Moveable Feasting


We realised the sun wasn’t likely to warm and ripen the tomatoes so they were all picked and now…
WE HAVE RELISH, PICKLES AND CHUTNEYS!

There’s been a lot of rain this year and its so funny to think back to the start when the hose pipe ban was in force and we wondered whether how we would manage to grow vegetables without water. Now we are quite waterlogged. Still, the marvellous poly tunnel has saved the day and our donated Keter shed is completely dry inside. Saturday volunteers Steph and Aileen have rigged up guttering along the shed roof to feed three water butts, so when the rain does stop, we’ll be ready. Our wormery is thriving too and Peter is running a compost trial with a DIY pallet wood version and a donated plastic bin. Both could do with some dry weather and sunshine. Another generous and game changing donation was our Storm Kettle from Eva in Luxembourg – more fun and less harmful to the planet than the gas stove. The design is sheer genius.
Our new horticulturist in residence Abby Nicol has started work in the garden and we know her knowledge of vegetable growing and natural enthusiasm are going to give us a real boost. We’ve been sowing seeds and making teas in the poly tunnel and our broad beans are especially awesome. They are shooting out of the seedtray and they’re so.. green and chunky and …broad.

Winter opening hours are now in force so the garden will be open 10am-1pm on Thursdays and Saturdays and 1pm-3pm on Sundays.
Please drop by, we love to welcome new visitors and old friends.

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GROW

It’s almost a month since our opening party and the rain eventually stopped only to be replaced by a heatwave. Plants love this sort of crazy weather behavior and they’re rewarding us by growing in front of our eyes.

Ruby Chard wins the beauty contest and the Giant Bed of Mints get the aromatic award. Rescue Corn was plucked from ta nursery’s compost pile by Dora who brought it back for some TLC and there are green shoots!
Our beds of Three Sisters Veg are thriving although Sister Bean was too weak to cling on in the gales and we’ve had to plant afresh. The seedlings are doing well and will soon be clambering up the corn.

We’ve had our first garden meal too. Krishnaa, a local lady from Sri Lanka
took away a selection of cabbage leaves and returned with a most delicious curry for our lunch. She shredded cabbage and fresh coconut very finely and gently fried it up with mustard seeds and served it to us with fluffy rice. And I was too greedily eating to take a picture but I will next time.

We’ve had a week of ups and downs. The meal on Tuesday made us feel that we are already achieving more than we dreamed of. The garden was buzzing with activity with new plants being donated and a nice new sun umbrella bought with donated funds to shade our first garden meal. New people discovered us, we had visits from our friendly local police and were able to give out fresh herbs and salad leaves for visitors to take away.
After a day like that we were shattered to discover that we had to close the garden for two days over an insurance issue. The Public Liability cover we thought we had would not be valid without another piece of outstanding paperwork and there was no option but to lock the gates in a heatwave. The site owners Roost came to our rescue and sent Mark their Maintenance Manager over to water the garden and the plants could almost be heard to gulp and relax. After a tense day and Sarah’s persistence, the new insurance came through at about a minute to five yesterday evening and we dashed in to water after another scorching day.
We’ve been keeping this a secret, but I began pestering graffiti artist Ben Eine through his assistant Steph, back in April. Ben is famous for his huge drop-shadow letters often seen on shop shuttering in East London and Hastings/St Leonards. I sent photographs of our wall to tempt him then updated them as we cleared the space . He said he would come and paint and we decided on the word GROW. Then we waited for our Planning Permission to come through and eventually it did at the begining of June and so did the rain which came down relentlessly. Every time Ben was in the country the rain was too and the prime growing space along a nice warm sheltered wall was becoming an issue. Other wall painters offered their services but I knew that if only the right weather and a gap in Ben’s busy schedule could coincide, it would happen and be worth the wait.

Well, last night Ben and his assistants painted our wall. It’s not quite finished as bad light stopped play, but they’ve promised to return sometime over the next week and after a complimentary meal at the Taj Mahal, I’m guessing they’ll want to comeback to Western Road quite regularly.

Our garden and its wonderwall have shone a very bright and positive light onto Western Road and its getting better all the time.

THE SHED

We harboured the idea of a shipping container (spot the nautical reference) and between the two of us Nicole and I have seen hundreds online in many states of repair and she has actually inspected three on a building site. We could picture the funky thing on the site, maybe with a flipped up front with a counter and someone serving portions of home grown soup. But that dream ended when we realised we’d need a crane to get it in place. That would cost the earth and involve closing a one way street. So we compromised and looked at endless  pictures of identical metal sheds online.
We had received a donation of £300 for a shed so we ordered a green one.  It arrived flat-packed in a large box and was surprisingly light for a 6ft x 8 ft building with a floor.  We should have smelled a rat and sent it back, but we’re desperate and a nice man called Peter who we’d chatted to through the gate said he’d give us a hand to put it up. That was yesterday.

Things got off to a bad start with Ollie cutting his finger unpacking the panels which meant he had to go to the doctors surgery on the first strike day in 40 years. They gave him a tetanus jab …and then he came back to help.

It really was a great day in so many ways, we had new volunteers who soon worked as a very efficient team, filling the wheelbarrow, running it across the site and filling the containers.

Then a wonderful thing happened – Lashmi (apologies for my phonetic spelling) and Bala from the legendary Taj Mahal restaurant brought the gift of us a lovely hot lunch.

After lunch the shed erection went on, and on.

The panels were wobbly, the fixings were fiddley and the weather turned piddley. Everyone with school-aged children had to leave and the rain began to pour down on us. We left the shed as secure as we could make it and the weather took a turn for the worse. The gales raged all night and I went down to inspect the damage just after 7am.

The shed was all wonky, ripped apart and barely standing and by ten it had fallen down and blown across the site. The weather was still wild, so Peter and I put our gloves on and dragged it to a safe place and piled tyres onto it to stop it blowing away.

Or….if this was written by a 5 year old ..
We got a shed and put it up.
A very big gale came in the night and blew it down.
The End.