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June 2017

In this month’s newsletter

  • summer barbecue

  • future green drinks topics and events

  • community allotment

  • and more!

Summer BBQ – all welcome

We will be holding our summer barbecue at the National Trust’s Swan Barn Farm, Collards Lane, on Friday July 14th 2017 from 6.30pm. All welcome!
Bring your own food and drink. The National Trust provide the fire and the view, we all provide the conversation. If you missed our green drinks talks, come by and ask questions, or simply enjoy a summer social evening in a lovely setting.

We will also take a stroll to look at our community allotment nearby.
(Note that this is in place of our usual monthly green drinks.)

Trees and market gardening

Future themes for our green drinks are:

Trees and climate change – Thursday 7 September, led by Clive Davidson
Running a small market garden – Thursday 5 October, led by Ed Brooks
Both events will be at 7.30pm at Royal Oak, Critchmere Lane.

Food festival and tree walk

We will be participating in the Haslemere Food Festival on Lion Green on Saturday 23rd September and leading a notable trees of the town walk as part of the Haslemere Walking Festival on Saturday 28th September. More details in future newsletters.

Community allotment – it’s growing season

Would you like to join our community allotment group? Whether you are an old hand at growing vegetables or have no prior experience, we look forward to meeting you! To find out more, please sign up for our TH Allotment Updates here.

Discounted composters

Surrey County Council got in touch with us after our item in last month’s newsletter to point out that they offer discounted compost bins, including Green Johannas and Green Cones, as well as advice on composting on their website at www.recycleforsurrey.org.uk/garden-waste/composting

Link of the month – Paris Agreement

President Trump recently withdrew the United States from the Paris Agreement, which brings all nations “into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, with enhanced support to assist developing countries to do so.” You can find out all about it at:

Tree corner: False acacia

The false acacia (Robinia pseudoacacia) is known as the black locust in its native eastern United States, where its vanilla scented, pea type flowers are an important source of nectar for honeybees. Although it does not like shade, it can grow in dry poor soils. Its wood is valued for its hardness, strength and rot resistance, and was important for shipbuilding. Its pinnate leaves (similar to a rowan) fold together in the wet and at night, and there are a pair of thorns at the base of the stalk.

The false acacia in the photo is on the corner of West Street near Waitrose.

May 2017

In this month’s newsletter:

  • keeping chickens
  • allotment update
  • compost advice
  • and more

Keeping chickens in the garden

A talk for beginners by Jane Devlin, and our theme for June’s green drinks. Find out about the costs, practicalities, why keeping chickens is a good for the environment, what to avoid, and how to cope with common problems. Also, we will answer once and for all the question of which came first – the chicken or the egg? Thursday 1 June, 7.30pm, Royal Oak, Critchmere Hill (talk begins around 8.30pm).

Future activities and themes for our green drinks are:
Summer barbeque – Friday 14 July, Swan Barn – all welcome!
July’s green drinks will be combined with our summer barbecue, on Friday 14 July from 6.30pm at Swan Barn, where the theme will be enjoying ourselves. All welcome. Bring your own food and drink. We provide the fire; the National Trust provides the view.

Trees and climate change – Thursday 7 September, led by Clive Davidson
Running a small market garden – Thursday 5 October, led by Ed Brooks

Bee inspired

“Keeping bees is the most beneficial thing you can do for the countryside”, said Dave Elliott, National Trust head ranger of Black Down, in his talk on beekeeping at our recent green drinks. We need honey bees to pollinate our crops, vegetables, trees and flowers. And because they are under threat, bees need us. Working with a hive is a “joy” said Dave, and it less difficult to set up and maintain than you might think. You can read more about Dave’s talk and how to set up a hive here.

Community allotment – it’s planting season

Would you like to join our community allotment group? Whether you are an old hand at growing vegetables or have no prior experience, we look forward to meeting you! To find out more, please sign up for our TH Allotment group or check for updates here.
Also, we would be happy to receive further garden tools, watering cans, plastic trays for seedlings, roof felt and guttering (excellent for pea seedlings). Let us know if you have any to offer or want to join us by emailing us at info@transitionhaslemere.org.

Confused about composting?

Waverley Council’s recent sticker on our rubbish bins about food waste seems to have caused a bit of confusion. Some people who compost all their kitchen waste have wondered whether it is directed at them since they don’t put out a green food waste caddy. Their attempts to find out from Waverley whether there are any foodstuffs that should not be composted at home have not had much success. The answer is that, with the right methods and equipment, all food waste, including cooked food, bones and left-overs can be composted. You can find out more here.

