Looking backwards & And forwards

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Looking back at photographs of the site before it became The Moveable Feast its really hard to believe that it wasn’t very long ago. We came up with this crazy plan and stuck with it, convincing ourselves and one another that we could make a community garden to grow vegetables and that people would help. And they did.

Friday 15th June..the day before our first work-party

Friday 15th June..the day before our first work-party


Levelling for the pathway

Levelling for the pathway

Sign-writing garden-style

Sign-writing garden-style


Life revolved around the garden and everything else seemed less urgent.
Somedays we were overwhelmed by people’s generosity, like when our friends from the Taj Mahal restaurant appeared with huge dishes of Biriyani and bottles of Coke to sustain us and Bala made us special concoctions of iced yoghurt with herbs and spices to cool us down and give us energy. When all we needed was a Skip, French’s lent us one for a morning and strong people answered the call to fill it up. Working hard and laughing together.
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We set a date and the garden opened. BBC South East filmed in the morning and it all came together miraculously by six.
The opening party

The opening party


A few weeks later in the sunshine of wettest summer since records began, Jan brought a camping stove and made us tea in amongst the growing bags. Happy Day.
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Amidst all that people brought plants they’d grown from seed, and Dora’s pals at Greentip Growers donated about 500 tomato plants and before we knew it we had crops!
And flowers...

And flowers…


Everyone who spends time in the garden has stories to tell and for me one of the days I’ll never forget is when an elderly Sri Lankan lady came with her carer and asked to take some cabbage leaves home to cook. She returned with a most delicious feast of shredded cabbage stir fried with fresh coconut and garlic and some other amazing food. We all sat in the baking hot sun and shared the food. Those times you cannot choose or buy – they’re the gift that comes when you step out of the humdrum and take a chance.
The months have been documented in this blog so look back and remind yourselves how far we’ve come.
Today I went to the garden and met up with Cat. We walked around and saw that the garlic and onions are doing okay, the broad beans too. There are some soggy bits and straggly bits and in places the garden needs tidying up but we’ve passed the shortest day and look forwards to Spring. I hope there’ll be snow before then and we can all get together and build a snowman.
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE
PS. this is what I picked in the garden today…..
Artichoke, beetroot & baby carrots picked 29/12/12

Artichoke, beetroot & baby carrots picked 29/12/12

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THE OPENING

This is a quick post. The garden opened last night and the team effort has achieved a staggering amount in the past week. We started as a group of women with a plan and now there’s a community garden but we couldn’t have done it without the men who came to help us. It’s great that they weren’t fazed by joining up with the Wonky WI – so thanks Kevin, Mark and Peter in particular.


We’ve got tons of great pictures but I wanted to quickly put this one up.
We had more trees than we were expecting delivered at lunchtime so spent a couple of hours of concerted effort clearing a new area, getting tyres, having more compost delivered, and planting them out.

It was beautiful to see happy children playing tag around them 3 hours later!
More pictures to follow soon.

One sad thing – our thoughts go out to the insprational Incredible Edible in Todmorden who have experienced terrible flooding which must have swept much of their planting away.

IT’S TROWEL TIME

The past month has been a bit of a slog to be honest. We’ve shovelled hardcore, carried buckets of bricks and raked up things we would rather not have. The weather has thrown everything but snow at us and though none of us would have chosen it we wouldn’t have missed it for the world. We feel like we belong here now, in a way we never would have if professionals had prepared the site for us. Now we’re ready to grow.

I picked up plants we bought from Friary Gardeners then Nicole and I went to the Hastings Garden Centre to choose our £200 worth of plants. We did a bit of a ‘garden centre sweep’, smiled for the photographer and raced back to offload. Half an hour later I  planted our first plant,a bronze fennel, in our herb bed.

We had so many new people come over to see what’s happening and half our time is now spent talking and explaining this wonderful community garden idea to passers by.
The concept of a group of people clearing away the ugly and inviting people they’ve never met in, to grow and share will take a while for some to grasp. Others simply get it straight away and before we have time to finish the intro they’re asking where the gardening gloves are and filling a wheelbarrow.

On Monday a team from Quadron Services came to help us in a big way and one of them was the actual Mayor of Hastings who shovelled shingle in a high viz jacket alongside the rest of us all morning.
The BBC have been in touch and plan to come and film us for BBC South East on Friday.
And so it grows.

Our new friend Peter was a stalwart of last week’s doomed shed building and took its destruction on the chin. So he’d absolutely earned the fun he had recreating our logo today by planting up the abandoned shopping trolley we found on the site.