Welcome to the SRT blog No. 17

21st August 2020 – Welcome to our blog post No. 17

This past week we have seen wet weather and thunderstorms – here’s some facts

A thunderstorm is a storm that occurs in cumulonimbus clouds and produces   lightning and thunder.

The speed of lightning, that we see as flashes are a result of a lightning strike travelling that would take about 55 minutes to travel to the moon, or around 1.5 seconds to get from London to Bristol.

When lightning strikes a sandy beach or sandy soil, it fuses together the grains to create a small glass-like tube known as a fulgurite. They are not only prized by collectors, they are also of great scientific value in demonstrating past occurrence of lightning storms. See photos on right No 1

The most lightning – struck location in the world is Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela. Massive thunderstorms occur on 140-160 nights per year with an average of 28 lightning strikes per minute lasting up to 10 hours at a time. That’s as many as 40,000 lightning strikes in one night! See photos on right No 2

1,400,000,000 strikes every year around the world, there are over 3,000,000 flashes every day. That’s around 44 strikes every second.

Volcanic lightning is a truly amazing spectacle, triggered by volcanic eruptions. When an eruption occurs, earth and ash are thrown into the air in a giant plume, colliding to create an electrical charge. In the same way as normal lightning, the imbalance between the plume’s electrical charge and the charge in the atmosphere leads to lightning strikes. See photos on right No 3

And finally….

Counting lightning will help tell you how far away a thunderstorm is, simply count the number of seconds between the flash of lightning and the boom of thunder that follows. Divide this number by five and this tells you how many miles away you are from the storm (or divide by three for the distance in kilometres).


The Activity Centre, have done a lot of plum processing with the wet weather this week. They also managed to do their contract at Coombe Gardens (weeding, removing bindweed, pruning) and some woodwork to fix our minibus step (sawing, hammering, measuring).








Luka Grace & Tim Abbotts on the contract work and woodworking







At Northchurch the sheep have a newly re-furbished, donated WW2 ‘Anderson Shelter’ to use when they need a snooze….or it’s pouring with rain. Anderson shelters were once a feature in lots of peoples back gardens.


Designed in 1939 by the engineer, William Patterson, the first ‘Anderson’ shelter was erected in a garden in Islington, London on 25 February 1939 and, between then and the outbreak of the war in September, around 1.5 million shelters were distributed to people living in areas expected to be bombed by the Luftwaffe. During the war a further 2.1 million were erected.

Anderson shelters were issued free to all householders who earned less than £250 a year, and those with a higher income were charged £7. Made from six curved sheets bolted together at the top, with steel plates at either end, and measuring 1.95m by 1.35m, the shelter could accommodate six people. The shelters were half buried in the ground with earth heaped on top.

They were therefore inherently cold, dark and damp. In low-lying areas the shelters tended to flood, and sleeping was difficult as the shelters did not keep out the sound of the bombings. If there was a toilet at all, it took the form of a bucket in the corner

Plus, Northchurch are collecting a new outside run for the chickens this weekend. The ‘blue rocket’ like structures are chicken feeders – apparently (now I know!)






Veggies & fruits will be ready for harvesting soon including sweetcorn (grow them next year if you can as they are always totally yummy direct from the plant) , apples and squashes.



Mark has been harvesting the beans he grew from his seed kit, to go with the roast dinner.

James & Gregory’s sunflower has produced at least 6 bright & ‘sunny’ heads – lovely to see this photo this week when it was pouring with rain. And it was their Dad’s birthday. Check out the homemade cake – a volcano of chocolate!!






A first at Hemel Food Garden – they have been growing ‘ water melons’.




Earlier in the year, in one of the poly tunnels Mark potted on his newly germinated seeds into compost bags. With the heat and daily watering and a weekly feed there are half a dozen melons being cosseted and looked after. Mark let us know when you harvest them!

BACK OPEN –  Great news, our Sunnyside Up Farmshop at Hemel Food Garden is now open to customers to come in and shop but note, we have made some necessary changes.
There is a new entrance – the second set of double doors and exit through the first doors from the main site entrance. The shop is set up with a one-way system, with payment at the usual till spot at the end. We kindly request that everyone who comes in wears a face mask and we are limited to 4 customers in the shop at one time.
All our lovely Sunnyside produce is available, plus new lines, so please support and shop local.





New entrance                                                                        One way






Exit only                                                                               Shop local

The perennials are being checked over, and deadheaded in the sun today. Nice job.

A felled tree has been chopped up and the logs are being moved to the end of the site.





And the herb garden is looking spectacular – thanks for pointing this amazing space out to me Catherine.

See you next week……