Dear established and emerging gardeners,
We're glad to have been joined by 18 beetroot ethusiasts on Wednesday night. Abundance Oxford and friends brewed many a tasty treat (photos below; recipes attached). Thanks for the company and skill-sharing. We look forward to seeing many of you back in the garden.
In order to keep pace with the bountiful and varied produce in the garden, we've created a map of the crops growing at OxGrow. Thanks to Damion Young and his online programme, Allotmentor, we've been able to electronicise this map for wider dissemination. Check it out ('Satellite' mode is our favourite; the Diary function is also interesting) and let us know what you think (click image):
As usual, we'll have another work party this Sunday 20th July from 1:00-4:00pm. Stick around afterwards if you'd like to hear and/or contribute ideas about upcoming events in the space. (If you look at the electronic map, you'll see we have a lot of cabbage and squash to put to use.) We'll also meet on Wednesday 23rd July from 6:00pm-sundown. We'll close the workday with a cup of tea over another hypnotic sunset. OxGrow will provide teas, biscuits, and trail mix--feel free to try out your latest tiffin recipe, berry crumble, cracker & dip combo, etc. on volunteers. I'm sure they'll be glad to sample :)
Until the weekend,
Team OxGrow wishes ya the best.
Dot and Dom coordinate the beetroot chopping table
Participants and their valued beetroot conconctions (relish, soup, stewed stalks, Indian curry fusions...). From left to right: Jak, David, Min, Dom, Dot, Nico, Merlin, Kelsi, and Owen.
Oh what a night. (<-- Classic tune to escort you onto your next email.)
T minus 20 hours until we reunite at OxGrow!
Good afternoon, OxGrowers.
We'll reconvene in the garden tomorrow beginning 1pm. We've lots of work ahead to build momentum and keep those veggies growing. We'll be joined by a group of the University's Truman Scholars who will help as we continue to:  map out the plants that we're growing in various beds (the electronic version will be ready to launch next week);  manicure the plots (weeding, mowing, and watering); and  harvest a load of veg to take home and enjoy.
We'll also be preparing for a beetroot pickling workshop that will take place this coming Wednesday 16th at 6pm, generously led by Dot, Becky, and other members of Abudance Oxford. They advise that you'll want to bring along an apron/clothes that you don't mind tie-dying red, medium/large jars to preserve your creation, and any ingerdients that you might be interested in experimenting with (we'll provide all of the essentials). NB, the session will run in parallel to our regular OxGrow activities that evening - you're welcome to participate in both.
A quick maintenance note for students: If your university email address is set to expire soon and you'd like to remain in contact with OxGrow, please re-register your permanent email account here.
Looking forward to seeing those of you who are able to make it down. Enjoy some photos from last Wednesday's beautiful session in the garden!
Your OxGrow team
Volunteers brainstorm potential projects for the coming weeks. (Photo cred: Madeleine Ballard)
Min saves the day, fixing the shredded lawn mower cord.
Judy and Owen tend a patch of leafy greens.
A beautiful sundown signifies the end of the work day.
OxGrow session this Wednesday, 6pm-sundown
Just a quick note to say that we will be in the garden this Wednesday from 6pm onward.
We'll be  maintaining the Harvest Patch - led by Judy,  fixing the lawn mower and taming the grass - led by Andonis,  putting together a (soon-to-be online accessible) diagram of the garden, charting what's growing where,  and planning a few events in the coming weeks (e.g., beet pickling workshop, composting workshop, a gazebo raising, and more).
We also plan to harvest some fruit and veg to send home with volunteers, incuding: Peas, onions, strawberries, kolrabi, beetroot, mint, thyme and other herbs, and mixed greens. Help us put it all to good use!
Looking forward to seeing some of you down there. As usual - please do bring a friend and let us know if you have any ideas for expanding OxGrow's engagement with the wider Oxford community. I'll leave you with a couple of pictures from last Sunday's session (attached below).
All the best,
Franky, Jack, Claudia, and Becky harvesting greens, 6 July.
Madeleine prepares the soil to plant squash, 6 July.
Happy end of the week to you all!
Great thanks for all of those that came down to the garden this Wednesday. We're making forward progress to a healthy and bountiful garden (picture below).
As ever, we will have another session this Sunday but at earlier hours! Dhruva, Judy, Andonis and others will be in the garden beginning 10am in order that we can head to the Cowley Road Carnival in the early afternoon. So if you're up for it, come get your hands dirty in the morning and twist-and-shout in the afternoon to the tune of live performances throughout East Oxford.
As OxGrow is resource strapped (financially, anyways), we're introducing a "Wish List" to newsletters for new/used material items and services that would benefit our collective work. Should you be able to help out–as either a gift or a loan– we'd be greatly appreciative. Reply to this email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any leads.
1. Rolls of plastic (compostable!?) produce bags to pack up veg for volunteers at the end of the day
2. A petrol grass strimmer
3. A sythe or some other type of blade to cut back thistles
4. A long (20+ metre) hose
5. A medium-large blackboard or whiteboard
6. Service: An OxGrow'er has offered to donate his used, dissembled poly tunnel. It's all ours if we're able to pick it up from Abingdon. Is anyone able to lend their vehicle for the day and drive out with us to pick up?
That'll do it for now. We hope to see many of you (whether you've gardened before or not) on Sunday at 10am. Bring a friend and a mug for a cup of tea!
All the best,
N.B. We'll also be active next Wednesday 9 July from 6pm-sundown, if you're able xx
Mixed greens ready to be harvested. 2 July 2014
We'll be having an Oxgrow meeting down in the garden on Wednesday at 6PM. All are welcome! Bring ideas, enthusiasm and feedback on how the garden has been working this year. And, if you can't make it, email any thoughts/ suggestions/ comments to email@example.com.
