There has been a great deal of progress on the Milford Community Greenspace since our last report in February. In our last report we described how we had taken over an adjacent allotment and in the process nearly doubled the area of the Greenspace, and had cleared part of it and created a sensory maze.
Since then rest of the new allotment has been cleared – a huge task only just completed, since the area is infested with persistent perennial weeds such as comfrey, coltsfoot and bindweed. First, a wildflower garden was attempted. Despite intensive double digging and hand removal of roots before sowing, it was plagued by persistent weeds and endless drought, but it does now look quite pretty. We successfully applied for a £241 grant from East Midlands in Bloom for a large 8-seater bench for the children which has been placed amongst the wildflowers. The second was a large (20m x 5m) area which was dug and levelled and then laid with weed matting and this covered by bark (donated by Mark Hudson). This will be the “tinker zone” for the children, allowing them to safely and cleanly build dens, make various constructions etc.
Other projects undertaken since the last report were the planting of a native tree hedge along the bottom of the site in February (140 whips donated by The Woodland Trust, picture of us planting them below) and construction and installation of a giant solitary bee home at the same time by the Butters family.
In March the raised vegetable beds were strengthened and reconstructed using oak sleepers left over from the Fire Pit and in May & June the paths between the raised beds laid with weed matting covered with pebbles (the pebbles were donated and as ever had to be carried on site, very heavy).
This year we’re growing potatoes, strawberries, beans and courgettes and the children are already enjoying the first strawberries, seen in the photo below.
At present we are frantically tidying the Greenspace ready for the East Midlands in Bloom judges on Wednesday 6th July. This is described in detail in a separate report, but already the area is looking much tidier.
Milford School Children have used the space for the whole period, with weekly Forest School sessions. From Easter, Maple View School in Mackworth has also used the space weekly. During school holidays weekly sessions are still held allowing the children to continue to enjoy the space and the £5 per session charged for each child adds to Greenspace funds. Additionally, Milford School has just got funding for weekly one hour “muddy maths” sessions with specific students, which will increase use of the site during the day still further.
Looking forward, we successfully applied for a £1000 grant from Derbyshire County Council to buy a much larger (10’ x 8’) shed. It has arrived and recycled slabs have been brought onto the site. We hope to lay the base and erect the shed soon. We will continue to invest in ways to organically, but permanently, remove persistent weeds (a major problem on the site) such as weed matting and gravel paths. We are very keen for any voluntary help with these projects. Anyone interested in helping out please contact Kate on 07794268059, or just turn up with gardening gloves and rough clothes – we have plenty of tools on site. Work parties take place all year round every Sunday and Monday 9.30am – 12am, and additional ones may be organised for specific tasks.