PEOPLE & CROPS

The garden was buzzing today.
The marjoram was covered in bees and there was a also constant stream of people coming in through the gate. There were new visitors and familiar faces, people with their dogs, a lady on a mobility scooter and her helper dog and a nice chef on a bike. Our artist neighbour Tim, with his dog, who had locked himself out and needed just the right stick to help him get in and the local blacksmith who cut down some oil drums in exchange for a nice bright blue one of his own. A friendly gardener presented us with a tub of Vaseline laced with copper sulphate to deter slugs and we were also instructed on how to make a stinging nettle fertilizer solution.
We made Lemon Verbena tea and sat in the shade talking and listening. There’s an archaeological dig going on near Seddlescombe, which we heard about because a friend dropped by to ask a question about suitable seeds to sow in the Autumn.
Times slows down without constant reminders from ticking clocks and radio news bulletins on the hour.

The hot sun is working its magic and reluctant tomatoes are beginning to ripen. Its hard to believe that we have only been open for nine weeks. In that short time we’ve grown chillies, beetroot, corn, cucumbers, cabbages, leeks, chard, herbs, sweetpeas, beans, squash and one miraculous cauliflower. And many new friends.
Everyday someone new bothers to walk through the gates to tell us what a great job we’re all doing and what a difference the garden has made to the street.

It’s simple and true that people like watching plants grow.

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SLOW DOWN THE SUMMER

We made the local Observer again this week when our MP Amber Rudd paid us a visit to admire the “work in progress” mural.  We’re expecting the Obama’s motorcade down Western Road any day now!

Our wonderful BEN EINE mural is complete and will brighten up even the darkest of days.

Days spent in the garden without clocks or hourly news bulletins seem longer but really, we could do with starting August again. Rewind. It is hard to believe we only opened the gates 6 weeks ago but we’re reminded when new people discover us and are staggered by what’s been achieved. But oh to start August again – that would be lovely. It’s not that anything’s gone wrong, just that we need more summer days so our corn grows taller and pumpkins get fatter. Thank goodness we planted courgettes in all shapes and sizes because they grow while your back’s turned!  Jan discovered this beauty on Saturday.

We’ve been mulling over what seeds we should be planting right now and the names on the packets are getting me down. They all have winter in the title but I guess that’s what seasonal vegetable gardening is all about. Looking forwards.
Right here in the present though we are loving our sun-trap garden and noticing some big advantages to growing in containers – there’s no digging, no weeds and not many slugs take the long slide across the shingle paths. Rick from Smith’s Real Food is keeping us supplied with fresh coffee grounds to sprinkle around vulnerable plants. Apparently slugs and snails don’t like a caffeine buzz.
But bees sure do love the Verbena.

Last week we had the first children’s playtime in the garden. Lesley Lambeth invited families from the Fellowship of St Nicholas along and it was magical to see the little ones making mud and getting grubby. They’re not invisible – this was taken before they arrived!
They’re back with us on Thursday so fingers are crossed for sunshine and lots more happy little people.

Cat is the member of our group who works culinary magic with garden produce. She grabs a handful of this and a pinch of that and suddenly we have a Frittata or a gorgeous salad bursting with funky flavour combinations that most of us would never have thought of. And so beautifully presented.

…and finally there’s great news of a different but equally satisfying kind.
Our ‘campaign’ to have to public loo’s around the corner from the garden re-furbished has been a success. The Council have received the message loud and clear and work will begin soon.   RESULT !

Ahem. Thanks to everyone who got behind this.

AND THEY’RE OFF…

The garden is such a suntrap because it faces due south and as yet lacks the softening
effect of trees or other greenery. It feels like the South of France at times but then the heavens open and we’re back in England. We’ve put this together in such a short period of time and are now playing catch-up with rotas, set opening times and a steering group. All these things will come to pass.

In the meantime, I’ve photographed the containers today and could practically see things growing taller in front of my eyes. The rain and sunshine have worked their magic and the dreaded slugs haven’t found us yet.


We have planted circles of The Three Sisters in 6 containers. Its an old Native American system where corn grows tall with a bean planted beside it to climb up and also add nitrogen to the soil. A pumpkin is planted in the centre of the circle where its broad leaves cover the ground keeping the moisture in and the weeds away.

Everyday new people come to visit and we’re starting to make a note of their wonderful comments.  Many require an exclamation mark….and some may need a few asterisks.

Feedback is good.