Your Oldham Festival

Thursday 26 July , 10am – 3pm

Oldham Town Centre.

Be inspired, get involved and have fun!

Free family activities, demonstrations and stalls with over 40 community groups, charities and local organisations coming together in a celebration of our co-operative borough.

COME ALONG AND WIN £100 in shopping vouchers, meals out at The Smokeyard, Parliament Square Café & Nandos.


For more information visit



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Failsworth Growing Hub – Open Day


Saturday 14th July , 10am-12.30pm

Come & see your local community garden .

Home made cakes , Plant sale, Face & Henna Painting , Bottle stall, Tombola, Raffle.

Find the magic bean. Grow your own sun and more

FIND US : at Failsworth Town Hall, outside of the café on the lower ground floor, alongside the canal.


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Honey bees: a taste of honey

Free workshop at The Hub, Alexandra Park

28th June, 1pm -3pm

Local beekeeper Diane Drinkwater will be sharing her knowledge and expertise of beekeeping. Join us at The Hub to find out more about:

Why honey bees are so important

How beekeepers look after bees

What we can be doing to help bees

Session will end with a tasting of local honey


For more information

Contact Hannah Williams

T: 0161 770 4067


How to find The Hub

The Hub, Alexandra Park is in the park and is accessed via a gate on Kings Road, Oldham OL8 2BH.  The gate is just along the road from Kings Road car park, next to Ability Wheelz.

To view a map visit


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Growing Tips – June


Welcome to the June edition of ‘Growing Tips’

Well what brilliant weather we had in May and let’s hope this continues into the summer months. The dry weather provided perfect conditions for creating seed beds for direct sowing.

I took advantage and sowed small batches of beetroot, peas, turnips, spring onions and lettuce to ensure that I wouldn’t be faced with a glut. I will look to sow again in another 2 weeks’ time to stagger the harvest, known as ‘successional sowing’. Another benefit of sowing this way is that should the seed or seedlings succumb to climatic conditions then not all is lost and I still have more seed to sow.

IMG_0631A straight drill is drawn in a weed free bed ready for sowing beetroot in.

Overwintered onions should be ready to harvest. They’ve had to endure some extreme conditions this year, especially at the start of March. Once the ground is cleared I will prepare it for a crop of leeks. ‘Winter Giant 3’ is the chosen variety this year of which I am reliably informed has good winter hardiness. Any weed and plant debris will be removed and the soil forked over and then raked level. A dressing of fish, blood and bone will replace the nutrients taken out by the onions.

First early potatoes should be ready towards the end of the month. The ‘Beast from the East’ may have delayed you planting so lift one plant and make a judgement as to whether you need to leave them a little longer. The plant should have finished flowering before considering lifting.

Now is the time to plant out pumpkins. They are greedy feeders so soil preparation is important. My personal preference is to dig a 2 x 2 x 2ft hole and fill it with well-rotted farm yard manure. Plant your pumpkin, add some fish, blood and bone and water in really well. Continue to water daily and feed with a liquid tomato fertiliser every two weeks once the first flowers have formed. ‘Jack O’ Lantern’ is the variety I have chosen for the kitchen and ‘Atlantic Giant’ for the largest pumpkin competition. The good thing about growing pumpkins is that the leaves are so large that they shade out any weeds.

Net any brassicas to prevent the cabbage white butterfly from laying eggs underneath the leaves. Once the caterpillars hatch they will happily munch away all day.

Happy growing,


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Woodland Discovery, Alexandra Park

If you went down to the woods in the park today you’ll have found a nice surprise…

It was great fun this morning, at the Alexandra Park Woodland Discovery Session, led by the team at Environmental Services.

Beautiful jewellery and scary creatures were made in the woodland den, and curious bugs and beasties were discovered lurking here and there.

Further Woodland Discovery sessions are planned for the school holidays.  What will you discover when you come along?

