Another week, and the ship of Oxgrow journeys onwards. Our gallant vessel has departed the barren harbour of March and sailed forth into the abundant oceans of April. Rising temperatures and sunny days fill our sails, propelling us through the 'hunger gap' towards the promise of inordinate and bounteous oceans.
Still the memory of flooding remains an unwanted barnacle upon our noble bowser. The turbulent tides of the winter months wreaked unimaginable destruction upon our small island. Alas, the polytunnel has been our Titanic, colliding catastrophically with the iceberg of flooding, almost sinking, to be eternally lost in the muds of Hogacre. But all is not lost! This Sunday, we send out the lifeboat of repairs, a veritable flotilla of engineering prowess and community enthusiasm, to recreate our own taste of the Antipodean amidst the significantly less tropical climes of South Oxford.
In further news, this weekend cries of "woman overboard" shall ring out, as one of our number lowers her dinghy, hopefully to return to the mothership with infinite permaculture bounty.
Fellow sailors, oh most brave companions on this voyage of horticultural discovery, read on to learn more of the intricacies of our journey, and the lighthouses of community endeavour that light our way forth.
"Fair winds and following seas and long may your big jib draw"
Toodleooo my most wonderous mariners,
Wow. What a day. Not only is it the 94th day of the year (holy moly), but it's also the anniversary of the founding of the Kennel Club, the day on which the Communist Party of Panama was established and, this day in 1768, saw the opening of the first circus. So many days. So many life-changing events. And, amidst this panoply of historical greatness and significance sits Oxgrow, bravely riding the horse of historical relvance through the meadows of seasonal change into the future prairies of horticultural pioneering.
As our steed gallops nobly on towards Sunday, there is much to be done. For, gallant garden warriors, the battle, nay, quest, of vegetable endeavour, has entered the critical phase of April. And so, as brave warriors of the land, we pick up our shovels and thrust them into the ground. Battlecries resound throughout Hogacre. Exclamations of "Beetroot" "Carrots" "Broad beans" "Chives" fill the air as the noble soldiers of Oxgrow march forth, through the uncertain plains of climate change, the ravines of waterlogged soil and the caves of crop rotations.
The quest shall continue. All warriors welcome. We shall provide the armour (read, gardening gloves), simply bring enthusiasm of spirit and braveness of heart. We ride from 1-4PM.
Farewell brave and noble kindred. Until we meet again (on Sunday).
Oh wonderous, esteemed and most fabulous Oxgrowers. Another week goes by, and the garden is springing into Spring- hurrah!
We have Big News. This Sunday, the guardian (oh wow) are gracing us with their presence. It's not entirely clear why, but they will be doing some interviews, having a look around, and taking some photos, with the view to writing a feature on the garden. SO, for all you budding celebs and those wanting their 15 minutes of fame, head down to Oxgrow on Sunday. It would be great to have the garden well represented, and have as many of you down there as possible. Even if you don't aspire to be the next Alan Titchmarch (phwoar), there's lots to be done in the garden, and we could do with all hands on deck. 1-4, as always.
In other news, we had a great session with Cultivate (thanks Joe!) where we planned the planting for the coming year and drew up some crop rotations. As a result, coming soon to a garden near you (Oxgrow) there will be some amazingly crafted colour coordinated wall charts and maps of the garden and the planting plans. Get Excited.
Check out the notices below for all the other community/ garden news this week.
Stay strong in this apocalyptic weather.Remember, in case of lightning, evacuate the cricket pitch.
Hold on to your hats folks! This is it. Finally, after months of floods, rain, wind, hurricanes, a near apocalypse, a wildebeest invasion and the descent into a parallel universe (caveat: only some of these things actually happened) Oxgrow is Back in The Game. This Sunday, we are pleased, nay, ecstatic, joyous, deliriously merry, to announce that we will be in the garden once more, digging the land, cultivating the soil and growing those veg, from 1-4PM. Come on down, we've missed you like a captive lion misses the endless plains of the African savannah.
In other news, Thursday saw a really great and productive meeting on the future of Oxgrow. Thanks to all who came along and to those who sent through their thoughts and ideas. Great discussions were had, and this year promises to be a super wonderful one for the garden. Some of the key points are outlined below.
That's all for now chickens. Get stretching, brace your bodies for some hardcore post flooding manual labour (I should say physical exertion is by no means compulsory) and bring your A-game to the garden on Sunday. It gonna be wiiillld, and there's gonna be cake.
