Thursday, 5 December 2013

Welcome Cressida

The fabulous Cressida joined us in the gardens this week 
as our new Community Gardener. She has already been hard at work
with our lovely volunteers - time for winter clear up in the garden!

a little bit about Cressida from Cressida......

I think I must have been a cat in a past life, as there is nothing I like more than being right in the middle of a flower patch. When I was a kid the garden was my domain, with the lawn covered in a complicated circuit of adventure (a climbing frame that I tied to a slide, that went into a paddling pool, with a see-saw waiting on the other end so you could spin dry after the workout) and that excitement of gardens has stayed with me ever since. My first gardening job was at Brighton Marina where I really got to grips with hanging baskets (all 300 of them), then worked in a graveyard where I toiled hours away delicately strimming the grass away from headstones. More than anything I loved the fresh air, whether it was boiling hot or pelting with rain, but I did miss working with people so I decided to work as a community gardener. I’ve spent the past five years doing so at Mudchute Farm and hopefully taught a few folk to do the basics like pruning (all together now, remove the dead, damaged and diseased). I’ve also been trained in ‘risky play’ and can legitimately teach kids how to use knives for whittling, and make fires for food. I’m delighted to be amongst a new landscape and look forward to exploring all the corners of Deen City Farm, and get to know all the staff and volunteers who really are the backbone of the place.

Favourite Colour - Red
Favourite Garden – Carrie Hepple’s Garden (fictional) and King Henry’s Walk Garden Islington (real)
Favourite Vegetable – Corn on the cob
Favourite Musician – Neutral Milk Hotel
Favourite Plant – Erigeron karkinskianus
Favourite Bird – Big Bird…oh no hang on that’s fictional again  so I’ll say House sparrow

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Autumn Has Arrived

The last couple of weeks here in the gardens we have really been enjoying all these beautiful autumnal colours!



Alex has been a star with helping to keep the leaves at bay.....

 And of course the chard is still going strong!!! Pretty much the only veg left standing in our garden beds :)




Thursday, 21 November 2013

Its good to have your head in the clouds

When was the last time you really looked up at the clouds?

 I watched a good TED talk the other day all about the sky and how much we actually notice whats above us all day.

To see the talk, just click on the link below...

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Merton in Bloom 2013 - Best Community Garden - Winners!

Whoop whoop .... tweet tweet ... beep beep
We WON Merton in Bloom 2013 - Best Community Garden

Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers for their super work throughout the year.
We just couldnt do it without you!
Also, thank you to all our kind visitors that come down to the farm and enjoy the project.

Very proud. 

A few of volunteers from the garden project on a wednesday.
Thank you to Merton Council for acknowledging the
Growing Gardens Community Project
 and all it does for the local community.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Cob building

Last night on Grand Designs you could see Kevin McCabe who is the leading living exponent of the ancient art of cob building. He was aiming to build his family castle out of cob. Kevin came to the garden project some 5 or 6 years ago to run our cob building workshop. Here are a few snaps Ive found from that weekend...






To see the episode on Grand Designs just click on the link below...

Cob is an ancient building material, that may have been used for building since prehistoric times. Some of the oldest man-made structures in Afghanistan are composed of rammed earth and cob.

Cob structures can be found in a variety of climates across the globe; In the UK it is most strongly associated with counties of Devon and Cornwall in the West Country.

Traditionally, English cob was made by mixing the clay-based subsoil with sand, straw and water using oxen to trample it. The earthen mixture was then ladled onto a stone foundation
 in courses and trodden onto the wall by workers in a process known as cobbing. The construction would progress according to the time required for the prior course to dry. After drying, the walls would be trimmed and the next course built, with lintels for later openings such as doors and windows being placed as the wall takes shape.

The walls of a cob house were generally about 24 inches thick, and windows were correspondingly deep-set, giving the homes a characteristic internal appearance. The thick walls provided excellent thermal mass which was easy to keep warm in winter and cool in summer. Walls with a high thermal mass value act as a thermal buffer inside the home. The material has a long life span even in rainy climates, provided a tall foundation and large roof overhang are present.

The cob with its Fizzy Bottle Roof

For more information about our Cob building and the Fizzy Bottle Roof Project please click here Fizzy Bottle Roof Project
For further reading about cob building a good book is...
Building With Cob, A Step by Step Guide by Adam Weismann and Katy Bryce. Published by Green Books ; 2006, ISBN 1-903998-72-7

Our cob building is located in the garden project at Deen City Farm, do come down and have a peek if you are interested!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

All bright?

