Coming up at The Hub…

Thursday 30 November 1pm – 3pm

It’s National Tree Week! Join us for a tree planting demonstration and practical session in Alexandra Park. Meet at The Hub. Wear clothing and footwear suitable for a wet and muddy activity.

 

Saturday 2 December 10am – 12pm

The Hub Explorers will be firing up the oven to cook popcorn this week. Come along to hear the kernels pop and enjoy the amazing freshly cooked taste.

 

Monday 4 December 1.30pm – 3.30pm

Join Greenspace officer Matt Suett and the team for a community growing session.

 

Wednesday 6 December 10am – 12pm

Get warm around the fire this week. Have you ever made homemade popcorn? Come along and try this healthy snack with friends while we cook up food to share on the outdoor oven.

 

Thursday 7 December 1pm – 3pm

Artist Jacqui Symons will be at The Hub this week showing you how to make block print winter designs. Have a go at making cards or gift tags.

 

Saturday 9 December 10am – 12pm

Hub Explorers – Join Health Ambassador Alan Keane this week for winter fun in the park.

 

Monday 11 December 1.30pm – 3.30pm

There are still gardening tasks to keep you warm inside or out so come along and join Matt and the team for a community growing session.

 

Wednesday 13 December 10am – 12pm

We will be celebrating the year with friends old and new. Join us for a ‘bring and share’ party with lots of festive fun.

Thursday 14 December 1pm – 3pm

This is the final community session of 2017 when we will be completing any final tasks to tidy and close up The Hub for the winter break.

 

Saturday 16 December 10am – 12pm

Hub Explorers end of year celebration. Come and join the team for food, games and festive fun.

 

Saturday 16 December 12pm

Hub closes for the winter break.

 

Saturday 6 January 10am

The Hub will re-open for Hub Explorers Session.

  • Mondays 1.30-3.30pm: Community Growing Sessions
  • Wednesdays 10-12pm: Community Growing Sessions
  • Thursdays 1-3pm: Workshops
  • Saturdays 10am – 12pm: Hub Explorers
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Growing Tips – November

IMG_3721Welcome to Novembers edition of Growing Tips.

It’s time to don the woolly hat and dig out that old gardening jumper as the days are starting to get chilly. There’s not much fun being cold so dress appropriately and your time outside will be far more enjoyable.

Certain crops come to the fore at this time of year and some even taste better after a period of frost. Swedes, winter cabbage, carrots, leeks, parsnips, cauliflower, kale and sprouts are but a few which can be found growing on allotment sites the width and breadth of the country. Should the forecasters predict a long period of frosty weather then think about lifting those root crops you know you are about to use. Trying to break through topsoil which resembles the density of tarmac is not much fun.

Now is the time to rejuvenate the rhubarb patch especially if yields have not been good. Rhubarb can be propagated in one of two ways, either division or seed. The easiest and quickest way is division which also ensures your plant will be identical to its parent. It’s good practice to divide up your rhubarb crown about every five years.

dividing rhubarb

Using a spade lift the crown and remove any lingering dead stems and leaves. Cut the crown into sections ensuring you have a good portion of root and at least one healthy growing point. Always take sections from around the edge of the crown as they will have more vigour than the older central part.

rhubarb division

Choose a site that is well-drained and preferably in full sunlight. Remove any weed and add well-rotted farm yard manure to improve structure and fertility. Plant the new crowns 15cm deep so the buds are just beneath the surface. Firm the plant into its new surroundings to prevent frost heave. From May onward the plant will start producing large green leaves on pinky-red stems. Don’t be in any hurry to start harvesting these. Allow the plant to establish itself and to build up energy in its crown.

If conditions allow, start off a runner bean trench by digging down 30-45cm and heaping the soil to one side. Break up the bottom of the trench with a fork and over the winter months fill the trench with vegetable peelings. After every layer of peelings, cover lightly with some of the removed soil.

bean trench

Eventually you will reach the top of your trench. Being greedy feeders they relish a deeply dug trench with plenty of well-rotted organic matter. It adds nutrients to the soil and help to retain valuable moisture. You can also do this for courgette and pumpkins.

Happy growing,

Matt

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Growing Tips-October

IMG_3721Welcome to Octobers edition of ‘growing tips’

We have been well and truly battered by the first storms of autumn lately. Any apples which were left clinging on will surly have parted company with the tree and unless cooked or eaten straight away will not store over the winter. Only firm and unblemished apples should be stored. Any bruised or damaged fruits are likely to go mouldy.  I wrap each apple I want to store in newspaper and place in a wooden veg crate, the sort you see fruit and veg displayed in. Make sure the apples don’t touch each other as one rotten apple can spoil the whole store. Stack the crates in a cool frost free environment and check weekly for any which start to rot, remove these immediately. One other point, if storing in an outhouse keep a lookout for rodent damage.

wooden trays

Wooden crates are ideal for storing a range of fruit and vegetables in.

Wind will also rock sprouts plants if they are not staked properly. The top heavy nature of the plant naturally causes them to sway. A good stout stick will stop this from happening and ensure there are no disasters.

Sprouts and other brassicas are susceptible at this time of year to cabbage whitefly.  They will continue to infest plants through autumn and into winter unless treated. There are various chemicals on the market to deal with them; however, an organic treatment is to boil up cloves of garlic in a pan, leave it to cool and to spray the leaves with the solution. You won’t gain many friends but it should deter the whitefly.

Remove any yellowing leaves from brassicas as leaving them to rot will encourage grey mould.

There’s still time to sow greenhouse salads. Mizuna, salad burnet, winter purslane and Winter gem lettuce will all germinate. They will be slow to grow but will provide you with fresh greens. Don’t over water and ventilate to allow air movement periodically.

Glasshouse salads are also fair game to aphids and need to be controlled. Spray with a solution of water and washing up liquid. If left they will weaken the plant and it will become susceptible to various diseases.

aphids on salads

Aphids on young cabbage leaves.

Leaves are in abundance at the moment. Don’t forget to remove them from the greenhouse gutter and cover any open water butts with netting. Add them to the compost heap as they are a good source of carbon.

Pumpkins and autumn go hand in hand. If you’ve grown one for eating or even carving keep the seeds and roast them in a hot oven for 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle some celery salt and enjoy. Whatever you do don’t throw any seed onto the compost heap as they are a sure way of attracting rats!

Happy growing.

Matt

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Fabulous Open Day

Fabulous turn out at The Hub Open Day last Saturday!

Thank you to everyone who joined us – it stayed dry for the session despite the terrible weather before and after.

Pumpkins were carved, soup was supped, faces were painted, hands were decorated, feathered friends were met, the park was walked Nordic style, Oldham’s Great Outdoors was discovered via the A-Z, bulbs were planted, crowns were made and worn with pride – fun was had by all.

 

 

 

 

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Autumn fun for all at The Hub Open Day

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Growing Tips – September

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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.

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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.

wasp

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,

Matt

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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.

RJFO

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