Sunday, 31 October 2010

Dig In Pumpkin Festival 2010

Just back from a wonderful Pumpkin Festival at Dig In. We were incredibly lucky with the weather, and even luckier with the number of fantastically artistic people who volunteered to help us carve pumpkins to decorate the site and who cooked fabulous pumpkin-based food for the event. Dave, our pumpkin poet last year, visited us again to provide another brilliant poem, this one with its own dance, and Pulp Friction provided us with non-stop hot pumpkin soup.

Thank you to everyone who volunteered both beforehand and on the day - it made a huge difference to be able to spread the workload, and really helped our 149 visitors to have a great experience. Thank you also to the Groundwork team who added to the work of our regular groups to make the site look really spick and span on the day. And we mustn't forget those who entered the competitions, especially those who made the huge effort required to bring along their giant pumpkins.

Congratulations to our Prize Winner Mr. Fisher, with his 110kg monster pumpkin, and to Mr. Genivere who was a worthy runner up. Both gentlemen have generously donated their pumpkins and their seeds to us, so we look forward to giving these out next year and seeing what folk manage to grow from them!

Here are a few photos to give you a flavour of the event.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Pumpkin Fun for Albany Nursery

The morning and afternoon classes of Albany Nursery visiting Dig In today to have a look around the allotment and help us harvest our pumpkins, ready for our Pumpkin Festival on 30th October.

They had a wonderful time looking at the bee hive and the pond, testing out the different smells of the herbs and choosing pumpkins to lift. 

Then they discovered how big the biggest pumpkin ever grown was (currently 1725lbs and 5.15m in circumference), by standing in a circle the same size as the pumpkin's girth. After that, we weighed all the children, added the weights together and found that they would need 3 classes the size of the morning group to weigh the same as the record pumpkin, or 4.5 classes the size of the afternoon group (which had less pupils). We rounded off the visit with a taste of pumpkin pudding, which nearly everyone tried (even the adults!)

Thank you to the staff at the Nursery and all the parents, grandparents and carers who came down to make the visit possible. And a special thank you to our allotment neighbour who helped make the visit extra-special by showing the children their chickens and letting them help to feed them.

Capital One - September Volunteer Work Party

On Thursday 30th September, an intrepid band from Capital One came to Dig In to help us revamp the planting around the pond, and to do battle with the Horseradish Monster!

They worked with a will, digging out the worst of the weeds, planting up with new pond plants and wildflowers, and removing huge amounts of algae from the pond.

Horseradish removal showed what a brute this plant is. The roots of the plant are incredibly deep, and you need to wear safety goggles to avoid the juice from them going into your eyes, and waterproof gloves to protect you hands. The team ended up collecting 3 buckets full of horseradish root - if anyone wants fresh horseradish sauce, we can help!

The pond area now looks great, so many thanks to Capital One for all your efforts.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Apple day 2010

Thanks to everyone who helped or came along to another wonderful DIG IN event- APPLE DAY 2010.The sky was blue, the soup was hot and the apples were tasty....

Monday, 20 September 2010

September Bee Keeping workshop

We had lovely weather for the second DIG IN bee keeping workshop. Everyone who attended enjoyed looking into the hives and the information the Lee and Luke supplied.Thanks to all who supplied lovely food and their time and thanks to Cicely who found the childrens tools and worked so hard!

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

apple picking

If anyone can spare some time in the next few weeks to pick some apples please get in touch with Ben or myself, we need more hands.


Just a quick reminder - if anyone is interested in coming along on saturday 18th 10-12, to see inside the bee hives on site- could you let me know on 07827083853. Wear full trousers and good shoes- we may have to cancel if the weather is bad.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

veggie distribution

There has been a wonderful amount of fruit and veg harvested this year and it just keeps coming.I delivered 2 large carrier bags and a tray of produce over to the older peoples lunch club at Maycliffe Hall in Stapleford to be distributed amongst the group, taken home and enjoyed.Congratulations and thanks to all the volunteers for their hardwork and commitment to keeping the produce tied in ,mould free and bountiful!It was a nice wednesday session with new volunteers being shown the site and Kate, hoping to set up a community garden in Long Eaton,hopefully getting inspiration from the DIG IN journey.DIG IN has come a long way in the last few years and all the hard work has paid off- its a wonderfu project and a pleasure to be involved with.

