Resources from Audrey Miller

scrapbook iconMonthly meet up's in 2011

We now havce established group that meet on the second friday of every month. very informal chat over coffee. Activities mainly around swopping seedlings seed and tips. very enjoyable. Do come along any time from 10.00am until 12 noon.

Would anyone out there be interested to join a beginnerss group of food gardeners?
I wonder if it might help to have some one hold your hand when starting to grow your own food?
It would be good to share a few ideas on how this could be done in and around Birmingham.
I hope to start a pilot scheem in Selly Oak during February.
Do get in touch if you have already done anything similar ar want to join the group.

Growing your own food

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Contact number:

0121 471 4175
Start date:
End date:

Hoping to start a group of food growers in Selly Oak area of Birmingham who can share information and resources to encourage food growing in this area. Meeting informally over coffee on Friday mornings about twice a month perhaps from February on through the year.

SUBJECTS: cultivation of crops, fruit and veg, planting out, sewing the seed

scrapbook iconGrowing food without a garden

A two page summary of how to take the first steps in growing your own food.

scrapbook iconEat Local

This video made by group of local University students features Tom Baker another School of Everything teacher and I gives some ideas on how a few changes can be fun ways of changing your life style for the better.

scrapbook iconHome Grown health

Birmingham City University invited me to be an exhibitor at one of its recent events. I had a really enjoyable evening. Orgainsed by BCU MA students who are taking a course in Events and Exhibition Management itwas good opportunity to meet other SOE tutors and would be students. I look forward to taking part in other similar events.

scrapbook iconInternational growing session

My first ever international workshop included some six different nationalities. Ir is the first time I have been subject to live translation in a grow your own session.A new family from Iran at the World Friends group were pleased to have the help of a long serving Iranian to translate the fine details of my demonstration.
We all enjoyed the tasting of seeds and herbs and some took away the necessary bits and pieces to begin growing their own food.

scrapbook iconGrowing food and mental health

I was recently invted to lead a workshop for a Housing association on "Growing your own food".
November is not the ideal month to begin such a venture but sprouting seeds proved a good topic and raised some smiles from those who attended. I was really pleased because the participants all had some issues of depression and mental health.I am hopeful that we might even do some follow up session in the Spring.
It was a very worthwhile experience for me and I hope for those attending. Perhaps teacher satisfaction need to be included in SOE evaluation and the reveiw sections?
Audrey Miller

scrapbook iconWorkshop at Big lunch

Just wanted to share the success of taking part in the Big Lunch in Ward end park Birmingham. sixty children took part in the workshop and lots of adults joined in the fruit and veg quiz.
Liam Bryne MP came to chat at the stall and now know about SOE.
If teachers get an opportunity to have a stall at similar community festivals its a great way to meet possible students and test your learning materials. Plus being lots of fun.
Audrey Miller

scrapbook iconFood for free.

Another idea on the subject its its "just so easy". I have just eaten nettles fritters. Made by blanching one large bowl of nettle tips, then drying, seasoning well with ground nutmeg and adding to one beaten egg, before dusting with flour and frying in hot oil.
This almost free lunch came about after a trip to the allotment wild life area where we have a large patch of organic weeds.
The presence of nettles is an indicator of really fertile soil but this is the first time I have made use of the crop. perhaps you too have "weeds" that can be food?

scrapbook iconIt is just so easy

I want to nominate rhubarb as thee most easily grown crop on the planet. All that is needed is a sunny spot, some enriched soil and one planting session. Then it is just a case of letting it grow.
There is a special satisfaction in pulling rhubarb fresh from February/March time because it is one of the first crops to provide so many delicious dishes be they sweet or savoury.

scrapbook iconWhite house set to grow their own food

It is official the US First Lady Michelle Obama has joined the grow your own food campaign.The first lady is laying out an organic vegetable garden in the White House, which will be the first since Mrs Eleaner Roosevelt planted a 'victory garden' some 60 years ago.
When the First Lady of US sets to dig up the White House lawn we clearly have a high profile campaigner leading the Grow your own food army.