What a cheerful bunch....

I just wanted to share this colourful bundle of heather plants I saw the other day! Im not too sure about the spray paint effect.
What do you think?

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Pottery workshop

We held a pottery workshop last saturday, which we want to share some photos with you from the day.

The workshop was held by expert potter Manda (Thank you Manda!)

People were invited to make their own plates and mugs, with the aim to take them home with them and treasure them, eat from them and drink from them. Its all about food and eating with us in the garden you see!

Here is a snapshot of the day...

A little collection of the beautiful plates and mugs. 

Very delicate pattern 

paper or clay?

Trying to dry the clay

rolling, rolling, rolling.


All the beautiful plates and mugs have yet to be fired in our kiln. watch this space to be updated on their progress!

Many thanks to everyone who took part!

For more information on other workshops we have on offer
 please click...

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Maternity Cover - Garden Manager job

Growing Gardens Project Manager
Maternity cover

Job Title:
Growing Gardens Project Manager - Maternity cover

39 Windsor Avenue, Merton Abbey, London SW19 2RR.

Organisation name:
Deen City Farm

Part-time across 3 days per week, including some weekend working.

Fixed term 6 month contract with the possibility of extension.

Annual leave:
28+ days pro rata including bank holidays.

£9.00 - £11.19 per hour depending on experience.

Employer contribution pension scheme available after 6 months.

Start date:
The successful candidate will be required to take up the post as soon as possible.

Terms & Conditions The standard terms & conditions of the farm will apply to this post.

We have secured funding from the Big Lottery Fund Local Food Scheme to further develop our Growing Gardens Community project. The Growing Gardens Project aims to provide a hub for the local Community giving opportunities to people from all sections in the community to engage in and food growing.

We are looking to recruit a Garden Project Manager to deliver and ensure the growth of the Growing Gardens Community Project with emphasis on delivering the specific outcomes within our Local Food Funding. There will be a particular focus on seeking further funding for the project. We are looking for someone with both practical and management skills.

To see more information about the project please see Full person specification and job description available from
For further information or an informal discussion about the post please contact Louisa Loakes on
020 8545 2178 or e-mail

To apply for this post please download the application form from our website and send it along with a covering letter and a copy of your C.V. to Louisa Loakes, Deen City Farm 39 Windsor Avenue, Merton Abbey London. SW19 2RR Alternatively you can email your application through to

The closing date for this post is 16th October 2013 at 5pm

Interviews to take place week commencing 22nd October 2013

With regret, only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Please note that the successful applicant will be asked to undertake a CRB check. Deen City Farm is an equal opportunities employer and registered charity, No. 1008028.

To view on environment jobs please click this link

Environment Jobs

or Deen city farm to download the application form, Person Specification & Job Description

Application form, job specification and person specification



Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Volunteers t.towel 2013 .... BEES!

Its here! Our 2013 garden volunteers t.towel.
Last year it was vegetables, this year it is bees.
Each bee has been drawn by one of our amazing garden volunteers at the farm, so many beautiful bees...

Avaliable in our farm shop
ONLY £3.00
What a perfect stocking filler! (sorry to talk christmas already!)

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Harvest Festival 2013... a glimpse of the day...

It was our Harvest Festival on Saturday and what a lovely day it was, even the rain managed to hold off for us. There was a beautiful atmosphere throughout the day, lots of fun, food and feasting. Here are a few photos I took throughout the day, which capture some of what was going on...   

The drive welcomed people to the farm, all you needed to do was draw your favourite vegetable...

Then through the entrance of the garden...

Our tea and homemade soup stall (veg came from the garden)...

Our wonderful bread donated by Millers Bakery who are local to the farm Thank you!

Our cake stall, with lots of donated cakes! Thank you to all who kindly contributed!

Pin the hat on the gnome...

Hoop the vegetable and take it home...

Proud vegetable winners!

Hedgehog horticulture...

Friends of the Earth and The bee cause

Melody Seal with her beautiful prints

Hook the duck on the pond...

Face Painting...

Rosemary's jam...

Our 2013 garden volunteer t.towel colouring in stall...

A bit of spoon carving...

and tree pruning...

Our collections for the wimbledon food bank The foodbank website


Sutton community Farm...

The Marvellous Magical wishing well and animal parade....

A huge Thank you to absolutely everyone who helped on the day and behind the scenes to make the event such a success in its second year running. 

Cheers everyone!