Welcome to the SRT blog No. 58 

25th June 2021 – Welcome to our blog post No. 58 

It was the summer solstice on Monday and everyone celebrated at Hemel Food Garden – a bit of a soggy day – with a quiz, freshly baked snacks and made floral headdresses. It’s the longest day, so has the longest number of daylight hours as the sun is at its highest and we are in summer (astronomically) – really we are! Not sure if we actually saw the sun that day? 

Around the time of the summer solstice areas of Norway, Finland, Greenland, Alaska and other polar regions experience ‘midnight sun’. 

In the Arctic Circle, the Sun does not set at all! 


The word “solstice” comes from the Latin words “sol” (sun) and “stitium” (still or stopped). 

According to pagan folklore, evil spirits would appear on the summer solstice. To ward off evil spirits, people would wear protective garlands of herbs and flowers. 

One of the most powerful of these plants was known as ‘chase devil.’ Today it’s called St. John’s Wort, because of its association with St. John’s Day. 








Other summer solstice traditions hold that the ashes from a Midsummer bonfire can protect one from misfortune or that the ashes—when spread across one’s garden—will bring a bountiful harvest. 


This was a very busy week for everyone at Hemel Food Garden. 

Last Friday – did it rain! Wow! This is what the outside of the polytunnels looked like. 









It started with the opening of the bakery on Monday. Linda did the honours wearing the special chef hat to cut the ribbon with everyone watching, even though it was a bit damp. It’s brilliant that there is this fantastic, professionally finished space. One where the team will be able to bake for the shop & café and local community as well as renting it out to groups.  














The first team donned their superb yellow – Sunnyside- aprons (thanks to Taylors Grandma who made these) 






and under the watchful eye of Tanya, rustled up the first yummy goodies for the Solstice BBQ later that day – shame the weather wasn’t better. Thanks to all who supported us and donated towards this development .
































The cats are all settling in well. 7 are now roaming and 1 more has just arrived. 









We are now in the last few weeks preparation for Hampton Court. Last week the trollies were prepared for the collection of the Hampton Court plants for Tom Stuart-Smiths garden. The garden is being built at the moment and it took 4 very LARGE lorries to take them away down the M25/M3 over a couple of days this week. They only just got into site and around the greenhouse – close call. But what a brilliant job by all for the fantastic plants and loading up. 














By the time the last had been loaded up yesterday the polytunnel was literally empty….. 









I’m sure it will be filled up again very soon with the new perennial selection. 

Welcome to a very new team member – Lottie who is with Alison! 


























Northchurch have harvested their first sowing of carrots, ready for the veg boxes this week. More are growing for later in the season. Multi-coloured beauties. 









Weeding in the polytunnel getting ready to sow more sweetcorn.







They found caterpillars eating mullein plants – the yellow verbascum  – funny enough they are called mullein caterpillars. 







Who was spotted hiding behind this very tall plant? 









The moth has been found on plants in the perennial bed next to the office, is this after it’s been a caterpillar OR before laying its eggs? Metamorphosis in work perhaps? 







As the sun and rain continue in what is now ‘summer’, the plants are growing – but so are the weeds! So, lots of weeding in the allotments to give the plants more room.  









Before and after photos of the onions. A very thorough job. 

The Activity Centre have begun to pot on their tomato seedlings, which are planned to go into the new poly tunnel when they are a bit bigger. 









A few of the strawberries are ready to be picked ready for our jams. 









The herb garden is growing really well outside the centre. Full of fantastic flavours to add to our hot meals. 








Thursday at the weekly Berkhamsted Market stall.