How will you react to the news? I suggest you take another close look at your garden how much lawn could you devote to a food growing?
I have removed some old rose bushes and replaced them with black current, goose berry bushes and blackberry climbers along the fence. Which gives me some added security too because of the prickles I doubt if anyone will want to climb the fence. There are lots of advantages to growing your own food not just cost exercise and environment but the important thing is to get out this very weekend started - March is key month for preparing and planting food.

Even if you don't have a garden remember you can still try sprouting seed on your kitchen windowsill
I am sure of one thing the President and his family will have lots of fun in the process of growing food and even more when it come to the eating of what they have watched mature for themselves.

There is an abundance of seeds in the shops and even fruit trees in my super market at the moment and its so easy to get help with growing plants event if you are first time planter. The web is the "know all" on all things green and your friends & neighbours will be only too willing to assist. Gardeners are such helpful people, wanting to spread the joy of growing where ever it happens to be in the world
Audrey Miller

scrapbook iconMarch Miscellany for Gardeners

March is just such a wonderful busy time for gardeners and so full of promise for the vegetable grower in particular. Decide what your favourite foods are then resolve to grow them.
I soak large seeds such as broad beans overnight before planting them in recycled yoghurt cups. Salad leaves and herbs often go in the same pot so that they can be cut to order from the kitchen windowsill pots.
But the key to successful croping is a plan of action with a few seeds planted at say fortnightly intervals rather than pouring the whole packet into your first planting.
Unlikly as it may seem you need to plan and time your sowings over the next two months and of course keep them warm, watered and give them the attention deserved for your favourite foods.

scrapbook iconTip for the week.

Have you bought your seed potatoes and begun the important process of chitting yet?
Take a trip to your local garden centre or in our case the local pound shop and buy early, second early or main crop potaoes of your choosen variety. Then place them in a light but cool room, end up so that the tiny "eyes" begin to sprout. By Good friday the sprouts will be visible and you will be ready to plant them.

scrapbook iconGrow your own Food

Audrey's "Grow Your Own" Blog

At the risk of sounding smug I am keeping to my New Year resolution to reduce my carbon foot print by eating more food that I grow myself. Despite those sub zero temperatures earlier in January I have with just water, warmth, air and a few jars above the kitchen radiator managed to get a very good crop of sprouting mung, aduki, alfalfa, chick peas and green lentil seeds.

Adding them to soups, stir fries and salads has proved a really fun way to get at least one of my 'five a day' of very fresh veg.

On the kitchen window sill a few smiling egg shell and jars have given me the first green shoots of an early spring with watercress, mustard and cress. it impossible not to smile back to them. Super family talking point for all and certainly provides the easiest way possible of being green.

To quote that' in' phase of the time "Yes You Can" now is the time for you too join in.

Even if you have a bad back, no garden or have never grown anything before, stir yourself into getting some seeds and become a sprouter.

The allotment is still providing leeks, sprouts and parsnip and with the stored onions and frozen fruit from last year I have eaten some thing home grown most days but it proves very difficult if I am traveling. I did hear some dedicated sprouters takes seeds in a toilet bag wherever they go!

I wonder if Stirrer readers realise that here in Birmingham and the Black country we have more opportunity than other parts of the country to take on an allotment.. The vast majority of vacancies(over a 1,000 at the moment) exist in the south east - Bordesley Green, Stechford, Hodge Hill and certain sites in Erdington - the west of the City is virtually fully let, as is Sutton Coldfield which has extensive waiting lists!

There are lots of health and well being reasons why Birmingham City Council should encourage more residents to take up these vacant plots. Perhaps we need a Stirrer campaign to increase the plots used by the end of 2009?
I have a few ideas on how it could be done but it would be fun to get your comments on the Forum.

The most significant step would be to half the size of the plot and allow a mentoring scheme so that those with know how can share experience with the new comers. I am grateful to the comments on the last blog for example when I mentioned the 'No Dig method'. a local gardeners who had used it for many years gave me some very helpful tips.

I have now bought my seeds for 2009 from Rathbone garden centre where I found the best selection of seed potatoes and vegetable seeds. Its great to be able to support such a worthwhile local charity garden shop. As we move further into the growing season you will find more and more super markets stocking vegetable seeds. 2008 saw vegetable seed sales out pace flower seeds for the first time.

There is even a campaign to get the VAT from seeds removed. Everything - even growing your own - is political it would seem!

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