On a very wet January day when we were glad to be indoors, we all met at the St Nicholas Day centre for our annual allotment planning session.
Sarah began by asking - why do we plan? We felt it was so that we don't buy too many seeds that we don't have room to grow. It also gives us a chance to think about what we like and what we want to eat. There's not much point growing things we don't like!
Sarah asked the group to try to remember, what plants need to grow?
We agreed they need rain, sunshine and air - or oxygen.
We thought about what grew well last year. We thought that the runner beans, radishes, parsley, rosemary, salad leaves, squash, leeks, pumpkins, onions and potatoes all did well.
Sarah explained that not everything can be grown on the allotment. For example, it doesn't sustain cauliflower or sweetcorn growing well, because they need more regular watering than we can give them.
Some things we don't need to plant because they crop each year include: raspberries, apples, cobnuts, rhubarb and strawberries.
Sarah showed us a plan of the allotment we could use to help decide how many things we can plant.
Then we split into two groups.
One group looked at seed catalogues with Eleanor, and started thinking about what they'd like to grow. They cut out pictures and stuck them on a board, and wrote out the plants they wanted to see grown at the allotment.
The second group looked at pictures of the past range of activities and thought about future possibilities with Penny.
Whilst this was going on, Felicity Ann and Emma took members of the group to one side, one at a time, to go through a 'what we like and have learnt' questionnaire to help Flourish to understand what we're doing well, and to plan better for the future.
Also, Sarah took group members aside, one at a time, to look at secateurs - checking everyone remembers how to use them safely.
At the end we all gathered together to look at the wish list of plants and activities that we had created. Plants included:
Sweet peas and edible flowers
Then we looked at the list of activities people are interested in doing. It included:
First aid training
Visit to the Secret Campsite
Visit to Baulcombes
Visit by Michael Blencowe
We all felt it had been a useful and interesting morning.