To find out more about forthcoming Woodland Discovery sessions contact:

Environmental Services, Oldham Council, Alexandra Park, Kings Road, Oldham OL8 2BH

T: 0161 770 4067



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Growing Tips – May

IMG_3721Welcome to the May edition of ‘growing tips’

May can be tricky month when growing crops. One minute it’s warm and dry with bubbly white clouds. The next it’s raining in biblical proportions. Temperatures jump around from day to day and night time temperatures can drop as low as freezing point…oh the joys of being a grower!

All you can do is keep a close eye on the local forecast and be ready to throw a fleece over young plants. Being prepared is key.

We have had some really nice days this month and this seems to have triggered the aphid population into life. I’ve noticed recently blackfly on autumn sown broad beans and greenfly on garden mint.

With the broad beans I will simply pinch out the soft growing tip where the blackfly congregates. They have reached to their optimum height and in doing so, this it won’t suppress their growth.

With the mint I shall water with a mild soap solution using a rose on a watering can. If not dealt with, aphids will start to weaken the plant, which in turn will make them susceptible to diseases. In addition aphid are carriers of many viruses which they freely transmit from plant to plant.

Weeds, if left unattended, will colonise an area and set seed for the next year. Regular hoeing helps to break the cycle and reduces the competition for light, water and nutrients.

hairy bittercrest

Hairy bittercress will soon colonise bare ground.

Now is the time to sow pumpkin and courgette seeds. One seed per one three and half inch pot will suffice. Once germinated their rate of growth is rapid. Remember to place the seed on its edge to prevent it rotting. By the time they’re ready for planting out, all threats of frosts should have gone.

Salad leaves are a great supplement to any meal, therefore a regular supply is ideal. Different seed companies have their own mix but generally they consist of mizuna, salad rocket, red mustard, baby beetroot leaves, baby spinach and corn salad. Treat as ‘cut and come again’ and remove individual leaves as and when required. These can be grown on a light windowsill where they are easily accessible to harvest.

Climbing French beans, dwarf French beans and runner beans need to be sown this month. Direct sow into their final position, or if susceptible to mice or slugs, sow in pots in the greenhouse and plant out when large enough.


Runner bean seeds saved from last years crop

If you use a watering can try to get into the habit of filling it back up again for next time. Leave them in your greenhouse where the water will warm up. When you need to water again the water will be tepid and won’t shock young seedlings.

watering can

Watering can with a rose on the end of the spout

Now is the time to earth up those first early potatoes. I like to apply a granular feed beforehand, such a grow-more and then draw the soil up around the hulme. I know then that the fertiliser is getting to where the plant needs it.

Happy growing,


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Fancy learning a bit of DIY?

…then pop along to Lees Eco Park.

There will be a free community DIY course run by Oldham Lifelong Learning at #LeesParkECOhub , Kingsley Drive , this Friday – 18th May , 1-3pm.

All Welcome

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Gardening and mental wellbeing workshop Thursday 17th May 1-3pm

How does gardening affect our mental wellbeing?

Find out more about gardening as a health tonic at a workshop at The Hub, Alexandra Park where many participants report improvements to their mental wellbeing having attended sessions.


The session will be led by Lee Birchenough and Nic Holliday from the Community Occupation and Support Team at Maple House and will explore how and why gardening benefits our mental wellbeing.

The Hub, Alexandra Park is located between the park depot and the carpark on Kings Road. Access is via the gate on Kings Road just along from the car park.

For more information contact Hannah Williams on 0161 770 4067 or

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A great Spring Open Day at The Hub

Gallery from the Spring Open Day at The Hub. Thanks to all who made it a great day.




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Spring Open Day at The Hub

Spring at the Hub 2018 - A5

A range of free activities for all

  • Print your own bag
  • Enjoy food cooked outdoors
  • Face painting
  • Magic potion making
  • Make a monster cress head
  • Meet an owl
  • Outdoor fun in the park
  • Plant a sunflower




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