BLIP blog archive: Sept 2010 to Mar 2011

This is the archive of the Bringing Land into Production project, ‘BLIP’ for short, from September 2010 to March 2011. What a transformation in just a short space of time! Many thanks to so many volunteers who have given their time so generously.

As some of you may know, we were not able to continue with the main site at Brixton Water Lane. This was a sad loss. However, many gardening projects are proceeding across the borough without the help of BLIP and things are slowly moving with the Demonstration Permaculture plot in Slade Gardens, having been held up with negotiations about the license to use it. The Vida Walsh garden has now been taken over by a local resident and is very productive. Following an evening focusing on food at the Loughborough Centre, discussions are ongoing about what direction we might take with the BLIP project. Watch out for more news and to join the discussion.

The main blip site is on Project Dirt (, though this is also currently being upated. You will find a Forum on that site, where you can post and respond to questions. To do this you have to sign up to join Project Dirt, but it is easy to do.

The photos below are from the Brixton Water Lane site unless otherwise noted as ‘Vida Walsh’, which refers to the Age UK centre in Saltoun Rd off Windrush Square, or the Oasis Centre in Stockwell, or Slade Gardens.

BWL 25.09.10: bed #1 nearing completion

25.09.10: bed #1 nearing completion


Mike sifting out rubbish

25.09.10: Mike sifting out all the debris such as glass, cutlery, cans and plates to make useable compost. The site used to contain a housing block so we're forever digging up interesting objects.


Bed 1 completed

05.10.10: Bed #1 COMPLETED. Bed #2 in progress. Discovered and excavated a path.


Beds 1 and 2 completed, polytunnel in progress

16.10.10: Bed #1 COMPLETED, Bed #2 COMPLETED, poly-tunnel in progress Bed #3 in progress

Polytunnel under construction

23.10.10 Bed #3 Polytunnel underconstruction

Polytunnel complete

29.10.10 Polytunnel 1 complete, Bed for polytunnel 2 well underway

Polytunnel and trolley sifter

06.11.10 Working on another polytunnel and 4th bed. Using trolley sifter, made by JP. Old trolley with quite fine chicken wire attached on the inside. This can be used when the soil is quite damp and the Spring box sifter gets blocked up.

Photo of polytunnel bed and ordinary raised bed side by side

16.11.10 I think we have put these two beds too close, but we can manage as long as we have the opening to each polytunnel on the out side of the pair.

Photo of polytunnel hoops with polythene cover blown off

10.11.10 We need to find a more robust way of pinning down the polytunnel. The site is vunerable to some quite strong winds.

Photo showing water tank on stand and compost bin

16.11.10 Garden furniture, Pam's compost bin, the water tank found by Corina and my stand constructed from scaffolding planks

Photo showing polytunnel and raised bed, with polythene staying in place with new clips

16.11.10 Third time lucky, the polytunnel stayed up. The four clips, designed to repair tents, grab the polythene and allow you to stake it down.

Photo showing plot with onions and garlic, both beginning to sprout

16.11.10 Onions in fore-ground doing well, garlic in back-ground doing very well.

Photo showing red and green chard and rocket - both quite small plants

16.11.10 Red and green chard doing well, rocket looks a bit stressed, it was a very cold night.

Photo of Oasis site showing pear and apple tree, compost bins and pile of pallets and scrap wood

21.11.10 This is the Oasis site at Stockwell, already have a pear tree and apple tree planted. Work on compost bins and leaf mould container well under way.

Photo shows Japanese knotweed having been cleared and piled up with incinerator bin

23.11.10 Plot 6 at BWL, cleared Japanese knot weed, burning last years growth and pulled up this year's. Intend to let this years growth dry over the next couple of months and then burn in Jan. Alot of the elder tree branches appear to be dead.

Plot 1 showing polytunnel and fleece covering the rocket, spinach and chard bed

23.11.10 BWL plot 1, fleece over bed 1, given dire warnings of cold over the next week or so I am hoping the fleece will protect our rocket, spinach and chard

Snow on the beds showing the polytunnel pulled down

04.12.10 The polytunnel saga continues, having managed to build it strong enough to stand up to the wind ... the snow pulls it down. However nothing is broken and it was easily repaired.