Next Dig in meeting

Just to let you know the next DIG IN committee meeting will be on wednesday 22nd sept at the Sure start Childrens centre Tipi,Albany school site, Grenville drive from 10-12.All Dig in users re welcome and anyone who interested in coming along to find out more about the project. If you need more information please feel free to get in touch- Kathy 8835543

Monday, 30 August 2010

Little Ones' Cook-in

The Cook 4 Life session on Wednesday 25/8/10 was one of the best attended yet. Because of fear of wind & rain the venue was changed from the Dig-in Site to the Scout Hut on Pinfold Lane. As it turned out this was far more suitable for the 14 children, mostly under 5 and the 10 assorted adults. The little ones thoroughly enjoyed cutting and chopping vegetables with magic safe knives (supplied by the PCT nutritionists) while two older boys, Kyle and Kieron helped Mary & Jill in the kitchen. The nutritionists and child-minders supervised the little children cutting veg, making pizzas and playing games at the same time passing on masses of information about food. Despite some muddles (Mary accidentally burnt Jill's veg and some 0f the fruit for salad got baked in a crumble) the food produced was lovely and consumed with gusto by all. One of the older boys was heard to say " I didn't know it was going to be so much fun". It was wonderful to see children enjoying getting involved and eating so well.
Menu: wholemeal pasta twists with smooth or chunky sauce, mini muffin pizzas, couscous & ratatouille, fruit crumble & custard, and honeyed fruit salad. There was very lttle left to take back to Ben who had provided tons of fresh produce for the cook-in and had been holding the fort on site.
We feel well encouraged to do sessions with such groups again.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Capital One Volunteer Work Party

Thursday saw Dig In turned into a hive of industry as 10 willing volunteers from Capital One came along to help us sort out the sensory beds by the polytunnel. Those of you who've helped us weed those beds will know that they had lots of couch grass and bindweed, along with plenty of other noxious weeds, and that these weeds had got in amongst the shrubs in the bed.

The volunteers took to the task with good humour despite the frequent bouts of rain. The solution was to dig everything up, dig out the roots and basically keep forking the soil over until no more new roots appeared. The team then helped us to plant up with a lovely range of new plants to add to those already in the beds, which they donated as part of their support. Some of the group also helped to weed the paths, so everything is looking wonderfully tidy now.

I'm sure you'll agree that the beds now look great. If you see anything that looks like a weed poking through in the next few months, please feel free to take it out!

The team with a new recruit.

Making a start - one of the beds seemed to have turned into another raspberry patch!

Ready for the third digging over...

A job well done. Thanks again to the Capital One team.

Monday, 19 July 2010

DIG IN's got talent

The Well Dressing created at Arkwright Meadows community
garden Village show 2009

DIG IN celebration cake made by local artist and committee member Helen Domleo

show case of local talent

Mural created by POW and Kasia Stozstak- Walker.

DIG IN committee meetings

Just a reminder- the next DIG IN meeting will be on wednesday 21st July 10 am AT THE DIG IN SITE.This is a change from the usual venue of Montrose court. We thought that 2 weeks on the trot away from site activities caused too much disruption to weekly work ( and there will be a cook session on site the following week) so we will have short meeting to discuss essentials.As usual its open to all volunteers or those wanting to be involved, to come along.
The next few meeting for your diary are -
sept 22nd 10-12
nov 24th 10-12
Venue for these meetings is Montrose court, Melbourne rd Stapleford.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Dig In Scarecrow Festival 2010

On Thursday, we had our 3rd Scarecrow Festival at the Dig In allotment. This time the theme was "Space", and we were lucky enough to get a whole host of scarecrows from local schools and uniformed groups, as well as one from our work team.

Pupils from local schools came to put up their scarecrows and then enjoyed a look around the allotment and  tasting food made with produce from the allotment, including Kathy's famous courghette and chocolate cake.

Thank you to all our contributors - Bramcote Park, Foxwood and St. John's Schools, Bramcote Park Guides, Stapleford Cubs and Stapleford Beavers. Thanks also to all the volunteers who helped on the day.

The scarecrows will be on the allotment for the next few weeks, after which we can lend them out to local allotment holders.

Bramcote Park's Spaceman Scarecrow that took 3rd Place in the competition.

Foxwood's winning alien scarecrow, with the 2nd prize winner, St. John's School's first tattiebogle in space behind.

One of the many wonderful aliens supplied by Bramcote Guides.

