversations about anything and everything, do a bit of digging and of course the odd cup of tea and always a biscuit!

Over the past two yeas we have been developing the site and have created three large plots for traditional crop rotation.

We have produced a variety of different vegetables, fruits and salads including different
coloured tomato's, beans, beetroot and radishes.


The picture on the right shows you a small

section of the produce that we grow.


At the end of each session we share out the produce. It's always a pleasure to taste fresh food that has not been sprayed with any nasty chemicals.

Poly tunnel

Early spring in 2014 we erected a large poly tunnel, which has helped us to extend the growing season. 

 
Square Foot Garden

We have planted square gardens, that can fit into the smallest garden, this can help to provide food all though the year.

Sustainability

As we value sustainability, we save as many seeds as possible and have had quite a success with growing plants from seeds. We compost as much as possible and are experimenting with a hot compost system. This means that we do not take anything from the land.
Edible Forest Garden

Our lasted project is the “Edible Forest Garden”. Over the last year we have been developing this project. We grafted heritage Leicester apple trees last March and now they are planted in the garden and are doing very well!













Muddy Boots Allotment Playgroup
Wild play and outdoor learning as nature intended


Every Friday from April till October I have been running Muddy Boots Allotment Playgroup on the community allotment site. Muddy Boots has ran for the past four years and has been gaining in popularity each year. The group is aimed at families with pre-schoolers and up to 7 year old home-schooled children. Family groups who attended Muddy Boots have planted seeds and seedlings, nurtured plants and learnt about weeding and watering. We have enjoyed lots of natural art and craft activities, been on bug-hunts and learnt about the importance of growing food organically. We touched on the ethics of Permaculture and enjoyed spending time outdoors every Friday learning from each other and Mother Earth.

We have harvested lettuce, tomatoes, runner beans, red currants, strawberries, grapes and apples. We prepared and ate these in lots of fun ways. Some examples include eating a fruit rainbow, making funny faces out of food, apple bobbing and making strawberry and chia seed jam.
Children harvested and ate organic, seasonal produce within sight of where it was grown. An important part of each session is our shared lunch or snack-time. Participants are invited to 'bring and share' foods to eat with the group and swap ideas about healthy eating.


I ran 25 sessions this year. Each session lasted two hours and was attended by an average of ten families. In total 27 family groups, which equates to 48 people have attended a Muddy Boots session, with the majority attending multiple times. This year I expanded into running two sessions each Friday which allowed me to inspire more people to get growing and playing outdoors with their children.
The group will now take a break over the colder months. During this time I will be expanding and re-designing the education area of the community allotment. The group was lucky enough to receive a small grant from 
The Leicester Food Plan which was used to purchase books, seeds, art and craft materials and fencing to expand the education area. We will begin to meet again in the Spring.

I am really passionate about introducing children to food growing at a young age. These are our future farmers, ecologists, agriculturalists and nature lovers. It is vital that we nurture them!

Monday, 24 March 2014

It's not the end...

Well, hasn't the past two and a half years flown by! When I think back to the start of the project in September 2011 I am astonished by how much we have achieved since then. Over 1000 local people have attended events, one-off sessions, and courses to learn how to grow their own food. Nearly 30 local groups have been involved with the project, and lots of schools in Oadby and Wigston have now started growing food as part of the curriculum. We've even created two new food-growing groups - the Aylestone Lane Community Allotment, and the Muddy Boots pre-school group. We are very proud of what has been achieved, and look forward to seeing what happens next...

So the current round of funding has come to an end, but it doesn't mean the food growing has to stop! A group of dedicated volunteers will still be meeting at the allotment every Tuesday morning, and the Muddy Boots pre-school group is starting up again after Easter. Both these groups are now going to be run entirely by volunteers, so a big thank-you has to go out to Sue and Emily, who are taking up the mantle and ensuring the legacy of the Community Food Champions Project continues. Without the dedication and enthusiasm of the volunteers much of what has been achieved would be lost, so it's fantastic that we can say with confidence that the spirit of the project will continue in safe hands.

It just remains for me to say thank-you to everyone who has been involved with the project, from the Champions who have helped with all aspects of the project, to the volunteers and participants who have enthusiastically got stuck-in to whatever task they've been asked to do. It's been a pleasure working with you all!

Vicky