Your Herbal Plans

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I’ve heard from just a couple of people so far about where they plan to plant herbs and what they plan to plant this year. I’d love to see more photos and hear of your herb plans and antics. Please send any photos through to Lynn.Shore@gmail.com or whatsapp them to 0627596930.

It would be great to hear from more of you so that everyone can pick up ideas.

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The seeds above are destined for planting in two patches of ground close to the home of one person on the current RoH course. Elodie den Otter already has this geveltuin and has adoption plans for an abandoned geveltuin nearby. If those seeds take well to the patches, I’m sure that they will look beautiful, taste great to insects and provide some useful herbal materials for Elodie to use!

Posted in Herb gardens

Sunday 17th March – Next Session in Watergraafsmeer

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I had planned for Spuistraat to be the base for the second RoH session but I want to wait for advice on how to make our efforts stick before starting anything there. It would be such a pity to start on Spuistraat, knowing that out efforts were almost bound to flounder. Let’s get going with easier sites first.

So the Session Two start point, on Sunday 17th March (10.30 start) will be the children’s playground in Fraunhofferstraat, in Oost Watergraafsmeer. That whole street has  treepits which could easily benefit from some herbs, it’s very close to my home (and geveltuin) so I’ll be able to keep an eye on things and it’s a neighborhood where the treepits get relatively low traffic and abuse. There is also an interesting stretch of bare, soil-rich treepits close by, on the Middenweg, which we can check out and Frankendael park is a block away for some inspiration.

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We’ll look at:
Your herb meadow plans,
Ways to multiply your herb plants,
Seed sowing tips,
How to help young seedlings and
Some interesting ways to use street herbs.

Feel free to bring along:
A small gardening tool if you have one (trowel, hand fork etc),
Your session one booklet/ herb meadow plans,
Spare herb seeds and baby plants to use or share with the group.

How to find Fraunhofferstraat:
It is a side street off the Middenweg.
Tram 9 (halte Hugo de Vrieslaan) , bus 65 (halte Middenweg).
If you’re not sure of the best route, try checking the journey planner, 9292ov.nl

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Posted in Course

The Spuistraat Challenge

Spuistraat is in the very centre of Amsterdam and gets a lot of use.

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It features a mix of historic buildings, modern buildings, homes, businesses, hotels, smartshops, eating places,

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a policestation, University campus and lots of tourists!

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Some residents have tried to smarten up and green the street.

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Some such efforts have stood firm.

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others have been vandalized by passers by.

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The tree pits have very limited space for planting, they need to be reinforced due to the amount of foot traffic …

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skillful parking

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broken glass

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and so on.

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It has no underground garbage disposal at present, so domestic and business garbage is dumped into the reinforced tree pits and driveways such as this, throughout the week.

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There seem to be many obstacles stacked against Spuistraat becoming part of the River of Herbs and yet many reasons to try to make it happen. I think that a coordinated effort is the only way to give plants in this street a chance to make a positive impact. Without it, the garbage, bikes, cars etc will remain on the treepits and the city workers who try hard to clean up the street, will not realise that we are trying to work with them by adding herbs.

I’m very interested to know your thoughts on how to improve this street with herbs. Perhaps you have heard of organisations who can help in such situations? Perhaps you know of businesses who want to spend some money on greening projects and may be worth contacting? If you have any thoughts or contacts, please let me know! I am sure that if we can help to herb-up this street, we can do it anywhere but I don’t want to make the volunteers involved downhearted by putting in effort only to see it demolished in no time at all.

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Posted in Course, Tree pits

More frugal seed pot ideas

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Thanks Lynne Dunstan for sharing this link to 8 free or frugal seed/plant pot ideas. The website is called Prairie Homstead and the ideas in the post include using scooped out avocado and orange skins to get your spring seedlings growing.

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Posted in Growing

Course Dates and Times

Calendula

Here are the meeting dates and times for the first River of Herbs course (Spring – Summer 2013):

10.30 – 12.30 for all the meetings and the venues will alternate between Oost / Oost Watergraafsmeer (near Park Frankendael, Oosterpark or Linneausstraat along tram 9 route) and Spuistraat (Centrum).

Sunday 10th February (Oost)
Sunday 17th March (Spuistraat)
Sunday 28th April (Oost)
Sunday 19th May (Spuistraat)
Sunday 30th June (Oost)

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Planning a treepit

I’ve been using my River of Herbs session one booklet, to plan a new tree pit project.

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After noting down key facts about the location:
Very sunny,
Bikes get parked sometimes,
Established tree in middle,
Dog toilet at present.

I then moved on to thinking of herbs which I especially like:
Calendula,
Hollyhock,
Sunflower,
Violets/pansies,
Fennel,
Marshmallow,
Nasturtium,
Rosemary,
Lavender.

All of these plants, could in theory grow there. So then I moved on to sketching a quick plan:

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I’m sure that I’ll look at the tree pit again in the morning and realise that there are far too many plants in my sketch but I think it’s worth a go. After all, there is no problem in changing the plan as time moves on. I’m also well aware that some of my seeds may not germinate, some plants may not survive and if everything does grow then I can easily thin them out. Surplus plants can be given to friends or used to fill another tree pit with beautiful herbs!

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I then began to think about how to build up my plant stocks to enable me to create this little herb haven. I have some seeds so I’ll use those and have noted on my calendar when to get going with sowing seeds (early March onwards). I’ll try germinating some inside on windowsills and others directly into the tree pit soil under plastic bottle cloches (Sunflower). I think I’ll look out for violets/pansies and fennel at the local garden centre and I’ll take some cuttings of Lavender and Rosemary from plants I already have.

I have my eye on lots of local tree pits. Many seem really ripe little patches of land, just waiting to be planted!

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If you have started to plan your herbal tree pit, it would be great to know how you are getting along. Do send through any photos and thoughts that you have to Lynn.Shore@gmail.com.

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Posted in Tree pits

Seed sowing

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Child’s play – Here’s a little planting project from my daughter: She used a plastic tomato package as a water tray and protective cover, along with an egg box filled with soil. You can buy soil in small 5l bags, from Albert Heijn if you are not close to a garden centre.

We sprinkled in a mixture (held in the blue mini bin) of Calendula, Green Shiso, Welsh onion, Chives and Parsley. She choose these from the packets we found from seed collecting last year and gifts.

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The tray was left in a warm spot for 24 hours and look at it now! The photo was taken 36 hours after planting. I hope we can keep the plants going inside until it’s warm enough to plant them outside.

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Posted in Uncategorized