Archive for the ‘Allotments’ category

Got into the garden yet?

February 13th, 2014

Between the floods still clustering along the Windrush, and the sleet hanging menacingly in the air, you might not feel ready to begin a season’s gardening. But, trust me: spring is just round the corner. If you’re thinking of growing your own this year or even next, then a few small jobs completed in the next month or two could reap big rewards.

If you’ve got an allotment, you probably already have a list of tasks as long as your arm that you know your have to tackle. There are plenty of non-growing tasks, although the local garden centres (usually so keen to hurry onto the next season) don’t have much in the way of spring supplies in yet: trust me, I’ve tried! But you can also already start planting hardy veg like carrots, and broad beans, and even kick off your leafy greens, tomatoes and herbs indoors: have a look at sites like for more ideas, and don’t forget that past editions of Gardeners Question Time are available in perpetuity!

If you don’t have an allotment, or indeed much existing space to grow your own, you’ve still got time to build a square-metre raised bed from waste wood (the best garden investment I ever made.) And if that doesn’t suit, then Edible Gardens meet every second Monday of each month in the coffee bar of the Methodist Church on the High Street. They’re a local group who aim to help bring grow-your-own to everyone, with a public veg bed project in the town centre alongside the flowers, and plenty off ideas about how you might, say, share growing space with someone, in return for helping out with digging….

Finally, don’t forget that this Saturday is the pre-season volunteer open day at Cogges. Along with 2014’s first volunteer-run “Big Dig” in the Victorian kitchen garden, there’ll also be an opportunity to chat to existing volunteers from all areas of the farm museum. There’s no better way to learn gardener’s lore or essential skills than by actually gardening, alongside other gardeners, and hearing what they have to say. When you do decide to take the leap and grow your own, a stint helping out at Cogges might give you the edge in that first season!

After all, they might say the best gardening is done with pen and paper in the kitchen; but surely the best result is to have managed, all by yourself, to put food on your plate for next to nothing. 2014 could be your year for doing just that.

Edible Gardens’ Grow Your Own Veg: workshop in April

March 24th, 2013

Edible Gardens are running a free workshop to help you get started with growing your own veg, on Thursday 18 April, 3.15 – 4.30pm at Witney Community Primary School, Hailey Road. Although it’s free you should book your place before Monday 8 April.

Once you’re booked on the workshop, you’ll find out how to grow food to eat this year: you can

  • sow some seeds to grow your own beans, beetroot, courgettes and peas
  • start off salad leaves
  • pot up tomato seedlings
  • learn how to grow spuds and carrots
  • get some ideas about cooking what you grow
  • ask questions and we’ll try to answer them

and take away all you’ve done free of charge!

To book by Monday 8 April, fill in this form and then you can either:

  • Email it to
  • Print it and post it to The Active Communities Team, Cottsway House, Heynes Place, Avenue Two, Witney, OX28 4YG
  • or call 0800 8 766 366

If you need more information or have any queries, then get in touch with the Active Communities Team at Cottsway via email or ring them free of charge on the number above.

Witney Allotments Assoc AGM – Cogges

May 1st, 2012

Tuesday 1st May, 7:30pm, Cogges Manor Farm.

More info here at the Witney Allotments Association website…

Meeting: Local Food – Cogges Farm

October 19th, 2011

Meeting of local environmental groups at the Cogges Farm Museum Cafe to discuss food projects. This Thursday, 20th Oct, 7:30pm.

(Apologies for the late notice)


Pesky Pest Protection

May 12th, 2011

Here’s the first version of my Brassica Cage. It’s based on Brenda’s description from March’s Edible Gardens meeting – a frame of tennis balls from the pound shop and bamboo canes.

I didn’t go for the scaffold netting on ebay that Andy recommended in the end. It’s a lot cheaper but I wanted a width quite a bit greater than 2m to match the 4ft canes. So instead I splashed out on a roll of 3.6m Enviromesh which is just about ideal.

I’m looking forward to getting a decent helping of calabrese this year – ahead of the pigeons and the caterpillars for a change 😮

Growing Your Own

February 27th, 2011

Yesterday’s meeting of the Edible Gardens group was a timely reminder that we’re getting very close to all systems go in the garden and on the allotment. And while the grown-ups were busy talking vegetables, the children worked on the marketing.

Looking at my notebook it went something like this…

» Read more: Growing Your Own

Dig for Victory

January 21st, 2011

I couldn’t resist recycling this old newsreel – it is Friday afternoon after all.

And it is about time I gave some thought to planning this year’s growth on the allotment. But if that film hasn’t got you fired up for digging, I lifted this from the NEF blog

“If your fingers are green enough, growing your own vegetables could save you around £1,500 a year, according to new research by the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners. The study priced the amount of food grown by gardeners at cheapest supermarket costs. (Hat tip to Rob Hopkins)”

Allotment News

December 21st, 2010

The only thing likely to be occurring on the allotments this week is the picking of brussel sprouts for Christmas dinner! However, the Witney Allotment Association has the following news for its members:

“The result of the recent ballot proposing that the association enter into negotiations with the council to take over administration of the sites was as follows;

44 for, 11 against.

80% of those who voted were in favour.

The committee have met since the ballot and it has been agreed that they will meet with council representatives early in the New Year to renew discussions. We will keep you posted as more information becomes available.”