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Sustainable Wantage
March 2017 Newsletter
The Mix
The Mix Logo

We're fixing and making in The Mix this March! If you've got something broken you'd like to bring back to life pop along to our Repair Cafe on Sat 4th: this time round, as well as household and electrical items, we can also guide you through basic bike repairs and we're offering tool sharpening (Scissors, Shears, Chisels, Plane Blades, Knives, Hoes, Screw Drivers, Drills,etc) for 50p per item.

Sharpen up your DIY skills building bee hotels on the 18th or get to grips with the basics with the lovely people from Bicester Green in Drill Baby Drill starting on the 23rd. We're also taking bookings now for Pallet DIY on Sat 8th April.

Re-made at The Mix
The Mix Calendar for March:
Thurs 2nd Remade @ The Mix - A networking group for anyone with a passion for re-making, re-purposing and upcycling.
Sat 4th
Repair Cafe
Tues 7th Monthly Craft night
Fri 10th -Sun 12th The Mix will be closed for re-decoration.
Wed 15th French Conversation and Coffee
Sat 18th Build a Bee Hotel
Thurs 23rd (also 20th March and 6th April) Drill Baby Drill
Sat 25th Safe Internet Practice -discussing online bullying
We are also offering a 3 hour
Essential First Aid course to volunteers on this day on which there may be spaces, contact
Jo if you would be interested in coming along.
You can keep up to date with Mix events via the Mix website, or on Facebook. Also check out the Market Garden Facebook page.

Satisfying Seasons - MarchSpinach

What's in Season This Month

Cauliflower, kale, leeks, purple sprouting broccoli, salsify, spinach, spring onions, swede, wild nettles.

From the website Eat the Seasons, where you can also find information about nutritional content, storage and preparation.

Crispy kaleRecipe

Nacho Cheese Kale Crisps

Kale is packed full of nutrients like calcium, vitamin K, and potassium. It bakes into a light crisp that’s satisfying and fun to eat.  There’s no actual cheese in these, so they're fine if you're vegan or dairy-free. Eat them fresh as they don't keep long. 

In the Garden

Preparation is key this month. Prepare beds for sowing; clean and organise the greenhouse; buy in new seed compost and order seeds. Planning a crop rotation helps prevent disease and makes best use of the soil's nutrition.

Compost binGive your compost heap a 'spring turn' to aerate and stimulate the contents. March is also a good month to empty out any ready compost. Spread compost, well-rotted manure or other soil-improvers. Organic material in the soil will stimulate the billions of micro-organisms that maintain health and fertility. Perennial herbs will benefit from some garden  compost or rotted manure. If you have a worm bin, it can be put outside at the end of the month.

Dig up any potato plants from tubers left in the ground from last year, they could be carrying the potato blight fungus. They can be composted, but smash them well first.

bees, there would be no fruit. You can attract them with clumps of borage, Californian poppy and bronze fennel. Flowers in all parts of the garden will attract beneficial predators, such as hoverflies, and thus avoid the need for harmful pesticide sprays. The poached-egg flower, Limnanthes douglasii, is useful around fruit bushes. Insects to encourage are ladybirds (will eat aphids), beetles (will eat slugs) and wasps, which will devour hundreds of grubs and flies.

As the soil warms up, apply mulches around/under established trees and fruit bushes. First remove existing weeds, then hoe carefully (avoiding roots) to expose pests to birds. Wait a few days, then mulch with well rotted manure, garden compost or straw and hay (up to 10cm deep).

Here's a link to what you can sow and plant in March.

From Garden Organic's monthly diary

WildlifeBrimstone, pussy willow and blackthorn.

The first butterfly of the year to emerge from hibernation is the yellow male and greenish white female brimstone. Bumblebees can be seen buzzing around on warmer days.

It's a good time to spot hares while arable crops are still short. Summer migrant birds will start arriving - listen for the repetitive song of the chiff-chaff in woodlands and scrubby areas.

A sure sign of spring are the furry looking catkins of the 'pussy' willow, found in damp places. In the hedgerows towards the end of the month the blackthorn (sloe) flowers. This shrub is sometimes confused with hawthorn, but the hawthorn does not flower until May and comes into leaf before the blossom opens. 

From When to Watch Wildlife.

Sleepy Bumblebees

BumblebeeIf you find a stranded or sleepy bumblebee you can help to boost her energy levels with a simple
sugar-water mix. Mix equal parts white sugar and warm water then pour into a small container or sponge. Place both the bee and the artificial nectar near to some flowers. You can also add your name to the largest bee petition ever.

From Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

Earth Hour LogoEarth Hour
25th March

Take part in the world’s largest demonstration of support for action on climate change. Join millions of people around the world by switching off your lights on Saturday 25 March from 8.30-9:30pm.

Date for your diaryDaffodil

Charlton Spring Festival
Thurs 13th April

Kids crafts and activities, Easter egg trail, live music, plant sale, bouncy castle, cream teas, cakes and treats. £1 adults, children free. Picnics welcome. Site not suitable for dogs.

Wantage Market Garden Project, The Charlton Centre, Charlton Village Road, Wantage, OX12 7HG.

Enquiries email Olwen or call 07527 201559.

In Brief

2016 was the hottest year on record, the third year running that the record has been broken. 

Next week the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, will publish the new Budget. Here is a letter you can sign which calls for a Budget that invests in cleaner air and energy.

Sandford Lock Hydro will generate 1,600 MWh per year - the equivalent demand of 450 homes, or most of Sandford-on-Thames! The Low Carbon Hub are launching another community energy share offer, to give people a chance to own part of this hydro system, earn a financial return, and make their money do good.

Flying is one of the most unsustainable activities, but there are lots of holiday options which don't involve plane travel. Here are
32 no-fly holiday ideas.

Plastic bottleGermany has a bottle recycling rate of 98.5% thanks to a simple bottle deposit scheme. A similar scheme is proposed for the UK. In an unexpected U-turn, after initially opposing the measure, Coca-Cola has now said they support trialling a bottle deposit scheme here. This article suggests 8 bits of plastic you can quit right now, to help keep our rivers and oceans clean.

Against the wishes of local people,
fracking company Cuadrilla have started work in Lancashire. However they haven't carried out the water testing they are required to by law. This petition asks the Environment Agency to delay drilling until tests are completed. Here is a video from the community involved.

Sweden has
pledged to cut all greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.

Out and About

Sat 25th March, 8:30am - 1pm Wantage Farmers' Market, Market Square, Wantage.

Sat 4th/Sun 5th March,
Women and Bicycles Festival (Oxford)

Sun 5th March Oxford Environment Fair

Mon 6th March Public Meeting - Creating our pathway to 2050 - Oxford acting on climate change

Sat 11th March ReFashion Swishing Event (Oxford)

Sun 19th March Small is Beautiful: Moss Walk (Abingdon)   

Green Drinks SW Social Green Drinks
Wed 29th March
7.30pm - 9pm In The Mix on Mill St
Bring your own tipple  |  All Welcome.

Sustainable Wantage

The following images are from flickr: Spinach by Clyde Robinson, Crispy Kale by Hamburger Helper, Compost by :Salihan, Brimstone Butterfly by NottsExMiner, Pussy Willow by PapaPiper, Blackthorn Winter by Amanda Slater (cropped), Bumblebee by Jice75, water by stvcr.
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