An alien from the Cubs

Another alien from the Cubs

Kathy risks standing under a flying saucer...

Stapleford Beavers supplied a 2 headed alien

Getting into the spirit with space-themed head-gear!

Monday, 12 July 2010

More bees in action

Taken by Mike who attended the workshop on saturday the 10th July.Thanks to everyone who came along either to learn or to help- it was a really enjoyable day.Big thanks to Lee and Dean.We will be arranging another workshop on 18th September 2010 10-12 at DIG IN. Please call me to book 0115 8752095- Kathy

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Beekeeping workshop

Another hot and sunny day saw our first ever beekeeping workshop. It was run by Lee and Dean who keep two hives on the plot, and attended by enthusiastic visitors, all keen to find out about the art and science of beekeeping.

Dean gave a talk and answered questions using a well-prepared display of visual materials, which included a dummy hive and a few preserved (late) bees. Lee helped everyone to take turns in donning the protective clothing and veils then looking into an open hive and handling the frames of workers.
Genuine Stapleford honey was available to purchase, and plenty of honey cakes and other goodies had been made by our skillful cooks for people to sample and enjoy.

Everyone had a great time, and found it very informative. Lee and Dean are already planning a repeat performance later this summer.

Thursday, 1 July 2010


Yesterday 30th July, in glorious sunny weather, Dig in volunteers working with the community nurtionist team held the third 'come cook on the allotment' session. Cooking dahl, sagoo aloo,biriyani, riata and salad volunteers,members of the public, Staplefords deputy mayor helped to cook and learn key tips and ideas on staying healthy.Jackie and Mia looked at the Eatwell plate with the group, in probably the most beautiful place they have ever put it , next to the DIG IN pond.Volunteers dug up carrots, potatoes and chard and used strawberries and raspberries and mint in the recipes.
Thanks to Jas for bringing his spices , ideas and expertise,Mary and Gill for their years of experience and joy of cooking ( and time) and the Mia and Jackie for their knowledge, resources and sense of adventure in tackling the sometimes testing nature of cooking on a working allotment. A fantastic collaboration, showing the best way of getting the enjoyment and pleasure out of cooking healthy food.Big thanks to everyone who came along, all our regulars and new people and especially Evelyn, Marys mum who stuck it out in the heat!
Next cook 4life session is on July 28th 10-12.30 at the site.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Pond life

The tadpoles are developing rapidly. Many now have legs and some have even transformed into tiny froglets which clamber and splash amongst the weed in the corner of our wildlife pond.

There'll be a chance for the public to explore the pond on Wednesday, 11th August, when we open up between 10:00am and 12:00 midday for a pond dipping workshop. A visiting expert from Attenborough Nature Centre will help to identify the pond creatures and explain something about their lives in the pond. There will also be advice and information on pond maintenance.

The day will assist with scientific research as it is being run as part of the OPAL national water survey.

Call Kathy 0115 875 2095 for bookings and details. Children are welcome, but will need to be supervised at all times by a responsible adult carer. Please wear suitable clothing and footwear.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Willow Obelisk Weaving Workshops

You might remember that Saturday was wet. Sorry, I'll type that again - it was WET. However, undeterred and with the aid of 3 gazebos and a polytunnel, the intrepid Dig In folk still ran our willow craft workshops. Lots of happy people laboured in their various shelters to create wonderful willow obelisks for their gardens, under the expert eye of our workshop teacher, Helen Domleo. Helen was back by popular demand following our similar event last year, and, given that we had a huge waiting list for the 2 workshops, I suspect we might need to ask her back again soon.

As always, we managed to feed people with Dig In produce hidden in surprising places - like Kathy's amazing courghette and chocolate cake and Tracey's pumpkin muffins (they really don't taste of pumpkin at all!).

The Saturday group were also undeterred and worked all morning despite the deluge. Well done all, and thank you to everyone who lent us gazebos for the day - we literally couldn't have done it without you.

Half-way through.

