The Giving Garden
This is what we at Pierremont are calling our community garden project. We have been building good relationships with the community around Pierremont for some time now and so the idea to develop a community garden growing fruit and vegetables seemed just the right thing and at just the right time. As the houses directly around us are terraced housing with no gardens (although some do have small flower beds at the front) we are happy to be sharing our garden.
As a pilot we have, so far, dug out about 1/3 of the borders around the lawn, no mean feat considering the bushes and shrubs there have been resident for many years. We use our lawn a lot so didn't want to lose that un-necessarily. The area planted so far is about 6 feet wide and about 80 feet long, giving us an area of approx 480 square feet, lots of lovely planting space. On top of that we have pots, troughs and other odd things with food growing in them.
We also have a spectacular den, a tiny pond to attract wildlife and a 5 star Bug Hotel with its own front flower garden, pre booking not always necessary! We kicked the whole thing off in the Easter holidays with three days of solid work, and rain, but we got a good start on the digging and managed to begin planting in pots. We had more than 50 people helped over the three days.
Others are getting involved too. Reid Street school is just a stone's throw from us and there too we are building great relationships. They are keen on growing food but don't have any land so just have to plant in raised beds and containers. We have offered them the piece of garden that runs down the other side of the church (Vine Street side) a strip approximately 6 x 70 feet and we will work with them on this. The charity Ground Force have been very interested in the project and have recently sent us some much appreciated manpower for a day.
A few of our neighbours have popped in to help, even a couple of mums from our toddler group, and then there's Jean. Jean, we have discovered, lives opposite the garden and came over one Thursday evening to chat and told us how thrilled she is that she can look into the garden and watch the progress. She said that she wasn't able to come and dig but hoped this would help and handed over a big block of chocolate to share. Jean, plus chocolate are regular Thursday visitors and she has been invited in to sit, have a cuppa and chat with the workers.
As I said this year is a pilot to help us see what we can grow and what we can do with our produce. The plan is to share with our neighbours, Perhaps a soup lunch, maybe giving gifts of jam or chutney, perhaps excess veg, we've already been able to give out some herbs and salad leaves.
In the future we hope to get bigger and use our produce and facilities to partner with others in cookery courses, lunch clubs etc. That will of course require better facilities than we have at present but we've made a great start and with the local community getting on board with this who knows where it will lead.
We want our garden and church to be accessible to all. We do have a young chap who has been with us about six years now who is a wheelchair user and it isn't easy for him to access both church and garden together. So we have plans to make a path from the garden gate, across the lawn and joining with an existing path and then a ramp on to a decked area that will be built level with the back door of the church. This is something we are seeking funding for.
So far we have funded this project ourselves with a few gifts from businesses in the town and plan to use the proceeds from a sponsored walk in June for the garden.
If you are in the area or just interested then pop along and if you feel inclined bring your wellies, we'll loan you a spade, and Hey! This is Pierremont, we always have the kettle on.
Growing this year;
Potatoes, beetroot, beans, peas, tomatoes, cabbage, carrots, leeks, onions, pumpkins, cucumbers, salad leaves, herbs, spring onions, strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, apples, pears and damsons.