Broadbeans sprouting in the Vida Walsh garden and some herbs

02.01.11 Broad Beans at Vida Walsh, I think they must have planted them earlier than we did at Brixton Water Lane

Rocket and cabbage plants looking healthy at the Vida Walsh centre in the back garden

02.01.11 Rocket and cabbage at the Vida Walsh centre, proving that you can grow through very cold weather in a sheltered, sunny spot.

Two black compost bins stood either side of the gate (later these were moved to the garden)

02.01.11 Two compost bins provided for the Vida Walsh centre

Plot covered with sycamore trees before tree experts come to cut them down

08.01.11 We have tree experts coming on 1st and 2nd of Feb to cut down most of these Sycamores ... and one or two more, in time for tree planting day.

People on the London Orchard training

16.01.11 Training day for the BWL and Oasis site volunteers. The London Orchard Project team making sure we are ready for the planting day, 19 Feb, when we will be planting 3 fruit trees at BWL and 7 trees at Oasis

Planting gooseberry bushes along the fence

29.01.11 Planting a line of gooseberry bushes along the outside of the fence at BWL .. to act as a wind break as well as providing fruit.

After the trees were cut down, before planting

01.02.11 End result, now the sun can get through and we will be able to re populate with the plants and trees we want. The residents are delighted

Tree specialist with tree being cut down

01.02.11 Tree specialists on site to clear the self seeded Sycamores, so we can get the space and light to grow more productive plants and trees. Some of the wood will be taken by Local wood turner (Peter Noy - no direct relationship to me).

Tree surgeon at top of tree dealing with difficult branch

10.02.11 Some trees are harder to deal with than others

Volunteers helping to plant trees on Rouple Estate

05.02.11 BLIP members helping the London Orchard Project and local residents plant 9 Apple, Pear and Plum trees on Rouple Estate in Brixton. Looking forward to our planting day on the 19th Feb

Using an earth rammer made out of a tree trunk to compact earth

12.02.11 Ariel using earth rammer (thanks Robin) to stabilise the base before we lay paving stones

Base of the green house

12.02.11 Planning the layout for the base of the green house on plot three

Cold frame under construction - base of four planks shown

17.02.11 Cold frame under construction ... we have glass enough to make four of these.

Box for gardening tools made by a volunteer

17.02.11 This is a pretty impressive lockable box for our gardening tools. Made by Robin out of old scaffolding planks and a fire door off a skip. The holes in the corners are for poles so it can be carried to new sites if need be.

Slade Gardens - the area that may be available for a community garden - currently just grass

17.02.11 Slade gardens, the area we are looking at is the piece in the foreground up to the end of the hedge on the left. We think we could probably take on a larger area if the friends of Slade Gardens agree. In the background is the new TTB centre ... great for meetings with loos and a kitchen.

Beans sprouting

19.02.11 When I went back to the BWL site to pick up tools etc I noticed the early beans have sprouted in plot 6 .. looking very vigorous.

Volunteers planting a tree

19.02.11 We moved on to the main event at the Oasis centre in Stockwell. 20 or so people got involved in planting 7 trees including a Mulberry, two Cherries and a Quince. Tea and cake also contributed to a very satisfying afternoon.

Tree planting

19.02.11 Tree planting at BWL with resource and trees supplied by The London Orchard Project. Two apple trees and a plum tree planted in the end plot. we all got rather wet and muddy, but very pleased with the end result.

The finished greenhouse

04.03.11 Greenhouse finished. This was a massive effort to build from kit, many thanks to everyone who got involved. I am sure this will be an important asset for us going forward.

3 volunteers sowing seeds

05.03.11 Seed planting day ... lots done but we will need to do more. Also need to think about our watering plan to keep the seedlings in good shape.

Greenhouse shelving made by Robin

11.03.11 Robin continues to amaze us with his carpentry skills, making shelving for the green house out of wood pulled from skips.

Bath sunk into the earth ready for water

12.03.11 Bath pond ready for water, frogs and toads. Need to get a hose and plug for the bath.

2 volunteers with the crops growing

12.06.11 Well and truly 'into production'

This page created 20/11/2012 – the material was originally on the Project Dirt site. Caption comments are Mike’s original ones from Project Dirt.

Analytics Plugin created by Web Hosting