Ooodles, boodles and snoodles of lovin'
Good morning everyone!
Just a quick one- We will be having an Oxgrow meeting tomorrow (Thursday) at 6PM at the Oxford Hub (upstairs above Turl St Kitchen). We will be in the Breakout Space, which is on the third floor, at the top of the stairs on the right.
It would be great to see as many of you there as possible!
Good morning folks! What a week ahead! Come on down to Hogacre today for our Big Dig 2.0, join us in the pavilion on Tuesday for an evening of sustainable food themed fun and head over to Barracks lane on Sunday to exchange some seeds.
Most importantly, we will be having the Oxgrow AGM on Thursday at 6PM in the hub (upstairs above the Turl St Kitchen). It would be wonderful to have as many of you there as possible, and to hear your ideas on the future of Oxgrow. If you aren't able to make it, please send us you thoughts and ideas.
Have a beautiful day, and see you all very soon!
Wheelbarrows of lovin'
Hurrah! Youpi! Oh frabjous day! Most esteemed Oxgrowers, the day has finally arrived. The waters have receded, the weather deities are smiling and the garden is no longer submerged. What joy! What fortune! What merriment!
However, we have decided to rein back our gardening horses for just one more week. The garden is super slimy and waterlogged, and will probably benefit from a little time to dry out. Then the following week is a Hogacre tree planting day, so it may still be a while until Oxgrow is once again open for business.
When we are eventually back in the game, we're going to need all hands on deck; the plastic bottle greenhouse has suffered extensive damage, the polytunnel is in need of repair and we have a whole lot of planting to catch up on...
So watch this space, and in the meantime, check out everything going on below, particularly Hogacre's work weekend, (including a tree planting fest!) and the upcoming Oxgrow AGM.
Keep it real wonderkids, and see you in the garden shortly,
It's with continued dissappointment that we have to report that the garden is still under water. Keep your fingers crossed for more sunshine and we should be up and operating next Sunday! In the meantime, see if you can come up with a project idea or two that we could enact once the gates are open again...we've been planning in the downtime and have many a vision to bring to life!
Your green-thumbed friends.
Oh alas, alack! Misfortune and sadness and woe!
Another week passes, and yet again Oxgrow finds itself immersed. With water over a foot deep, and a dearth of wellies sturdy enough to keep out the floods, activity in the garden will once again be put on hold. But fear not, green fingered friends, as soon as the tides recede we shall be returning to the land. And, in the meantime, there's plenty going on to keep you all busy.
Keep it real.
Happy weekend all!
We come bearing unfortunately damp news: OxGrow has flooded again (though not as severley as last round). As such, we won't be holding a session in the garden tomorrow. We hope to be back up and running next week. Keep your eyes peeled and feet dry.
Your OxGrow Brigade
(A photo from the last high tide. Things aren't quite as soggy this week.)
Dear friends of OxGrow, old and new:
We're excited to annouce that the waters have receded and OxGrow is ready to get back up and running!
Please join us tomorrow (Sunday) from 12.00-16.00 as we ring in the New Year/a new growing cycle. There will be lots of work and we could use all the energy we can muster. Bring yourself, an interested friend, and if you'd like, a snack to share. We'll provide tea, tools, and guidance.
Should you need, a map for first time visitors: http://tinyurl.com/OxGrowMap
We look forward to working with you tomorrow, rain or shine!
The OxGrow Team
The waters are receding, but I'm afraid there's still too much flooding to get into OxGrow via the main gate, so we've decided to postpone for another week. Sorry folks!
See you next week, for sure!
The OxGrow team
Just a little note to let you know that the heavy rain today has flooded OxGrow again, so we're going to have to wait another week until we can get back to our gardening.
Hopefully we’ll see you next Sunday.
Ciao for now,
The OxGrow team
Hope you had a lovely Christmas. This is just a quick message to say that that there will be a workparty on tomorrow from 1 to 4pm with plenty to keep us busy.
Hope to see you there!
The OxGrow team
Due to many of our regular volunteers being away for Christmas already and other unfortunate circumstances involving footballing injuries it's been decided to take a break from the garden for this Sunday only.
If anyone would like to pop down tomorrow just to potter around for a while and water the salad in the polytunnel please send me a text on 07891 866 278 and I'll get back to you with the codes for the gates. The garage will be locked unless another group happen to be on site, but the watering cans should be out in the garden and if you have any of your own gardening tools there will be plenty of weeding to keep you busy.
