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Stapleford Nottingham, Nottinghamshire

Dig In - Stapleford's Community Allotment
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Past Dig In Events 2010 >>


Gardens are more than just plants and lawn mowers. Here, we prove that you can do so many more things than planting in gardens. We let you experience cooking and eating all at the same time. The best thing about this is the fact that all the varieties of food here are healthy and will surely help you maintain your diet. To know more about our events, you might want to look at the schedule of activities and events below.

Dig In Events for 2011

About Dig In 2011 >

Cook and Taste >

Dig In Workshops >

Apple Day >

Pumpkin Day >

Dig In Events in 2010

Forget Jamie Oliver, forget Michelin stars, forget cordon bleu. Stapleford is about to witness a unique culinary experience: “allotment al fresco.”

From April to September, the Dig In community allotment team will be hosting monthly “Cook 4 Life” sessions, offering local people the chance to cook and eat tasty fresh produce on the allotment site. The menus will be shaped around whatever is in season, including ingredients picked fresh from the allotment. This ‘from plot to plate’ approach ensures that diners will sample some of the freshest food they’ll ever eat.

When the weather is kind, participants will cook and enjoy their meal in the open air, but shelter is available just in case. There’ll be children’s activities, so mums and dads need not be put off, and an NHS nutritionist on hand to give advice and answer questions on healthy eating.

All the cook sessions are completely free, and will run 10:00am – 12:30pm on the last Wednesday of each month, at the Albany Allotments on Pasture Road, Stapleford. Places are limited, and last year’s events were very popular so booking is essential.

Call Kathy on 0115 875 2095, or Mia on 0115 883 5049.
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Dig In 'What’s On' guide 2010

  • Willow Weaving Workshop - Saturday 29th May. Learn to construct a natural willow garden feature under expert tuition. Run in two groups: 10.00am to 12.00 midday or 1.30pm to 3.30pm. £1 charge towards the cost of materials. Booking essential, call Kathy on 0115 875 2095.
  • Scarecrow Festival - Thursday 15th July: 10.00am to 12.30pm. Largely schools-based event. Bring along a scarecrow to fit this year’s theme of “space”. Prizes for the best scarecrows. Food tasting; crafting and planting activities. Scarecrows will form a feature on the site throughout the rest of the year.
  • Pond Dipping - Wednesday 11th August: 10.00am to 12.00 midday. Explore the wide range of interesting creatures living in and around a wildlife pond. Expert guidance provided by Attenborough Nature Centre, as part of the OPAL national pond survey. Plus information and advice on pond maintenance. Children are welcome to enjoy and learn from this activity, but must be supervised by a responsible adult carer. Please ensure that suitable clothing and footwear is worn.

    Free event. Booking essential as places are limited. Call Kathy 875 2095 to reserve your place.

  • Apple Day - Saturday 25th September: 11.00am to 3.00pm. A fun day to celebrate the diversity of apples and their uses.
    Games, craft activities, apple identification, apple tasting, apple pressing and drinks apple recipes and food tasting.
  • Pumpkin Festival - Saturday 30th October: 11.00am to 3.00pm. Pumpkins are about so much more than Halloween. Food tasting, pumpkin-carving workshops, games, activities including the ‘pumpkin spa’ treatments. Competitions for the biggest pumpkin, most unusual pumpkin, and best pumpkin lantern. Bring along your own pumpkin if you wish, or just come along and enjoy the day.

Venue for all events is the Dig In community allotment, Pasture Road, Stapleford (entrance by the bus stop, close to the ‘Man of Iron’ pub.). for further information, call Kathy on 0115 875 2095. Listed activities may be subject to alteration.

