Welcome to the SRT blog No. 16

4th August 2020 – Welcome to our blog post No. 16

It’s National Allotment week this week and all our sites are bountiful.

Squashes running around the bases of the sweetcorn, ballooning celeriac, carrots pushing up through the earth, ruby chard, rows of beetroot, apples and showy leeks.
At Hemel Food Garden the allotments are in good order and being harvested every week, with plenty of carrots and beans going into the veg box and some produce going to the shop for sale and cafe use. Onions are harvested, dried and being used. Beetroot is doing well on it’s second attempt, after critters ate the whole first planting. Sweetcorn will be harvested soon and just harvesting the last of the broccoli. Our huge potato patch is looking really good so we all have high hopes for the crop of lovely desiree potatoes this year.

Here’s Ella’s sunflower

The food bank delivery scheme that we have been assisting with came to an end at the end of July. Overall, Andrea, Ian and Pete have helped to deliver over 400 food parcels across the Dacorum region to help vulnerable members of our local community. It has been a really positive and at times eye-opening scheme to be part of and we are proud of the support we were able to provide.

Annette Timms helping to weed and prune our grape vines, and Luka Grace, Annette Timms & Neil Crowhurst washing street signs as part of our Bovingdon contract.







Transport in the minibus, wearing masks and spread out so that we socially distance.






The pizza oven is now ready to be fired up. An insulating cover of clay cob was added to cover the oven, the roof added and its protection, the marble slab and some cladding on the front to hide the stones at the bottom. Thanks to Guy Stafford. Everyone is getting their orders in at the moment! Let’s go….






If you missed the building of this here’s the link again…



  Hemel Food Garden have planted out  ‘home’  grown perennials to create a new ‘flowering’ bed in the beautiful tranquility area, which is now part of the new social distancing space for trainees breaks and lunches.





Someone got very wet feet the other day…

The HFG Bee hives are doing great after a worrying few weeks without a queen but 2 weeks ago our old hive finally made a new queen and is starting to get on with building the colony back up. Our newer hive is doing brilliantly and is about ready to extract a good load of honey.

On the hottest day of the year, we organised a BBQ for the trainees who have returned back to Sunnyside. It was a great event and allowed all of us to spend some restful time in the shady orchard and catch up with the trainees. Thanks to Mark for making the delicious food for the BBQ.





The central courtyard at Northchurch has progressed nicely – with perennial plantings. Phase 1 of 3 has had the finishing touches this week, working towards a calming seating area with more sensory planting, and some screening by the Keder greenhouse too.
Then this autumn, in place of the less ‘beautiful’ tap, a tree will be planted as a centre piece and focal point.






The perennial plants from Hemel have been used with lots of the grasses to make a tall, prairie-like garden with a sectioned herb bed in the middle. Thank you so much to Alison (and Jules) for help with planting advice and also for planting up with us in the heat! The next stages of landscaping will be started shortly.

Over at the back of Northchurch the goats have had a new playground built for them to entertain and distract them. Pallet love.






A goat playground provides hours of fun as goats are active, curious, playful and excellent climbers, jumping and playing with nearly anything. The playground provides exercise and amusement but is also an important part of goat social behavior as well.






By climbing and jumping higher than each other, they establish their place in the social order. Having a complex playground that obstructs their view also allows shy goats to find quiet places to hide. Because goats are foragers by nature, a flat field of grass will quickly make them bored, and more likely to try to escape – so it’s been kept away from the fence.

Ian has finished the roof garden, structure, added the protective fabric layer, the waterproof membrane and then the inner structure.








He could then insert the separating fabric, drainage chips, the shingle and finally the compost. Watered and then planted with perennials as it is deep enough.








The bees moved in, in no time…..

Until next week…..