The finished article.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

2nd cook-in of the season

Yesterday saw the second Cook-in session, this time operations were moved to Pastures Church Community Hall over the road because the weather was windy & threatened rain. The POW group (still don't know what it stands for) were delightful and helpful. First several of them came over to the site to pick produce with the help of lovely big laminated pictures. (Mark liked the smells.) When we got back to hall we sat down to prep the food at 4 tables where everything had been laid out for the 4 dishes : Tuscan bean soup, spring green risotto, mixed salad and fruit kebabs. Some volunteers and members of the group went in the kitchen to get the cooking going. Tipping things in and stirring were popular activities. (Barbara couldn't be dragged away.)
While the two cooked dishes were cooking most of the group stayed in the hall & played a game devised by Nutritionist Jackie using brilliant home made smell holders. (I wd never have guessed that soggy mess was weetabix!)
Then we sat down & had a feed (does this sound like a familiar pattern?)
Those that tried the food enjoyed it - lots. (Kevin had two helpings of everything and Marion really loved the parmesan shavings) Food was got ready to take over the road for Ben who was holding the fort for Sean being assessed on the site, but Ben magically appeared among us. Volunteers and the group and their supervisors all mucked in to clear up and it all went swimmingly. (It really helps having hot water on tap!) It was also good that almost all the equipment came from one source - Jackie.
Thanks to everyone who helped make this a most enjoyable event.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Mystery guests

The pond has some mysterious new occupants. At least four small brown fish have been spotted swimming happily amongst the plants and tadpoles. Nobody has the slightest idea where they came from. We can only assume they were put in by another tenant on the site, perhaps because they didn't want them in their own pond, or perhaps as an anonymous gift for all to enjoy. We know that people love to come and sit by our pond and they're very welcome to enjoy it.

We guess the fish must be eating the pond weed because that has cleared almost entirely. Does anyone know what sort of fish they are and how should we feed them?

Thursday, 20 May 2010

First Dig-in AGM 19-5-2010

The AGM took place at Montrose court (thanks Kathy for fighting off others who wanted the room!) Lots of people turned up - at least 15. (Councillor Dave Pearson said if Brian had known there w'd be food he w'd have come too) It was a catalogue of achievements and great things happening over the last year, chiefly the increase in volunteers who worked hard to make the project better, publicise it and make events happen, which in turn attracted more volunteers.
Feedback from those assembled gave encouragement and ideas for the future. In particular Sean wd like a strimmer which Ben wd like upgraded to a sit-on mower and Mary wd like a toilet.
And our supporters wd like yet more info & communication and even more requests for help with volunteers and funding. What marvellous people!
Then we had a bit of a feed - Rhubarb muffins, cheese tartlets, cheese and spinach rolls, beetroot brownies and other lovely grub. After all, isn't that why we grow food?

Thursday, 29 April 2010

First Cook-in of the season

I don't know precisely how many people came to the first cook-in of the season - about a dozen E2E people with attendant trainee social workers and tutors, then there were volunteers old and new, and various completely new people who Ben tried to sign up as volunteers. Perhaps 30?

Anyway there were heaps of people and the weather was nice for a change. Jackie Henson, NHS nutitionist held the attention of the young people with her 'healthy plate' and 'guess the sugar content' activities. The deck near the pond made a lovely outdoor classroom while the assorted others set up four cooking stations, each with several chopping boards, stoves, knives and other equipment.

I don't know about the others' experience but my young people attacked the veggies with gusto making nice fine slices for stir-frying. Maybe the opportunity to use a cleaver was the draw. One of our visitors, Jas luckily knew how to set up the portable stoves. Apparently he does this sort of thing for a living. The wind got in the way and several of the young folk moved my whole cooking station into the polytunnel, which was much better.

Anyway tons of food was made - Spanish omelette, salad and a sort of rhubarb tiramisu - and devoured. After the YPs had left Gill made a second spanish omelette,we cobbled together a potato salad and we discovered Ben's crop of sprouts which we added to leftover salad and had a grown-up's lunch. All v nice.

Then there was the seemingly endless washing up and sorting.

Basically a good time was had by all and we are eager to do the next one.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Here is Ben and 'mini Ben' last wednesday.
Such lovely weather, the site is really starting to come to life now, and the seeds we sowed a couple of weeks ago are begining to germinate now too, and it's becoming apparent that I did indeed have the help of my two daughters, as all sorts of intersting mixtures of seed are appearing in some of the pots :$ - oops!
Our 40 mixed sunflower seeds are growing at home now too, and we intend to bring some to the site and brighten up the entrance area, for everyone to enjoy!
We also continued to dig over the beds remove weeds and dig in barrows full of course sand.
I started a new bed for comfrey.
I'm interested in trying harvesting some nettles to make our own fertiliser for later on, waste not want not! However I believe we are now Nettle free, so perhaps a walk of the site and sounding area.