Growing Newsome and Stirley Farm 2012 – a year in pictures

These pictures celebrate our past year of growing and sharing food together in Newsome – at our community allotment, at Stirley Farm and in lots of other places across our community. 2012 was a lousy year for growing weather, but a great year for growing friendships. We shall remember it fondly.

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Seeds galore

pile of seed cataloguesAre you busily leafing through your seed catalogues at the moment, wondering what to grow next year?

Don’t forget that you’ll be able to pick up lots of seeds here in Newsome at our:

Seed Swap & Potato Day
Saturday 2nd March 2013

from 10am to 1pm
at Newsome Scout Hall.

Growing potatoes? We’ll have at least two dozen different varieties of seed potato on offer – and at just a few pence each, you can afford to try something new. We’ll start to list our potato varieties on our web site soon, including lots of varieties that have been recommended by Growing Newsome participants.

Growing vegetables from seed? We’ll have a bumper selection of Kings Seeds at our Seed Swap this year – you can either bring some spare seeds along to swap, or just pick up some seeds in exchange for a small donation.

Growing something special? Is there something in particular that you’d like to be able to find at our Seed Swap? If so, please get in touch and we’ll do our best to provide it. We’ve already been asked for Nasturtium seeds, Borlotto beans and Pumpkin seeds.

Please add your requests to the ‘Leave a Reply’ box on this page, or email your comments to:

Winter Salad Masterclass – 4th August 2012

selection of salad leavesSaturday 4th August
10am to 12 noon
Stirley Farm

You might be enjoying the sunshine (at last), but now is the time to think about what you’ll be eating in the winter.

Come and learn all about delicious and exotic salad crops which will withstand the winter cold.

Booking is essential (there are 20 places for this event).

Please phone 01904 659570.

Organised by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

Growing Newsome at Stirley Farm – May to July 2012

Gardeners at the Stirley veg beds, squeezing leek stemsWith the growing season in full swing, we’re continuing our food growing get-togethers at  Stirley Farm, especially for residents of the Newsome Ward. These are informal practical sessions where local people can meet each other and learn something new at the same time.

Please come along to join other local food growers who are learning how to grow together. You can join in at any time. Just meet us in the farmyard at Stirley (off Ashes Lane) on the day.

Growing Newsome at Stirley Farm:

Summer sowing – Saturday 12th May, 10am to 12 noon
We’ll be sowing more seeds in the veg beds, for Summer cropping.

Growing Newsome meets Gardening Club – Thursday 7th June, 5pm to 7pm
This evening we’ll be joining in with the weekly Gardening Club at Stirley Farm.

Saturday Gardening Club – Saturday 7th July, 10am to 12 noon
There will be a variety of tasks and food for everyone to take away.


On foot, you can walk across the fields from the bend in Hall Bower Lane, or use any public footpath.

By bus, the 354 stops at the junction of Hall Bower Lane and Lady House Lane. The 341 stops on Ashes Lane, at the top of Cold Hill Lane.

By car, access to the farmyard is via a steep track off Ashes Lane.

Food and Flowers in the ‘Secret’ garden

Thursday 7th June
10am to 12 noon

Hall Bower Chapel Garden

One Friday morning in the Easter holidays, a group of budding gardeners came to the Chapel Garden to sow seeds in the veg patch and bee friendly flowers in the borders. The garden has been lovingly maintained by Malcolm Ford and Karina Hepworth, and flowers and foliage are often used by the flower arrangers for church. In April a new set of volunteers came in to lend a hand and learn about this beautiful ‘secret garden’.
On hand to help was Kim Warren from the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Stirley Farm.

We hope the garden will help show us how to grow fruit and veg in our gardens, as well as helping wildlife from the surrounding fields. We would love you to come to the next planting session in this little haven (and sample some of the salads!) Tools and guidance provided – please bring stout shoes and outdoor clothes.

Plant Swap and Salad Day – 19th May 2012

Tomato plant in potA day of events for growing and eating local food. Everyone welcome.

Saturday 19th May 2012

Plant Swap and Salad Day
10am to 2pm
Newsome Scout Hall
Newsome Road HD4 6JJ 

Plant Swap – 100s of plants for you to choose from: vegetables, salad, herbs, fruit and flowers. You’re very welcome to bring something along to swap, or you can choose some plants in exchange for a donation.

Seed Swap – lots of vegetable seeds to swap or buy.

Windowsill herbs and salads – plant some seeds to grow on your windowsill.

Microveg – find out how to grow your own tasty microveg.

Children’s craft activities with the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, including make your own seed sprouter (adults also welcome!)

Local produce on sale.

Reading Circle book stall with all sorts of books.

Tea, coffee and home made cakes available all day.

Plant pot and jam jar amnesty – please bring along your spare pots and jars.

Information about local groups, events and projects.

Basil growing in a seed trayLocal food lunch:
served from 12 noon to 1pm

Enjoy a locally grown, healthy lunch at Newsome Scout Hall. We’ll be serving a selection of tasty salads (including warm salads) from our Spring salad bar. Some of the ingredients will be supplied by Edibles in West Slaithwaite.

Event leaflet
Plant Swap and Salad Day leaflet (pdf)

Time for a visit to Stirley Farm too?

There is also a ’60 years of farming’ event at Stirley on 19th May (from 10am to 1pm) – it’s just up the hill and is a drop in event, so you’ve time to visit both venues if you’d like. If you don’t get chance to visit Stirley this time, the film about Stirley’s history will be shown again later in the year, so you won’t miss out.

Growing here and there

Newsome’s roving food growers have got together for a mini exchange programme this week.

On Saturday 17th March, we had our first ‘Growing Newsome at Stirley Farm’ session. It was a chance for local growers to meet up and have a relaxing couple of hours doing some planting at the farm.

We also found time to have a peek at Stirley’s first calf, born on 14th March, and to see what has changed since the Autumn.

The orchard has been planted now of course, and there’s a new soft fruit area running the whole length of the veg beds.

The area next to the orchard will become a little meadow, thanks to some new funding that the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust have secured for creating Blooming Meadows at Stirley and other sites. Throughout the afternoon, more than one of us remarked “is it really only a year since we first planted potatoes here?”

After our tour, we got on with digging up some artichokes and land cress to make way for the next crops, sowing some beetroot, carrots and parsnip seeds, weeding the beds and planting a few seed potatoes. We were also able to plant a few of the seeds that had arrived on my doorstep that very morning, brought by someone I’ve never met,  who had been told that I could put vegetable seeds to good use.

As usual, we had an enjoyable and interesting time, and Kim gave us lots of good advice along on the way. For example, did you know that you can put some grass clippings in with your seed potatoes to help feed them, or that a nettle bed can act as a good decoy to keep the creepy crawlies off your cabbages? And all this knowledge was imparted whilst nursing half a pint of tea in a beer glass, but that’s another story…

Then on Tuesday 20th March, we got together again when the Stirley Farm volunteers spent some time with us at the Growing Newsome Community Allotment. There was lots to do here too, including preparing the potato beds and thinning out our wayward strawberry patch.

Spring has definitely sprung across Newsome, and we’re looking forward to sharing the growing season together. You’re very welcome to come along and join in – have a look at the Newsome food calendar to find out what’s on.

Stirley Farm, 17th March 2012 – more photos on Flickr

Our first Potato Day – 10 favourite things

1. All lined up
It was hard work, but we had a lot of fun getting ready for our Seed Swap and Potato Day on Saturday 3rd March 2012. As with most things, we have learnt as we’ve gone along. When the doors opened, we had everything lined up and ready for action – potatoes, paper bags, egg boxes, pens, potato leaflets, daffodils and of course ourselves, the accidental potato enthusiasts. Over two dozen people helped to run the event, which was our busiest yet. Together we gave new homes to 954 seed potatoes, 43 fruit trees and goodness knows how many jars of jam.

2. James’s Jackets
These jacket potatoes smelled wonderful as we brought them into the hall. Thanks to James, we didn’t have to fret about whether they’d be ready on time either. We’re only sorry that we didn’t have more of them, because our 72 portions disappeared very quickly. We promise to cook more next time.

3. Cherry Coleslaw
Not made with cherries, but made by Cherry. This coleslaw featured fresh red cabbage from Stirley Farm, carrots, onion, caraway seeds, mayonnaise and yoghurt. Scrummy. By the way, lunch was served in our new bowls, bought with Stirley Farm’s Eatwell4Life grant funding from NHS Kirklees. Expect more healthy food for you to cook and eat this year.

4. Reliable croppers
We all had our theories about which potatoes would sell out first. It turns out that the nicest basket wasn’t the winning factor after all. The reliable croppers did best, because they appealed to first time growers and experienced gardeners alike. Our thanks to Kim at Stirley Farm for helping us choose these ‘failsafes’.

5. Potato prints
What better for Potato Day than a spot of potato printing? Our thanks to Yorkshire Wildlife Trust trainee Charlotte who battled the lurgy to be there complete with paints, bunting and banners to show us how much fun you can have with a potato.

6. Marmajam?
We had an impressive collection of jam, pickles, chutney and marmalade. Thanks to Rachel, this included lovely carrot and windfall marmalade and some bafflingly named pumpkin marmajam. Between that and the High Dumpsey Deary, the jam table was a bit of an adventure – and soon empty. Janet’s cakes disappeared faster than I could get to take their picture.

7. First signs of Spring?
Moving our Seed Swap event earlier this year to accommodate the Potato Day left us all scrambling to germinate some seeds in time. Thanks to everyone who managed to bring something green along. This seedling needed its own protective tent – and if you picked up any of my really weedy-looking brassicas, I hope you carried them home carefully.

8. Twigs
As well as doing some potato printing, the kids also got to plant some seeds to take home and Alison from Newsome Out To Play was on hand to help them make little nests out of twigs. She’d obviously done a top bit of foraging to find so many bendy twigs too. A great reminder of how we can make good use of natural materials.

9. Seed Swap
Me, Carole and Cherry spent a whole morning making the little Growing Newsome taster seed packets, so it was great to see them nearly all snapped up. And we’ve been left with some promising looking mixed beans and tomatoes in exchange. Come back to our plant swap on 19th May to find out whether they grew or not…

10. Eating together, growing together – and lots more to come.

Potato Day 2012 – more photos on Flickr

Plant a fruit tree in your garden for £5


apple tree

The 1,000 Trees Project is collaboration between Kirklees Streetscene Service (Parks and Landscapes) and Newsome Councilors, funded through the Area Committee. The object of the project is to plant 1000 fruit trees across the ward. These trees will bring many benefits to the area including improved landscape quality, improved diets and physical activity levels for locals who pick the fruit, additional wildlife habitat for some endangered wildlife species and also a reduction in pollution levels.

Phase 1 involved the planting of fruit trees across Newsome Ward on council owned open green space. Phase 2 involved 60 apple trees being planted in house gardens across Newsome Ward by the householders.  Phase 3 will again enable any Newsome resident to plant a fruit tree in their garden. Residents will be offered one fruit tree at the reduced price of £5. This offer will also include a tree stake, tree tie and planting / care instruction sheet. The money collected will then be used to provide plants for a proposed herb corridor along a public footpath in the Newsome Ward.

Julian Faulkner, Kirklees Allotments Manager / Social Forestry Officer and Councillor Andrew Cooper will be at the

Growing Newsome Seed Swap on Saturday 3rd March, 10am to 3pm at Newsome Scout Hall

to distribute trees and  to offer advice to those wishing to take part.



Stirley orchard planting – 3rd March 2012

Fruit Tree & Shrub Planting
Stirley Community Farm
Saturday 3rd March
10 am to 12 noon

Help to create a forest garden and formal orchard at Stirley Farm by planting fruit trees and soft fruit. Learn about the exciting edible forest garden, blending food production with a sustainable growing technique which replicates a natural woodland.

Please wear sturdy footwear and waterproofs. Booking is essential.

To book your place call the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s York Office on 01904 659 570 or contact Daisie on 07852 752606 for further information about the event.

Tree planting event leaflet (pdf)

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