Autumn fun for all at The Hub Open Day

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Growing Tips – September









Welcome to the September edition of ‘growing tips’.


Early autumn is probably my favourite time of year. It’s when life becomes a little less hectic on the plot and thoughts start turning to another chapter in the growing year.

Days are getting shorter as the sun stays lower in the sky. Crops growing in the greenhouse will benefit from the removal of shading which over the last few months has helped prevent them from scorching.

Start getting into the habit of closing the greenhouse door at night to keep the warmth in and open again in the morning.

Help your tomatoes to ripen by removing the leaves from the lower half of the plant. Harvest any ripe fruit immediately so that the plant channels all its energy to the un-ripened fruit. Leave the stalk on the tomato as this helps to store them longer.








You can assist the plant by leaving a ripe banana on the soil surface or next to those which have fallen off the plant. Ethylene gas given off by the banana will accelerate the ripening process.

bananas ripening toms

Broad beans will have finished cropping now. Remove all what is above ground to the compost heap but keep the roots in situ as the nodules which grow on them add nitrogen back in to the soil.

Wasps aren’t everyone’s favourite and can be annoying. Feasting on fruit they tend to have a short fuse around this time of year. However, they are a key contributor in keeping the caterpillar population in check. So next year if you come across a nest and it’s not inconveniencing anyone, keep away and leave it alone.


Strawberry beds need replacing every three years if you wish to maintain a healthy, disease free bed. Re-stocking doesn’t have to be a costly exercise as new plants can be propagated by pegging the tips of the runners into a pot of fresh compost. Once rooted, cut from the mother plant and care for until planting out in spring.

strawberry plants

For beds in their first and second year of growth now is the time to cut off anything over 4cm above ground level. This means leafs and runners. These should be burnt along with any straw mulch to destroy any fungal spores. Any aphids left lurking will hopefully succumb to frosts.

Main crop potatoes will be ready for harvesting now. Make life easy for yourself by cutting the stems and leaves off (hulms) to within 15 cm of the ground. With the hulms out of the way the task of lifting the tubers will be made a lot easier. I prefer to wait for a dry day before starting to fork through the soil.  Start away from the plant than you would expect the potatoes to be. The reason for this is that it reduces the chances of stabbing them.

Happy growing,


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Its FREE today! Come along to Alexandra Park

Join us at The Hub for bruschetta, ratatouille and jacket potatoes…

Your Oldham Alexandra Park

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Free fun for everyone to enjoy around Alexandra Park

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Where is Hack Oldham?

Just had a query asking where is HACK Oldham? It’s at 38-44 Yorkshire St, Oldham , OL1 1SE . Hope to see you there tomorrow.

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Funded with Food

Come join us tomorrow -Wednesday 6th September at HACK Oldham.

Food served from 6pm, pitches start at 7pm


Funded with Food

Funding Oldham’s ideas, one plate at a time.

Got a brilliant idea for you, your community or for Oldham?

If so our next “Funded with Food” event at Hack Oldham could invest in your idea!

“Funded with Food” is a crowdfunding event with a difference, aimed at local people with local ideas and funded by the community itself it awards at least £250 in cash to one brilliant idea at each month.

There’s no complicated forms, or long-winded process, all you need to do to apply is fill in the simple form on the right, 4 applicant’s will be selected at random and invited to share their idea, you will have 4 minutes to present what you want to do to the audience by whatever means works for you, a speech, a power point presentation, or even an interpretive dance.

Want to invest in local people with local ideas?

Not got an idea but still want to be part of something great? Come along on the night, make a minimum donation of £5 on the door, and you’ll be entertained, fed delicious food by the fantastic people at Real Junk Food Oldham and get to vote for whichever idea you think is best.

Best of all, every penny raised on the door goes to the most popular idea. So if 50 people donate £5 then the winner that night walks away with £250, if they donated £10 the winner gets £500 and so on.


Get involved.


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Your Green Oldham ( part of the Your Oldham Festival)

Thursday 7th September 10.30am – 4.30pm, free

Visit the Old Town Hall for a day of exhibitions and presentations celebrating Oldham’s environment and green spaces. Find out about local green projects and activities such as cycling and walking in Oldham and listen to inspiring talks about our canals , unusual wildlife and much more. Meet staff from Get Oldham Growing and the Council’s environmental services .

Old Town Hall, Parliament Square, Oldham, OL1 1QN.