See ya there,
Wowza. What a week Oxgrow has had! Check out the press coverage of the garden here and here. Awesome writing from Doireann!
The crops are growing, and the garden is thriving. Come along to a work party to share in the bounty (ohmydayzz we have so much salad).
We need to meet! And soon! Please fill in your timing preferences on the poll.
Other than that, check out the notices below, and then come on down to Oxgrow for super big fun adventure.
Have a fun and fruity week
Bonjour. Hola. Guten Morgen. Rimaykullayki (that's hello in Quechua in case you were unsure).
SO MANY GOOD THINGS TODAY
1. It's Saturday. Yes. Really. True say.
2. All things being true in premise 1, this means that Oxgrow is TOMORROW. Wowza.
3. That's enough good things for now. We don't want to over do it.
It's summer, it's June, there's sunshine, the garden is thriving like a beautiful rainforest at the height of the rainforest season (which may indeed be all year round, I have little knowledge of rainforests). Get yo fine self down to Oxgrow tomorrow for FIRST HAND EXPERIENCE of Oxford's only (unofficial) rainforest.
In other news, it's low carbon Oxford week. Hooo-rahh. Basically, this is a big party, with big fun, big activities, and low carbon. This is all good, we all love party (some of us are feeling like we love party a little too much right now), we all dislike high carbon. Low carbon week- how could it not be AMAAAZING. It's great. More details of the big fun, low-carbon-high-party week below.
ALSO, RIGHT NOW (well, not right now, in a short number of hours) GOOD FOOD OXFORD is a-launching. And to celebrate the rocket of good food being blasted ceremonially into the etha of sustainable and local food, there is a LAUNCH EVENT. In Bonn Sq, from 10AM. It gonna be wild (not least because I'll be there. JOKE)
Back to Oxgrow. Tomorrow at Oxgrow, to be more precise. WEAR LONG TROUSERS. I am being serious (I know, waat?). Cos there are some horrible bitey insects down at our rainforest, and also nettles flank the path to our water source. Oh, woe is us. But actually, it's not real hardship or anything, so pull it together troops.
All that remains is to highlight the NEW DEVELOPMENTS in the correlation/ causation debate.
The take-away point? Don't use bedsheets.
That's all from me, for now. Other than to say, it's good to be back. All yo' inboxes gonna be bright and sparky from here on out.
Meet you in the rainforest by the big tree.
P.S. Lots of notices, I know. But also, a reward at the end! Trust me, it's good.
P.P.S. An unintended consequence of exam procrastination has been the revival of the Oxgrow twitter account. Follow for garden updates @Oxgrow
National Dish of Columbia: bandeja paisa
Andy W (Oxgrow guru, world traveller and fan of vegetables) tells us that whilst he and Brittany are (almost) TV stars in Colombia, vegetables are difficult to find. Andy's now growing his own on his roof-top terrance in downtown Bogota, but has recently been down at Oxgrow, getting his fix of salad leaves and cabbage planting!
that's already 3 items of good news for tomorrow, so we hope to see lots of you down at Oxgrow for our regular work party , 1-4pm as usual.
I've been away in Switzerland for 3 weeks, where allotments look like this :
......they might have mountains, but they don't have an onsite cafe! SO i'm looking forward to seeing what's been happening at Oxgrow whilst I've been away
see below for more food and environmental events in the Oxford area over the next week...
Oh my, what a week it has been! Garlic has sprouted, three (yes, that's right, three) different types of beetroot have been planted and reports just in that one of our number spent twelve consecutive hours wearing a bicycle helmet. Doesn't get wilder than that, folks!
And now, a treat for you all- the story of a (not entirely) real life Oxgrower: The Legend of Horace
Horace was just an Average Guy. Then Horace came to Oxgrow. After coming to Oxgrow, Horace became Awesome. (Caveat: the two may not be related. Correlation, after all, does not equal causation. But I wouldn't risk it if I were you...)
And finally, tomorrow is 'World Naked Gardening Day'. Oxgrow with a twist, anyone?
See ya on Sunday (hopefully fully clothed...)
P.S. Remember, Wednesday evening sessions are BACK ON. 5:30PM
A gazelle stands, munching a particularly delectable fig. This is a fine specimen of a gazelle. She is very shiny. As you envisage this beautiful gazelle leaping across the semiarid Central Asian steppes of Mongolia, imagine you too are a gazelle, leaping your way across the plains of Folly Bridge and traversing the savannahs of Grandpont, headed with great purpose and enthusiasm toward the oasis of Oxgrow.
On Sunday, allow your inner gazelle to shine forth. Leap and bound towards The Land. We can promise Big Fun, and Bigger Vegetables. Other things we can promise include, but are not limited to, sowing, planting, compost transportation, and Big Fun (I know I've already said this, but the Fun is going to be so Big it's worth mentioning TWICE).
We can provide gloves, but it may be necessary to Bring Your Own Sunshine.
See below for other Big Fun.
Keep it real, remember to hydrate, and whatever you do, don't forget your socks.
Oh joyous day! The sun doth shine, the plants doth grow, and on Sunday we'll be back in the garden. And, at the risk of overwhelming you all with the SHEER VOLUME of merry news, word on the street is that the Easter Bunny is going to come a-visiting.
Plants will be planted, seeds will be sown and eggs will be hunted. As always, 1-4PM.
See you down there chickens!
P.S. No notices this week. But this is funny. And also great.
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.