Invest in future farms
The Ecological Land Co-operative is a social enterprise established to address the lack of affordable sites for ecological land-based livelihoods in England. Set up in 2009, the ELC purchases land, obtains planning permission, and installs the infrastructure to create smallholdings for future growers. The ELC has launched a public share offer to raise funds for the creation of two new clusters of small farms. For more information: www.ethex.org.uk/ecologicalland

Link of the month – random acts of wildness
Surrey Wildlife Trust, along with other Trusts, is encouraging everyone to put aside a little time each day in June to do something for nature. Its Random Act of Wildness scheme offers a pack of ideas and encouragement, with lots suggestions for young people. For more information see www.mywildlife.org.uk/30dayswild

Tree corner: English elm

Although magnificent mature English elms (Ulmus minor ‘Atinia’) have largely disappeared from the landscape as a result of Dutch elm disease, they can still be found locally in hedgerows and occasionally in woodland. Often, they only make it to around 15 foot or so, which is roughly the height at which the disease-carrying beetle flies. A small group of elms in the woods off Killinghurst Lane has escaped the beetle’s attention, with the tallest now around 35 feet – pictured. If you want to see mature elms, visit Brighton or Eastbourne. The latter has 10,000, which line many of its streets and parks.

April Newsletter

In this month’s newsletter:

  • TH green drinks topic: keeping bees

  • TH summer barbecue

  • community allotment: wanted helpers and equipment

  • and more!

Green Drinks topic in May: Keeping bees

The theme of May’s green drinks is keeping bees.

Dave Elliott, Head Ranger, Black Down, National Trust, will talk us through the joys and practicalities of keeping bees.  Thursday 4 May, 7.30pm, Royal Oak, Critchmere Hill

Future themes for our green drinks are:

Keeping chickens – Thursday 1 June, led by Jane Devlin

Trees and climate change – Thursday 7 September, lead by Clive Davidson

Running a small market garden – Thursday 5 October, led by Ed Brooks

Summer barbecue

July’s green drinks will be combined with our summer barbecue, on Friday 14 July from 6.30pm at Swan Barn, where the theme will be enjoying ourselves. All welcome. Bring your own food and drink. We provide the fire; the National Trust provides the view.

Soil – online resources

Notes from our recent informative and lively discussion on soil are now up on our website here.

Community allotment – helpers and equipment wanted

Want to be involved in growing a vegetable garden? Join our community allotment group – no experience necessary. We are planning to hold community working parties from end of this month. To find out about dates and how to join us for an event, please sign up for our TH Allotment Updates here.

You can register to join us on Saturday,  April 29th here.

Also, we still need more garden tools, watering cans, plastic trays for seedlings, guttering (excellent for pea seedlings) and roof felt for our little palette shed. Let us know if you have any to offer or want to join us by emailing us at info@transitionhaslemere.org.

Wanted – unwanted books

We sold nearly 40 books at the farmers’ market earlier this month and need to replenish our stock. We take all sorts, but are particularly looking for newish popular novels, children’s books and recent or classic cookbooks. A quarter of the profits goes to sponsoring trees in the National Trust’s orchard at Swan Barn and the rest towards our projects, such as our community garden. We will collect your books, or you can drop them off in central Haslemere. Contact us at info@transitionhaslemere.org.

Come listen to the dawn chorus with us

Wake up with the birds and join us to celebrate International Dawn Chorus Day. This is the time of year when the birds are at their most joyously vocal. We will be gathering in a wood near Grayswood from 4.30am on Sunday 7 May. Followed by coffee and toast round the campfire. For details of where to meet and to let us know you are coming email info@transitionhaslemere.org.

Chiddgreen AGM

The Chiddgreen AGM will take place on Wednesday 10 May at The Barn (nursery and afterschool club) on Coombe Lane in Chiddingfold. Meet at 6.30pm for a bluebell walk through a woodland planted 20 years ago, followed by drinks and nibbles and the meeting. Please let us know you are coming by emailing info@chiddgreen.org.uk.
(Note that the date is different from the one in last month’s newsletter.)

Link of the month

Following on from our green drinks discussion, here is a short video about the value and importance of healthy soil:


Movie: Before the Flood

Energy Alton is showing Before the Flood, a National Geographic documentary on climate change featuring Leonardo DiCaprio. Monday 15 May, 7.30pm, Wesley Room, Alton Maltings, GU3 1DT. For more information email energyalton@gmail.com.

