All posts by melissapritchard

Seedling Swap 2019

Saturday 11 May saw the annual seedling swap at the craft market in Cross and Pillory. We run this event each year and rely very much on locals and regulars to supply a wide variety of interesting  vegetable, herbs and flower seedlings to fill the stall. We had a busy time with both customers coming to swap seedlings with those on the stall, or to take away small plants for a donation.  We did make slightly more on donations than the last two years so thank you for your generosity if you participated.  If not please visit us next year. See our posters around the town or check out our newsletter for event timings.

Seedling swap stall with a good selection of lovely plants

The weather was kind on the day and we had plenty of interest in our stall. We always have plenty of runner bean plants, tomatoes plants and a selection of peppers and courgettes, and herbs including parsley, thyme, rosemary and many others. We had plenty of flowering plants too including geraniums and sweet peas. The stall changes in content as customers come and go. Some people come with the surplus seedlings they’ve grown, having attended the seed swap earlier in the year. The system is the same and there were some seed packets available at the seedling swap too.  Donations are used to help with plants, compost raised beds and the like for the plots and planters.

Grow Alton

On a warm sunny Saturday in late March we came together with the Alton Horticultural Society and the Alton Allotments Association for the first time to run a joint event to inspire Altonians to ‘Grow Alton’.

The first sight to grab visitors’ attention was an impressive array of second hand tools ranged against the Assembly Rooms garden wall, most of which had found new homes by the end of the afternoon. Some people took their new possession over to the stall opposite to be sharpened. Gardeners had also brought their own from home – keeping Hilary busy all day.

Tool sharpening

People got their hands into the dirt sowing some sunflower seeds, or making a grass seed head. In the hall the smell of baking wafted through the air as children made cheese and herb scones – pronounced delicious and incredibly easy.

Scone making

At our stand we talked to people about getting involved in our plots and planters around the town, and even starting new ones in their own neighbourhoods, continuing conversations over a cup of tea or coffee.

Barbara shared her knowledge on all things composting and Ellis shared tips on ways to cut down on watering in the garden.  More information and advice was on offer in the wide variety of second hand books and magazines to be picked up. Gardeners selected new seed varieties to try from the mini ‘Seed Swap’.

Visitors left inspired for the new growing season and with new, or renewed, knowledge of the many growing and gardening activities and groups in their community.

Visitors at one of the stands

Crispy curly kale


200g curly kale, shredded, washed and dried
Olive oil
1tbsp. sesame seeds – optional
Demerara sugar – optional


Heat oven to 200 degrees.

In large bowl, mix kale, oil, salt and sesame seeds, so the kale is coated.

Spread out on baking tray, sprinkle with a little demerara sugar, and roast for 15–20 mins, turning halfway through. The kale should be partly crispy, partly soft.


Stuffed Tomatoes


4 large tomatoes
85g cooked peas
85g cooked sweetcorn


Halve the tomatoes, scoop out the pulp and mix in a bowl with the peas, sweetcorn and a little salt and pepper. Pile this mixture back into the tomato cases. These can be served at room temperature or cooked for a short while in a moderate oven.