At Alexandra Park learn about growing fresh fruit and veg and be inspired by volunteer stories. Enjoy a clay oven jacket potato , plant a herb to keep and more fun activities.

Alexandra Park, Oldham , OL8 2BN.

A regular minibus and waling buses will run between the two venues throughout the day.

To book tickets for the YOUR Green Oldham talks visit

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Prince’s Trust Team Programme

HEY YOU, YES YOU!! ARE YOU AGED 16-25? ARE YOU UNEMPLOYED, OUT OF EDUCATION OR TRAINING AND LOOKING FOR A WAY TO KICK START YOUR NEXT CHAPTER IN LIFE? Why not join the next Prince’s Trust Team Programme starting in Oldham? Groundwork Prince’s Trust Team Programme is a 12 week self development programme for unemployed 16-25 year olds. The 12 weeks include a FREE 4 Day Team Building Residential, a 2 WEEK work Placement, First Aid At Work Level 2 and Defibrillator Training and a FREE weekly bus pass and in most cases benefits aren’t affected. The Prince’s Trust Team Programme is a great way to improve your key skills such as; CONFIDENCE, COMMUNICATION, WORKING WITH OTHERS, LEADERSHIP SKILLS and lots and lots more. The next Team due to start in Oldham is on Monday 2nd October, with an Open/Registration Day held on Wednesday 27th September at 1pm, based at Groundwork Environment Centre, Shaw Road, OL1 4AW. If you are interested or would like to find out more information please feel free to direct message me, ring or text me on 07921809108 or email me on . Alternatively you can get in touch with Team Leader Joanne Shaw through her Facebook Jo Jellyfish Shaw or text or call her on 07739978791 or via email at GET YOUR FUTURE STARTED TODAY AS 3 IN 4 PEOPLE THAT TAKE PART IN PRINCE’S TRUST COURSES MOVE ONTO WORK, EDUCATION OR SOME OTHER FORM OF TRAINING.

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Growing Tips – August.

IMG_3721Welcome to the latest edition of growing tips.

Now is the time to look out for the silk tassels on the sweet corn turning brown. As soon as this happens you know they are ready to harvest. There’s no better taste than a freshly picked cob which has been steamed or barbecued. The sooner you eat them after harvesting the sweeter they taste

.sweetcorn ripe

All this harvesting will be generating lots of material for the compost heap. A good heap should not smell and should contain equal amounts of ‘greens’ (grass clippings, annual weeds, vegetable waste etc)  and ‘browns’ (prunings, manure, paper, straw or dead leaves etc) In order for the decomposition to take place there is a requirement for oxygen, so every 6 weeks the heap will require turning. Not the easiest of jobs but one which will reward you with an excellent addition to your soil. Your compost is ready when looks a rich, brown and crumbly with a good earthy smell.

Chillies will crop throughout the summer if you pick them little and often. They can be eaten fresh, dried or pickled. For those that I don’t eat fresh I like to simply thread them onto a string and hang them up to dry.


Lift onions and shallots and allow them to dry out thoroughly before storing. String bags from the green grocers are perfect for keeping them in.


If your freezer is bulging with climbing beans and you cannot face eating any more, simply leave the pods on the plant. Allow the pods to mature until they turn papery brown and crispy. Give the pod a shake and if you can hear the beans rattling inside they are ready for picking. Beans can be kept in a brown envelope until next year for sowing or kept in a jar and used in stews. You will find the bean plant will stop cropping once you leave the pods on.

dried beans

After harvesting it may not be convenient or practical to replant immediately. As your soil is integral to the quality of crop produced, it needs as much loving attention and nurturing as the plants it has just supported. Bare soils are most vulnerable when exposed to the elements. Wind can lead to erosion, heavy rain will leach nutrients and pan the surface and before you know it you are supporting a crop of chickweed and groundsel. One way to combat this is to sow what is known as a cover crop or green manure. This is a quick germinating seed mixture available from most seed companies which when broadcast sown over your plot will quickly germinate and cover bare soil. The foliage helps to smother weed seedlings and the roots bond soil particles together. Around 3 – 4 weeks before the plot is required simply dig in the green manure which will improve the soil structure, increases organic matter and increases soil fertility.

green manure

Happy growing,


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First Annual Flower and Vegetable Show – Sholver

Come along to the first annual flower & vegetable show organised by the Sholver & Moorside Community team on Saturday 19th August , 2-5pm at the Sholver & Moorside Community Hub, Sholver Lane. For further details please contact the group via their website or their Facebook page.

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