Last weekend LWCG and Walkley Bank Allotment Society (WBAS) held their second joint fundraising BBQ. It was a lovely afternoon with food, competitions, childrens activities, an auction and live music.
It was great to see people that have been involved with the garden over the last 2 years and people that had no idea the garden was there so they were seeing it for the first time, and she was looking her best with all the tidying that had been going on, the seating that was out and the bunting and balloon decorations that had been put up.
Children were entertained with Lori’s excellent face painting and Amanda and Owen dug up some clay and showed the children how to make pots, an amazing amount of pottery was created by the children and all put on the tree to dry
A huge thank you to everyone that came along and to everyone involved. Hope you all enjoyed yourselves. We raised £400 which will be split between LWCG and WBAS. Thank you !!!
LWCG feels that it is changing quite quickly this year, although we have had just 2 official work days it seems that people are feeling more comfortable of taking ownership of the community garden as their garden that they can go to when they want and do some work there, or just enjoy the peacefulness.
further section of the path laid, 3/5/14 work day
The group recently put in a bid for a large grant from RHS which would have provided the money to create raised beds, develop an eco water system and get a poly tunnel, we did not succeed in getting the grant which was a shame but it has not made any difference to what is happening at the garden, it just means being more resourceful to make these things happen. It is amazing what people can create with things that others will throw away,
section of the mandala garden
The mandala garden was started last summer and Lori decided to develop it more this year to make it more of a feature, using recycled bricks that she has found in random places she is making the borders for each of the sections which will surround an archway in the middle,
A storage hut for tools has arrived which was kindly given by Karen and David, it is great to have somewhere to leave tools and other things and a place to shelter from the rain! Just need to hook up some electric to it so we can make tea.
This time last year the site was still in a state of clearance and the aim was to just get things growing, to get some food produced and to stop the weeds coming back up. This year the garden is getting a more designed approach, our original idea was not to have the 4 plots working as 4 plots and looking like 4 individual allotments but to have the area working together as a whole garden, this is what it is developing into this year.
A friend gave me “The self-sufficient gardener” by John Seymour about 14 years ago, it was written in 1978 and in it he talks about the change that took place from people using any land they had to grow food, to them becoming more interested in the status symbol of the lawned garden and how it was reverting back (in 1978) to self sufficiency again.
“But now, once again, the pendulum is swinging the other way. As food, and everything else, is becoming more expensive, there is coming about a great renaissance of gardening for self-sufficiency. People find that they are saving a significant part of their salaries by doing it, that their food tastes better and does them more good, and that their children are healthier. They themselves benefit from some hard work in the fresh air, and from being involved with the benign cycle of the seasons and with the satisfying process of helping nature create beautiful and nourishing food out of what is apparently nothing”.
All the benefits of growing your own food!
One of the massive benefits of lwcg is the knowledge that some of the people possess. It can be overwhelming when you realize your lack of knowledge about how food grows,how does the plant grow? how are you meant to look after the plants?, how do you know when they are ready to be eaten? where is the bit that you are meant to eat?…growing food as part of a community garden means you can share knowledge and also make less mistakes than you would if you were doing it by yourself. It is great that it allows people to learn about food growing and that knowledgeable gardeners can pass on their wisdom and experience to people that are eager to learn.
Winter 2012/2013 was really really long and the snow stayed around for ages, this worked in our favour though as it meant that by the time Spring arrived we were ready for it and eager to get going on the site to turn it into a garden.
The first work day was amazing, It was a huge relief that people actually turned up! About 14 people came along and got stuck into clearing all the overgrown brambles, which came down really quickly. The site transformed rapidly over the first few work days that were held; a large area was cleared of brambles and was dug over (really hard work, but a rotavator helped ! ) and buckets and buckets and more buckets of glass were cleared along with huge pieces of metal and pieces of demolished sheds which had been there from many years ago when the land used to be used for allotments. The garden was roughly divided into 3 areas, one area containing individual plots which families or friends could use for themselves, a mandala garden was created in the second area and was also used for general community planting , this area also has a beautiful tree on it which attracts any visiting children towards it to sit and climb on. The third area has herbs and other various plants on as well as a developing social area – seats and a table began to appear and suggestions of creating a fire pit, and a pizza oven were made.
People got planting as soon as they could, transforming the garden again into a lush, green, cared for space. We soon realized how good the soil was with the rate that things grew and how healthy the plants were, all sorts of things were growing – beans, kale, potatoes, salad leaves,onions, garlic, pumpkins, beetroot, courgettes… the garden was thriving and people were enjoying being there!
Lower Walkley community garden has been up and running for nearly a year now. The transformation that has happened in that time has been amazing (I think that was said quite a few times last year, usually after a work day).
I wanted to create this blog as a way of keeping track of the garden’s development; so much has happened in the first year that it is already beginning to get blurry in my memory what happened when and how and why…
So the garden’s history up to today is something like this – in Summer 2012 after a chance conversation with someone about the lack of available allotments on Morley Street and the frustration felt walking past a huge area of unused council land which could be happily used for allotments, a meeting was called and it became clear that many people felt that the land should be brought back into use for the community, but a large area of the land had been contaminated with asbestos some years previously.
Over the next 6 months a few more meetings were held to see what local people would like to do with the land, interesting conversations were had with various people that knew the history of the land and a committee was formed; a constitution signed in December and the council gave permission for an area of 4 allotments (which were not part of the contaminated land) to be used to create a community garden.First year, rent free. Whoop!