Hope you all have a lovely Christmas!
Andy and the OxGrow team.
As you may be able to guess from the photo above, planning for next season is now underway. Last Sunday we had a good old wander around the garden and discussed what sort of crops should go in each bed based on the rotation we began establishing last year. Responsibility for planning each bed was then divided up between the volunteers present who will put together a board like the one above for their chosen plot, so that each and every OxGrower knows exactly what needs to be done in the months to come.
We only had enough volunteers to allocate about half the beds last week, so don't worry if you weren't there, you haven't missed out. We'd like as many people as possible to be involved in this process as it's a fantastic opportunity for a bit of collaborative learning, something we're very keen on at OxGrow.
So, this Sunday we'll contiue with the planning, of course, but there are lots of other jobs still to be done. Parsnips, Jerusalem Artichokes, Leeks, Kale, Chard, Muli, Mizuna and Beetroot are all still growing in the ground, so will need some care and harvesting. Bare soil in any beds that are not being used will need to be mulched with cardboard, compost, straw, or black plastic. Salad in the polytunnel may need planting out and watering and much more, so we need as many hands as ever!
See you Sunday,
The OxGrow team
Well hello there wonderful Oxgrowers! What a week it's been- I hope everyone had a splendid thanksgivukkah! Last week's introductory session was wonderful- we had composting tips from a master composter, learnt to plant seedlings and ate some really awesome cake. It was really lovely to see so many new faces in the garden too.
This week we're going to be focusing on planning the garden for next year. The idea is that everyone will take responsibility for planning a bed or two (with a bit of help) and deciding what to plant in that bed.
See you on Sunday!
Still lots of things going on in the garden this Sunday - and we're also holding an introductory session for anyone new to the garden, or wanting to gain a few basic gardening skills - there's seedlings to plant out in the poly-tunnel, tool maintenance, pruning, what to plant for next season, crop rotation.... and lots more!
Also lots of other food and sustainable living events in Oxford over the next few weeks, see below!
In case you haven't heard about the amazing event happening in Bonn Square this coming Thursday take a look at the blurb in the section below and find out more through facebook or Abundance Oxford's Blog. Some of OxGrow's giant pumpkins will be featuring on the menu, so if you work in Oxford and can get there for your free lunch you won't want to miss out.
Last week in the garden we finally managed to get some raised beds constructed and filled with compost in the polytunnel, which is very exciting as that gives us loads of space to try our hand at a spot of winter salad.
We also had a fantastic team of leaf rakers who gathered piles and piles of leaves to cover about a quarter of the harvest festival patch and keep the soil protected over winter. Still a long way to go though, so this is something to keep ourselves busy with for the next couple of Sundays.
Other potential jobs this week include digging up more root crops, particularly parsnips and Jerusalem artichokes; building coldframes from excess plastic sheeting left behind from the polytunnel; repairing our plastic bottle greenhouse, which has taken a battering from the wind; and covering any other beds which will now remain empty for the winter.
Also, Sunday 24th is a date to put in your diary as this will be our OxGrow Introductory Session for people new to the garden. Read on below for more details and check out next week's newsletter.
Ciao for now
The OxGrow Crew
Sunday is of course always the best day of the week because that's when OxGrow happens, but this Sunday also looks like having the best weather of the week, so come down and bust those winter blues with a little time in the sun.
Above is an example of a little of the abundance we've had at OxGrow this year and we're not likely to run out any time soon. We've still got piles and piles of carrots, leeks, squashes, pumpkins, potatoes, artichokes, chard, kale, beetroot, parsnips and even some salad. If you're volunteering this week don't forget to bring a bag to take away some of the spoils.
Last week we did lots of weeding and dug over a large section of the harvest festival patch to clear and decompact the soil. We also managed to get some winter salad planted in trays which will need a little tending this week in the polytunnel.
A big job this Sunday will be raking up leaves to cover any bare soil which won't have plants in over winter, particularly on the harvest festival patch. This stops the soil being eroded and compacted by heavy rain during the winter and also prevents nutrients such as nitrogen from escaping from so they're available to our crops next year. This is a vitally important task in an organic system, so if we want a good harvest next season we'll have to start preparing for it now. Also to be done is preparing the soil in the polytunnel, so our winter salads can go out when they're big enough; building more cold frames to help give us a head start with sowing in the spring and, if we have time and enough volunteers we can start building the roof for our plastic bottle greenhouse. Plenty to keep us busy, then.
See you soon!