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!
Oh my pumpkins, it's November already! Despite the onset of winter, there's still plenty to do in the garden. We had a busy week last week clearing the harvest beds, turning the mountains of compost and eating lots of delicious cake, and the fun is set to continue this week as we plant winter crops and think up wonderful things with which to fill the polytunnel. Plus, today is the Corpus Christi environment fair AND the CAG skillshare, both of which promise to be fun filled and informative events. Have a beautiful day!
Think there's nothing going on at Oxgrow now that we've had the Harvest Festival and Apple Day ?
This is when we prepare the beds for winter, and think about what we might plant next year.
So if you're new to gardening, this is a good time to come down and see how the whole process happens.....we've listed some ideas below.
If you're an expert gardener, we also want your input! Come down and make your suggestions as to what you'd like to see growing in the garden and polytunnel next season.
...and although we're sorry not to see our Hogroast cafe volunteers every Sunday, this means we can show off our cake baking skills (?!), and squat the pavillion during rainy spells. Tea and cakes will be on offer this Sunday for anyone volunteering in the garden!
There's still plenty of produce to be harvested and shared out down at Oxgrow (squash, onions, beetroot, salad, chard, Jersulam artichokes...) and of course lots of work to do to prepare the now nearly empty HARVEST FESTIVAL BED for winter, so we'll be having our regular work party from 1pm til 4pm.
We will also be planting a few winter crops, weeding beds so they don't get overgrown over winter, sowing seeds in the polytunnel, checking our tools are in good order, and planning for what we can grow next year. If you'd like to find out more, make suggestions about what to grow next year, or learn about aspects of gardening, come down and talk to us, and meet other friendly volunteers...
...and there'll be a whole team of people from Abundance and Hogacre celebrating Apple Day, so please come and join in!
Sorry about the extra email this week, but there is an opportunity coming up in a couple of weeks that we thought you should all be made aware of:
CAG Skill Share
Saturday 2 November
The School of Geography and the Environment, South Parks Rd, Oxford
£5 per head (for refreshments, lunch and wine)
CAG stands for the Community Action Group Network and, as their name suggests they are a support network for voluntary community groups around the county, mainly with an environmental focus. We've been a member of the network for just over two years and as such our volunteers can access fantastic learning opportunities like the one above.
Don't worry if you're new to OxGrow, or if you've only just arrived in Oxford and haven't been able to make it along yet. If you're on our mailing list you qualify as a member of the group, so take a look at the attached list of workshops being provided at this event and let us know if there are any you would like to attend BY THIS SUNDAY, THE 20TH. Pick as many workshops as you like as the schedule is still being arranged, so sessions will be organized around demand.
All the best
The OxGrow team
A tantalising glimpse of what we've been harvesting this week...
Hello one and all,
We extend a particularly warm welcome to all those who joined our mailing list at the freshers’ fair and offer an invitation to sample the delights of our community garden at this Sunday's Harvest Festival!
The photo above gives small taster of what's been harvested so far, ready to be served up as part of a monumental feast in celebration of all our achievements this year.
The festivities get started at 12pm with music, games, crafts, local beer, apple pressing, peddle powered smoothie making, tea, coffee, cakes and of course loads of freshly prepared OxGrow produce. Directions can be found here or watch the video of how to find us here
Lunch is at no charge, but donations to cover costs and support our project would be most appreciated and we recommended you have a bit of cash for drinks and cakes. Otherwise, all you need to bring is yourself and a big appetite!
If you happen to have a fruit tree or two in your garden Abundance will be there pressing apples and pears, so any surplus you might have would be more than welcome. Bring a few bottles with screw top caps and take away some of your very own juice.
New people can find us on facebook here or follow us on twitter
See you Sunday!
The OxGrow Team
Q: Which of these fruits could you soon be seeing down at Oxgrow?
A: All three if we get our polytunnel finished!
just the doors to put on, so come and help us out this Sunday during our regular work party from 1pm to 4pm
There's still lots of produce to harvest (salad, purple French beans, yellow courgettes, squash, beetroot, chard, carrots...)
and we've been sowing clover, mustard and Hungarian rye. These 'green manure' plants stay in over winter, improve soil structure, add nutrients and suppress weeds... hopefully saving us a lot of work next Spring.
Despite the days getting steadily shorter, we're still enjoying the autumn sunshine, and getting ready for the Harvest Festival on Sunday 13th October.
Read on for ways you can help us to make the festival a success: