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)

Hey Green orchard pruning – 14th February 2012

Learn how to prune fruit trees
Hey Green community orchard
Tuesday 14th February
10.30am to
 12.30pm (drop in)

Come and join us for an orchard tidy up at Hey Green. Stirley Farm staff and volunteers will be on hand to show you how to prune and mulch the apple trees.

This is a free, drop in event.

Gloves, tools and instruction available, but please wear stout shoes and warm clothes.

Access from Lowerhouses Lane, below the church or off Hey Lane.

Location and more details about Hey Green

Stirley Community Farm’s Orchard Takes Shape

The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Stirley Community Farm saw its first fruit tree planted this half term, with help from volunteers and visitors to the Half Term Family Fun Day. The ‘Czar’ plum tree, kindly donated by Totties Garden Centre, Holmfirth, was the first of many trees to be planted in the forest garden and training orchard, made possible by generous funding from the Big Lottery’s Local Food grant.

Community groups, volunteers and trainees are busily preparing the next stage of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s fruit and vegetable training area which is designed to demonstrate to local people of all ages how to get involved in growing food both at the farm and in their own gardens, allotments and school grounds.

Kim Warren, the Food Education Officer said, “We are planting a third of an acre of fruit trees here at Stirley, ranging from plums, apples, quince, nuts, pears and damsons which will provide food for both people and wildlife for years to come. As visitor numbers grow, so will the opportunities to see how much of our food can be grown in even the smallest spaces, and there is huge scope for people to come and learn about fruit growing, pruning and harvesting throughout the gardening year.”

During the day, families enjoyed harvesting autumn produce, sowing garlic, making minibeast houses, digging potatoes and storing beetroot and carrots for the winter.

Autumn & Winter 2011 events at Stirley Farm


Fruit at Stirley Farm – 8th October 2011

The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust would like to invite you to the first of many Saturday morning events at Stirley Farm….

Soft Fruit Cuttings and Orchard Planning
Stirley Community Farm
Saturday 8th October from 10am to 12 noon

It’s time to think about the fruit we will be growing at Stirley. We hope you will be able to join us on Sat 8th October, when we will be inviting everyone to bring cuttings of soft fruit such as currants, raspberries, gooseberries and strawberries to bring on in a nursery bed, for planting out next spring. We hope there will be enough for you to take some cuttings home. Advisors will be on hand to demonstrate how to prepare the ground for the cuttings, how to grow them in pots, and how to care for them in the future.

Up hill from the veg beds, we have sketched some ideas for our orchard, so we hope you will come and share your ideas and experiences of fruit tree varieties with us, and join in the many tree planting events we will be having this winter. We haven’t committed ourselves to any varieties or suppliers yet – so we hope you will come and join us at this planning stage. Free event.


Seed Swap – Saturday 26th March 2011

Growing Newsome Seed Swap

Saturday 26th March

10am to 12 noon

Newsome Scout Hall

Please come along to our Seed Swap to get together with other food growers, swap seeds and seedlings, get advice (or give advice) about growing your own food and find out what’s going on in the Newsome area.

This year’s Seed Swap features:

  • Seed and seedling stall – swap what you’ve brought or collect some seeds and seedlings in exchange for a small donation. Pick up some seed potatoes and shallots.
  • Yorkshire Wildlife Trust / Stirley Farm – Kim Warren (Food Education Officer) will be giving growing demonstrations and you can get a grow-bag delivered to your home to help you get started with growing your own salads.
  • 1,000 Fruit Trees – be part of this Kirklees Council project to plant 1,000 fruit trees in the Newsome Ward by giving a home to a tree. Get an apple tree to plant in your garden (along with stake, tie and planting instructions) in exchange for a £5 donation. The funds raised will be used to buy herb plants to create a ‘herb corridor’ along a footpath in Newsome.
  • Reading Circle book stall – with all sorts of books, plus you can pick up a copy of “A Life Like Other People’s” by Alan Bennett, as part of World Book Night.
  • Newsome Out to Play – find out about outdoor play activities for children in the Newsome Ward in the coming year as part of the “Play in the Community” programme.
  • Food growing advice – ask questions about food growing and find out about local projects.
  • Refreshments – tea and home made cakes on sale.

Bring along your seeds and seedlings to swap, or spare plant pots to donate to Growing Newsome – or just come and browse our stalls.

Children are welcome and admission is free.

Seed Swap leaflet (pdf)

1000 Fruit Trees Project (pdf)

Newsome’s young food growers on BBC Look North


Seed planting - photo: Rob Arthur Photography

Hillside Primary have got off to a fantastic start with their food growing in a day of special activities on 25th March 2010 that were filmed for BBC Look North. Weatherman Paul Hudson was at Hillside throughout the day, and the school will be featured on Look North during the week beginning 29th March.

Hillside is a particularly green school. The building is energy efficient, with solar panels, a biomass boiler, photovoltaic panels and a small educational wind turbine. The school grounds provide the opportunity for alternative learning experiences outside of the traditional classroom environment. There is a large nature area, a pond, raised beds and a greenhouse – places for children to learn, play and grow. 

Tree planting - photo: Rob Arthur Photography

Julian Faulkner from Kirklees Council’s Countryside Unit showed the children how to plant fruit trees at their new school. Hundreds more fruit trees will be planted across Newsome in the coming months, and Julian is co-ordinating the planting programme.

Members of Growing Newsome and Newsome Ward Timebanking helped the children with planting vegetable seeds in raised beds at the school. 

Special thanks to Janet, Cherry, Rob and Rachel for taking part and sharing their enthusiasm about community food growing.

Filming - photo: Rob Arthur Photography

We hope this will be just the first step for Hillside, and we want to support the school with their food growing activities in the coming years. We’re looking for volunteers who could spend some time at the school during the day to help the children with their food growing, and lend a hand with tending the crops throughout the growing year. If you’re interested in taking part, please contact us to find out more.

Paul Hudson’s blog

Apple grafting workshop in Fartown – 31st March 2010

Julian Faulkner from Kirklees Countryside Unit is running an apple grafting workshop on Wednesday 31st March. It will be held at Dewhurst Road allotments in Fartown, Huddersfield, starting at 10am and running till just after lunchtime.

All materials and tools will be supplied, as will warm drinks and biscuits. Warm clothes should be worn as the event will be outdoors unless the weather is bad.

Each attendee should be able to take home two apple trees (they will be about two feet tall, in a pot) that they have grafted. 

The workshop places are being given out on a first come first served basis. Please book by phoning Julian’s office number 01484 234083, which will usually go to an answer machine. Bookings will be taken on a first message basis and Julian will contact everyone who leaves a message to let you know if you have a place.

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