Grow It Yourself – February

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I really must quote from a pamphlet I found in my Dad’s desk; a facsimile of “The Gardener’s Monthly Directions etc” published in 1688 and re-printed in 1980.  It says: “FEBRUARY. Now the Weather begins to alter, although sometimes January be open and temperate, and this Month severely cold, yet to the most part the inclining of the Sun to the Vernal Equinox, doth produce a moderation of the past colds, and encourage the ingenious Gardener to trim his Trees, and stir his Ground, mixing his rotten Dung in the digging thereof, for the setting and sowing of Beans, Pease, … more

Arlesey Winds of Change

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So, plans for a turbine at Arlesey have been re-submitted!  Here at TTL, we think wind turbines are beautiful, especially considering what they achieve. But, wouldn’t a turbine be even more beautiful if it were owned by the local community, so that they would get all the benefits, financial as well as in terms of cheaper electricity? (And hopes of ever so slightly preventing catastrophic climate change) Would you prefer a turbine, or a frack well-head?  Sadly, if there is tight oil or shale gas under Arlesey the town will probably get a well-head whether or not they have a … more

Grow It Yourself – January

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If you’re all worn out from Christmas and New Year celebrations, you’ll be pleased to hear that there’s not much to do at this time of year in the garden, unless you want to plant shrubs and trees.  Winter is the ideal time to do just that. Mark Diacono (who some of you may be familiar with from Otter Farm, River Cottage, and his articles in the Daily Telegraph) has some interesting suggestions for planting an edible hedge. Mixed fruit and nut bushes which grow well together not only provide you with food but also attract wildlife. He suggests mixing … more

Grow It Yourself

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This is the first in a series of monthly Grow It Yourself (GIY) blogs from Diane, one of TTL’s most keen and experienced fruit and veg growers.  These will be a regular feature so if you have any questions or topics you’d like covered, please leave a comment. December in the Garden There’s not a lot to do outside at this time of year now that the garden has gone to sleep for the winter, but there are things you can do in the comfort of your armchair, e.g. planning next year’s crop.  When planning your plot for next year, … more

Fossil Free Europe Tour

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Friday November 1st saw 12 of us at The Hub, watching a live feed, over the internet, from the final event of the Fossil Free Tour from London.  The tour was arranged by 350.org, Operation Noah and Planet and People Bill McKibben, of 350.org, presented the numbers – 2° is the temperature rise that scientists agree can happen before the climate changes in disastrous ways. 595 is the number of gigatons of carbon that, if added to the atmosphere would cause that temperature rise. 2795 Is the number of gigatons of carbon which fossil fuel companies declare as available to … more

TTL’s trip to Cumberlow Green Composting Facility

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A group of five TTL members visited Cumberlow Green Composting facility on 3 October, togged up in our wellies ready for a wet farm yard visit.  We were met by Mark Simpkins (Contract Manager for Hertfordshire County Council) and James Hodge (the owner of the site), who both gave us a tour. We were seeing the site which for obvious reasons was after the day’s work had finished and the workers gone home. Each day the collecting lorries take their morning’s collection straight onto the weighbridge at the front of the site. HCC pays for the weight of each load delivered and … more

Thoughts on the IPCC report…

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In recent days the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued their 2013 report concluding that they are 95% certain that humans have caused most (by which they mean pretty much all) of the global warming in the last sixty years.  What’s more, 97% of climate experts and peer-reviewed climate science studies agree. If Environmental Health said you were 95% likely to get food poisoning from your local restaurant, would you still eat there? Probably not.  And yet some people still persist in the belief that the science about climate change is not certain enough to convince them of … more

Comments on the proposed new Design Principles for Letchworth

The LGC Heritage Foundation’s preview of the draft Design Principles which govern the changes householders can make to their properties have really got us thinking.  Many of the problems Ebenezer Howard wanted to solve when he set about creating our Garden City are still relevent today. The Town & Country Planning Association (TCPA) are the modern day incarnation of the Garden City Movement and their manifesto recognises that climate change and resource depletion are two vital challenges we must address in the way we plan our towns and organise our communities.  Personally, I feel Howard would agree with the TCPA … more

National Self Build and Renovation Centre visit

By Roger Lovegrove The energy group was triggered into arranging this visit because of the Heritage Foundation’s new Design Standards appear to prevent any heritage area house being clad in external insulation. There are about 7,500 pre-war houses in Letchworth that have solid brick walls with no cavity. 22 local residents were coached to Swindon for what turned out to be a very interesting and useful day. The visit was very illuminating, being a useful mix of focused presentations, guided tours, one on one sessions and free to roam time amongst 400 exhibits and 3 full size houses. Before cladding … more

Letchworth Shopping Challenge – How much choice is enough?

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Some of you may have been wondering why things had gone a bit quiet. I have realised one of the stumbling blocks to a Christmas present blog….It all has to be written in the run up to Christmas! So apologies for the extended gap in posts. I have been busy shopping (and baking, writing, wrapping etc) so I’m now going to do my best to make a few last posts to bring you all up to date with how I’ve got on. So, rolling back a couple of weeks, I was still in the midst of shopping (I am a … more