Tree corner: Wild crab apple

In among the hedgerows and woodland around Haslemere you will find the native crab apple (Malus sylvestris) just coming into bloom with its pretty white flowers. Although associated with love and marriage in mythology, wild crab apples tend to grow singly. They will live up to 100 years, becoming gnarled, twisted and crabby – hence, possibly, the name. The fruits can be used to make crab apple jelly, or for their pectin in jams, or added to ales and punches. They are often planted in orchards as pollination partners for cultivated apples (which originally came from Kazakhstan via the Silk Road and the Romans).
Photo shows a crab apple in bloom near Furzefield, Haslemere

March 2017

In this month’s newsletter:

  • Soil – the theme of next month’s green drinks April 6th.

  • What we learned about plastic-free living

  • A report on TH’s community allotment

  • and more…

Soil – The Essence of Gardening
This month’s theme TH
 green drinks is all about soil.

Soils are the Earth’s dynamic ‘skin’ and an essential resource for human societies and most other ecologies worldwide. The quality of soil derives from a complex interaction of physical, chemical and biological processes which enable plants to get the water and minerals they need to be healthy and grow. So most of our food emerges from this soil-based foundation and life would be unimaginably different without it.

Hilary Neilson has spent most of her life up to the elbows in soil, so join her and other Transition group members at green drinks to extend your roots further into this marvellous and mysterious material, and share ways to improve the soil of your garden or allotment. Thursday 6 April, Royal Oak, Critchmere Hill

Plastic-free living – online resources

We learned a lot from Brigitte Kaltenbacher at March green drinks about how to reduce, reuse, recycle and rot plastic. You can find her notes with useful background and tips at: Plastic free living

Community allotment – an exciting start

Our first month at the allotment has been exciting, with ideas in the air now becoming plans on the ground. We are very grateful to Surrey County Councillor Nikki Barton for supporting us with a grant to help with set-up costs. The ‘allotmenteers’ have been meeting regularly despite cold weather and wet soil conditions. We have made a good start and are nearly ready to begin planting.

First tasks were to prune shrubs and trees on the plot, and clear a lot of rubbish away – broken glass, torn plastic compost bags, and even a trampoline cover. An old cold frame has been brought back into use and blackcurrant bushes and raspberry canes dug up for replanting. This clearance stage is almost complete.

It gradually became clear which parts of the site might be used for what. Wildlife area, fruit and vegetables, a toolbox or shed and, importantly, the sitting/social area. We also have to decide soon on the best layout of beds for vegetables, since some are already germinating on our windowsills and the season is advancing rapidly! We all have enthusiasms and an eagerness to try different growing systems and want to be as experimental and inclusive as we can while remaining organic.

We have also met our allotment neighbours and other growers at Collards Lane, and are already beginning to feel a part of the community. We hope other members will join us as the season progresses. For the moment, we meet on Wednesday or Saturday mornings 10 am – 12 noon.

Get in touch by emailing us: info@transitionhaslemere.org

Tree corner: blackthorn

For the past few weeks, blackthorn has been gracing our hedgerows and roadsides with its lovely white flowers, as the poet John F Deane describes:

“Blackthorn bushes in their shrouds of white
stir abroad, like familial, kindly ghosts
who tell us they they are angels now”

Link of the month – Our World

A new feature of our newsletter will be a link to a website with interesting and useful information about climate change, green community activities and sustainability. There are an enormous number of such sites out there, so we are starting more or less randomly with one we came across recently.

Our World is the magazine of the United Nations University and is focused on solutions to the global challenges of climate change, energy, food security, and biodiversity loss. You will find it at: ourworld.unu.edu/en/about

Surrey Wildlife Trust Rangers – an endangered species

Surrey Wildlife Trust has recently announced that it will be making all its rangers/wardens redundant in an attempt to save money after drastic cuts in its central and local government funding. We endanger our way of life and our children’s inheritance when we fail to protect our wildlife and their habitats. Surrey Wildlife Trust rangers play an important role in maintaining and protecting our natural environment in Surrey. A petition to save the rangers/wardens is at:

Chiddgreen AGM

Tuesday 25th April. Save the date – more information in next month’s newsletter.

Great news for the TH community allotment team this month!

Screen Shot 02-18-17 at 12.16 PM

Thanks to Nikki Barton, Independent Surrey County Council Councillor for Haslemere, for awarding a £300 grant. The allotment team will use the money to buy gardening equipment and tools. We soon hope to welcome everyone, and we are happy to share gardening skills.

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