Days are growing shorter and some plants look straggly but nonetheless the garden still looks alive and loved.
This years successes were curly kale, peas, sweetcorn and (mostly green) tomatoes but the usually reliable beans and courgettes were few and far between. On the whole the sudden late hot summer hasn’t resulted in a great harvest – perhaps because winter hung on too long so we didn’t get the good start we’d hoped for.
It seemed that snails and caterpillars were the big winners this year as they’ve chomped their way through all our brassicas and are now enjoying the ripening tomatoes. We’ve all experienced the disappointment of reaching down to pick a luscious tomato only to find the ripe and ready beauty has already been devoured inside from the bottom up. Sneaky.
Flowers bloomed in the meadow and around the garden and really did seem to lift the spirits of everyone passing by.
We’ve held two Saturday events in the past month with the help of funding from Southern Water.
These follow the Feastie Beastie kids event and we have one more planned – A Harvest Celebration with pumpkin carving where we will join up with The Bohemia Walled Garden – details will be on our Facebook page.
Our Herb Day must have been the rainiest event day yet – ironic that it was sponsored by the water company! Undaunted, we gathered under the larger gazebo and listened as two experts gave fascinating talks on different aspects of herbs. Jackie is a medical herbalist who introduced us to easy-to- concoct herbal remedies and suggested ways of supporting good health by treating ourselves with the plants that nature has provided. Then we all made a dash for the polytunnel to enjoy lots of herb themed goodies that the garden volunteers had made. Savoury flapjacks, rose geranium and quince cake, rosemary and walnut shortbread and lots more served with freshly made herb teas got us in the mood to hear Elaine tell us about growing herbs and designing a great herb garden. Eventually the unstoppable torrential rain got the better of us and everyone went home a lot wiser but desperately needing to also be a lot drier and warmer as well!
Our most recent event was ALL ABOUT FOOD!
The garden was open for EDIBLE GARDENS 2013 which is part of The Big Dig, a national movement to encourage people to grow their own food on allotments and in community gardens like ours. The weather was a lot kinder to us this time, which is just as well with outdoor cookery as the theme. We had a mention in the press and posters were up around town so there was a good turnout including Council Leader Jeremy Birch Council and representatives from our event sponsors, Southern Water.
Hafiz provided a typical Sudanese vegetarian feast served with rice from our friends at the Laskshmi Mahal. Jan made a big pot of delicious minestrone using vegetables she’d picked that morning. We also had salads from Mooses’s Kitchen and plenty of teas brewed up by Peter who kept the Kelly kettle boiling all afternoon.
Most of all we had lots of happy people in the garden, sitting on straw bale benches chatting to each other, making friends and enjoying a meal together. This is what the garden was made for.
Next Saturday The Moveable Feast joins up with a garden themed exhibition as part of Coastal Currents. Dora and I are recreating the garden shopping trolley logo as an exhibit. Photo’s will be taken if it works – if not less said the better!
We haven’t had any news about a date to leave the site so plan to stay put until the time comes. We certainly wouldn’t want to pack up and go only to see this inspiring space return to the state it was in when we started here last April. For now all we can do is carry on as usual and see what the future brings.