Behold, for we have Strawberries

A lot of the crops we will be planting are perennial fruiting bushes and the like, and we have lots of stock hidden all over Doncaster, ready for the day we took over this site and when the onset of winter sends them to sleep.

One of those sites is a strawberry bed in my backyard vegetable patch.

And it has kind of gotten out of control. To be honest it’s more of a lawn these day. With runners twisting, seething and clambering over each other to reach the soil. And seeing as I need the space and the site needs the strawberries its time to harvest and transplant the little suckers.

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I managed to get a mixed bag of two year old plants and this year’s runners down to the farm, and this shot shows the rootlets just starting to reach for the soil.

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It’s amazing to me how diverse nature can be when deciding how to produce offspring. Who would have thought the humble strawberry plant could clone itself??? Simply by touching the ground…

I am a thistle shifter….

And that’s about as far as I got with that particular tongue twister !!

But it did remind me of last Saturday in the sauna. Well less of a posh spa day and more like an episode of attack the weeds in the polytunnel. After being abandoned for four years the place was thick with thistles almost head high and im 6ft 4 !!

Any way the kids from the National Citizens Service did a wonderful job in the late summer heat, beating them down and generally taking out their teenage angst on the overgrowth of triffids. A job I certainly don’t begrudge them.

But like all fairy tale monsters they can never be truly killed. Dead doesn’t always mean DEAD..

And so Johnny’s back !!

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This time though they are manageable so I’m getting in early and knocking them back before they get too big. Hopefully a combination of carbohydrate death (denying the plant the chance to store more energy than it expends in growing) and the fact that most of the polytunnel will be Deep Water Culture hydroponic tanks the day of the triffids will be postponed !

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You may also notice the old post and wire system has been taken down…. making way for who knows what wonders !!

Under pressure!

After the gathering comes the pressure!

On Saturday the 1st of October we will be converting all those scrumdiddly umcious apples into a variety of pleasing drinks. Maybe an adult beverage or three.

This Saturday we will build a fruit press or two, sort through the good the bad and the beautiful and get pressing that apple juice.

We will also cover the cider making process, give some hints and tips on really basic, simple but effective brewing vessels to get you started without forking out a load of cash, how to preserve unfermented fruit juices and generally get soaked whilst laughing at each other.

A lot!

click or tap the link for more details

The cost is £10 to cover running costs, hardware, our usual run to the chippy and the ever present need to put cash in the coffer to pay the bills.

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Let there be light!!

Four week in and we have now done a detailed survey of the site and its buildings and identified what we need.

As in the best of traditions the problem is the solution and we need above all heat and electricity for the structures (I’m already tired of typing greenhouse and polytunnel!!) and electricity in general.

We always intended to make this site as off grid as possible, just to show it can be done and, well, we’re frugal Yorkshire folk and don’t like paying other people to do stuff we should be doing our selves.

So to that end we will be offering (at incredible cheap prices to mainly cover costs) a plethora of courses and lectures on just that. Living independently.

Where you get the chance to get hands on dirty practical experience of saving money.

Here’s a taster of what we have planned…

Cider, apple juice and free orchard growing.

Off grid electricity, design, building and maintaining battery banks for those pesky power cuts.

Hyper efficient wood burning stoves called Rocket stove and adapting them for different uses.

Food preservation and storage, buy cheap to eat later. No freezer required.

Solar energy for home heating. From the stuff others throw away.

Beer and wine making.

Basic carpentry skills and general DIY Hacks.

So keep an eye on the events calendar for what’s coming up.

And remember, everything we do, adds value to you

The Gathering

With very Short notice we At Bentley Urban farm invite you to our first annual Gathering!!

This is the weekend Saturday the 24th of September we will be driving, walking, riding and generally meandering around Bentley and the Doncaster area as a whole identifying, adopting, learning about the apple trees we find and gathering all the apples we can. We will also be giving a variety of talks along the way about various methods of caring for those trees we adopt and what we can all do to preserve them.

We will be charging £10 to cover our educators time, a light lunch, though we will probably just go to the chippy! and to put some cash in the coffers so we can offer even more excellent adventures !!

Click or tap the link below for the poster.

 

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#DoncasterIsGreat for Upcycled Urban Farming

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PermaFuture are currently in the process of converting a horticultural training centre which has been mothballed for the last four years into and upcycled urban farm.

Over the last couple of weeks we – with help from some wonderful kids doing National Citizen Service who cleared out the poly-tunnel and greenhouse for us –  we have been clearing the site to prepare for growing a wide range of market garden crops. We made some surprising discoveries…

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…like a beautiful smelling lawn of chive and oregano which had self-set from a former herb garden…

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…and a number of different cooking and eating apple trees. Some areas hadn’t seen the light of day in quite a while. Like the drainage system which was full of newly created soil (which we’re using for one of our large planters) and wonderfully developed root systems…

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…we’ve also unearthed a rather wonderful, wheelchair friendly, brick path…

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So hopefully it won’t be too long before we have the site open to the public.

Over the next few months we’ll be using reclaimed materials (from a growing medium made from recycled carpets to a hydroponic system made from junk) to build an upcycled, permaculture based, urban farm capable of providing  affordable fresh food and creating some much needed jobs in one of the poorest areas of the UK.

We’ll keep you posted as to how we get on🙂

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#DoncasterIsGreat for the Day Of The Dead | Rooted and @RightUpRStreet in Hexthorpe

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The Rooted team had a great time in Hexthorpe Park this weekend, where we were taking part in Right Up Our Street‘s DAY OF THE DEAD event.

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We set up the wonderful PixieWorks Yurt and decorated it with skulls made from reclaimed fabric (a massive thank you to everyone who helped to make these… especially Rachel who didn’t sleep for a week with all that sowing!).

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Inside the Yurt we had lantern-making and face painting…

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Outside Joie Carruthers created a shrine which included some of our planters…

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…which local Shaman, Suzanne Wass, blessed with her drumming…

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There was drumming too from the wonderful Luther King…

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Luther and his friends also played live music for the crowds ahead of the night-time, lantern-lit procession to The Dell. More about this (and more photos…) will follow in a future post🙂

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Rooted: Banner Making & Planting Workshop

Snail Girl

We might be gardeners, but we still love snails😉

We had a fun day today at Doncaster Museum & Art Gallery

In preparation for the Rooted ‘Harvest Moon Festival’ later in the year we planted up some more planters…

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Including Thomas’s ‘Tea Pot’…

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…Jessic’a ‘Wellie’…

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…and a whole host of other fun things…

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As well as getting our hands dirty planting…

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…we also started to stitch the Rooted banner…

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We used fabric & buttons…

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…and everyone got stuck in…

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…except John, who got stuck making flat-pack furniture…

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…which will become a planter during a future workshop.

It wasn’t long before the banner took shape…

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But if you want to see the finished article you’ll have to pop down and see us at Pride on Saturday in Sir Nigel Gresley Square…

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We won’t be hard to miss as we’ll be the ones with a big green yurt!

Until then keep planting!..

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