Dates to be arranged for:

• Pruning workshop
• Biodynamics workshop
• Permaculture workshop

Free Cook 4 Life sessions at Dig In community allotment, Pasture Road, Stapleford (entrance by the bus stop, close to the ‘Man of Iron’ pub.) Cook and eat fresh tasty meals on the allotment. 10:00am – 12:30pm. Call to book a place: Kathy 0115 875 2095, or Mia 0115 883 5049

• Wednesday, 28th April
• Wednesday, 26th May
• Wednesday, 30th June
• Wednesday, 28th July
• Wednesday, 25th August
• Wednesday, 29th September

Willow Weaving Workshop
Saturday 29th May

In an age of mass production, country crafts are becoming something of a rarity. So it’s good to know you can try out a traditional handicraft down at Stapleford’s community allotment. Dig In is offering willow weaving workshops to members of the public on Saturday 29th May.

Classes will be led by Helen, Dig In’s resident craftsperson, who maintains the living willow structure at William Lilley School. This is the second year that Helen has run the classes, and this year the class size has been reduced and each session extended to ensure everyone receives plenty of individual instruction.

Far from being a quaint old novelty, willow weaving is a very practical pursuit. Participants will construct a beautiful garden ornament using willow rods which have been traditionally harvested from the Somerset Levels. Helen says, “Making a willow obelisk takes between one to one and a half hours, and at the end each person will have a willow obelisk to take home. I use mine to grow beans or sweet peas up.”

To book your place, or to find out more about Stapleford’s community allotment, call Kathy on 0115 875 2095. There is a small charge of one pound, which is less than the cost of materials, and a fraction of what these willow features cost in the shops.

Bee Keeping - An introductory workshop
Saturday 10th July 2010

There’s a bit of a buzz around Stapleford at the moment. It’s the sound of honey bees going about their business on the Dig In community allotment. Having woken up after a long, hard winter, they are making up for lost time. Indeed, they are doing so much pollinating of the fruit and flowers that the site already had ripe strawberries in May.

Resident bee keepers, Lee Atkin and Dean Thompson set up two hives on the site just over a year ago, and enjoyed a harvest of over 80lbs of honey in their first season. Contrary to the cartoon image of bees swarming noisily, they are so passive that many people who use the site are altogether unaware of their presence.

Since bees will forage up to 3 miles from the hive, it’s quite likely that many readers will have already met some of them in their gardens or parks. Well here’s a chance to get a closer look into the fascinating world of the honey bee, because Lee and Dean will be opening up the hive on Saturday, 10th July to members of the public and to answer questions on bee keeping. It is as much an art as a science. In fact, much of the behaviour of bees is still beyond the reach of simple scientific explanation.

Places are limited, so to book your place, or to find out more about Stapleford’s community allotment, call Kathy on 0115 875 2095. Whilst every effort will be made to run this event, it is subject to weather because the bee colony can suffer if the hive is opened in unsuitable conditions. Although honey bees are not aggressive and very rarely sting, this event may not be suitable for anyone who is allergic to bee stings.

Pond Dipping
(Including pond maintenance)
Wednesday 11th August2010 10am-12midday

Ponds are great. Gardeners and nature lovers agree that a pond is one of the best additions you can make to a garden.

A pond greatly increases local biodiversity as a whole range of interesting creatures are drawn in to live on, in, under, above and around the water. Much of this wildlife is of great benefit to the gardener. It is said that a garden with too many slugs is merely a garden with not enough frogs.

The wildlife pond at Stapleford’s Dig In community allotment is teeming with life, including tadpoles, frogs, fish, pond skaters, water boatmen, dragonflies and more. Not to mention the small mammals that drink by the water’s edge and the bats that feed above the surface on summer evenings.

If you’d like to explore and learn more, why not come along to the pond-dipping open day between 10:00 am and 12:00 midday on Wednesday, 11th August. A visiting expert from Attenborough Nature Centre will help to identify and explain the lives of the pond creatures, as well as offering information and advice on setting up and maintaining a pond of your own.

Places are limited, so to book your place, or to find out more about Stapleford’s community allotment, call Kathy on 0115 875 2095. Children are welcome to enjoy and learn from this event, but will need to be supervised by a responsible adult carer. Please ensure that suitable clothing and footwear is worn.

