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A one-acre permaculture project, The Castle Garden produces food for The Castle Cafe, acts as a venue for events, is an educational resource and is an important local wildlife habitat.

February: Wassail

People gathered around the fire to sing songs led by the Castle Choir whilst children made recycled musical instruments and helped to hang cider soaked toast in the apple trees for birds. A Wassail is a traditional celebration of orchards, the rituals performed help to ensure a good and plentiful harvest for the coming year.

Like the proverbial pig in muck, I’ve taken a genuine liking to jumping in the compost bins at the Castle during my garden apprenticeship. It’s a place to witness first hand the circle of life as scraps from the cafe and climbers rots and turns magically into dark rich compost that we then use to grow delicious new vegetables in.

We are in the season of autumnal abundance, with harvests occurring all over London’s gardens, growing sites and city farms. Hedgerows are plentiful and trees are laden with sweet fruits ready for the picking. Yet in many gardens around the city a great deal of fruit falls to the ground every year simply to return to the earth rather than feeding people. At the same time as this natural supply is ready to drop, the UK is importing apples and pears from countries as diverse as France, New Zealand and the South Africa.

Once again The Castle put on a successful garden party to say thank you for our customers support over the year and to celebrate the centre's achievements.

Sean Hearn is the Castle's resident beekeeper and all-round expert on everything bee related.

Not only is Sean the keeper of our bee's and a Garden volunteer, he also manages the Apiary at Hawkwood with the help of the bee team and support from OrganicLea.

"We throw away approximately one million tonnes of clothing a year - 50% of which ends up in landfill" - North London Waste Authority

The bees and butterflies made the most of the warm, calm bank holiday weather, as did a huge number of visitors to The Castle enjoying the day and taking part in a whole range of walks, talks and activities on this year's May Day event.

A couple of years ago The Castle was approached by Dan, a climber at the centre and director of Dizzy Spell Films. He had an idea of making a film about the work that has (and is still) been done in developing the Castle into an ethical, sustainable business. 

This 30 minute film follows Steve Taylor, CEO and the brains behind our holistic approach. He explains what we have achieved so far (up to 2013), including ethical procurement of goods, eco-friendly waste disposal, recycling, lighting, heating, and insulation. 

Garden trainnes Lucy and Lorena 2014 season

This season we are looking for two volunteer trainees for our garden

Herb trainee (Mondays) Kitchen garden trainee (Thursdays)
 

Work with the Castle garden team, learn to manage a productive and fun food growing project and grow vegetables, fruit and herbs for a commercial kitchen and café.

Lucy Nacson-Jones, Castle Garden apprentice 2014

Apprenticeship at the Castle 2014  - by Lucy Nacson-Jones

The Castle garden is one of those sought after places in the Big Smoke that give you a moment’s peace from the hustle and bustle of the city, and I have been lucky enough to be doing the apprenticeship there since May.

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