Apple Day
Saturday 25th September 2010 11am-3pm

Scandal !!!!!

What would the papers say if they knew that Lord Derby and Reverend W. Wilks had been seen in an orchard together with a Fair Maid of Devon and a Radford Beauty or two? Well, they probably wouldn’t be interested, because those are the names given to some of England’s many apple trees.

Really, everyone should be interested, because apples are wonderful. We take them for granted because we can pick up a pre-packed plastic bag from a rather poor selection on offer at the supermarket. Yet the National Fruit Collection contains over 2300 apple varieties which can be grown in Britain. In fact we are so used to seeing our ‘native’ apple trees and their fruit that we forget that they were originally quite exotic, having worked their way into Europe along the Spice Road from Central Asia.

Not only are apples tasty and good for you, but they are prominent in folklore and carry spiritual significance in most cultures: including Christian imagery and Celtic mythology, which connects apples with the spiritual world. The name of King Arthur’s legendary home Avalon means “place of apples.”

Stapleford’s Dig In community allotment will be holding its annual Apple Day on Saturday, 25th September, 11am to 3pm. It’s a fun way to celebrate the diversity of apples, their tastes and their uses with games, craft activities, apple pressing, apple identification, and of course the chance to taste apples, as well as apple-based food and drinks. So come along and see if you can find out what to do with a Suntan or a Slack-Ma-Girdle.

To find out more about Apple Day or Stapleford’s community allotment, call Kathy on 0115 883 5543.

See the Dig In blog at

Courgette Bread Recipe!

Anyone who has ever grown a courgette plant knows they can produce a glut of fruits. Stapleford’s Dig In community allotment presents this tasty recipe for courgette bread as an alternative to using them as a side vegetable.

Layer 1lb coarsely grated courgettes in a colander. Lightly salt and leave for 30 minutes. Rinse; pat dry.

Mix 1¼lb plain flour, 4 tablespoons grated parmesan or hard cheese, and 2 sachets fast-action yeast; season with black pepper.

Stir 2 tablespoons olive oil and the courgettes into the flour. Mix together, adding sufficient lukewarm water to form into a firm dough.

Knead on a lightly-floured surface until smooth. Return to the bowl, and leave in a warm place, covered with cling film, until it has risen to double size.

Grease and line a 9 inch round sandwich tin. Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C/Gas 6.

Turn out the dough, punch down and knead lightly. Form into eight balls, flatten, and place in the tin with seven of the circles arranged around one in the centre. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Allow to rise again, then bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown. Cool slightly in the tin, then turn out to cool further.

Enjoy this tear-and-share bread for 8 people as an accompaniment to soup or casserole.

Pumpkin Festival
Saturday 30th October 2010

Autumn, and the greengrocers’ shelves sag under the weight of all those pumpkins. The British tradition of carving lanterns from vegetables such as turnips and mangelwurzels predates the American Jack O’Lantern. Yet the pumpkin now seems to have become inextricably linked with Halloween.

That’s a pity, because it is such a remarkably useful and versatile food that it deserves more than a couple of weeks in the shops, waiting to be carved up then discarded. Especially as a well-cured specimen can be stored all winter.

That rich orange flesh is so often thrown away, despite the fact that it can be used in a multitude of sweet and savoury dishes. The seeds contain a wealth of protein, minerals, and vitamins. In parts of China, the leaves are cooked in soup, whilst Mexicans enjoy lightly-battered pumpkin flowers. The Austrians even add a few drops of pumpkin oil over their ice cream.

On Saturday 30th October, between 11:00am and 3:00pm, Stapleford’s community allotment will celebrate this wonderful vegetable with Dig In’s annual Pumpkin Festival. Come along to the Albany Allotments site on Pasture Road to enjoy food, games, activities and readings. There will be competitions for the largest pumpkin and the best carved pumpkin, but everyone is welcome to join the fun even if you don’t have a pumpkin to bring.

To find out more about Stapleford’s community allotment, call Kathy on 0115 883 5543 or 07817 523 087




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