Sowing the seeds…
On Monday we kicked off our new partnership project at one of our estates in Hounslow and what a great start it was. Matt from Groundwork was there to show us how to really make these raised beds blossom, and how to get the most we can out of them. He was able to give us hands-on tips, such as teasing out the roots of each individual plant as you place it in, so they are able to absorb as much water as possible for the best possible results. This week we planted our first batch of different vegetables: radishes, beetroots, gem lettuces, carrots, green beans and mange-tout; soon Petherick House will genuinely be able to benefit from all this handiwork!
The great thing about this project is the partnership of it; by having Thames Valley Housing on the team we are really able to make the most of the plan to get everyone in the community involved. At this first event we had some small interactions with local residents; one neighbour sat close to where we were working, and though he didn’t speak with us he was certainly keen to overhear what was going on. Danusia was approached by a mother and her daughter who was desperately eager to pick the mange-tout already – with the mother and Danusia explaining our need for patience and careful attention until they were ready to be picked. It seems we may have a small and inspired new green-fingered recruit from the estate! Our carefully planted beds had a narrow escape from one passer-by nearly toppling straight into them, which taught us invaluable lessons about not obstructing pathways as well as some of the trials and tribulations that our beds may encounter.
However, with six guardians now at Petherick House, four of whom were able to attend for this first session, we know the Edible Estate is in the safest hands it could be. Not only do we have some enthusiastic gardeners in the mix, but Eddie got involved sharing his business skills with us. Eddie’s ideas for diversifying the event, such as music to enhance the fun and appeal factor, coupled with his (and the others’!) enthusiasm for initiating a litter picking session in the same Monday afternoon slot, has given us grand plans for flyers, posters and means of engaging even more residents on the estate.
We were also able to introduce Eddie and Danusia to our West London old-hands Anne and Emma, who have already been plotting weekly litter picking sessions, organising a plant rota, and Anne and Emma were rescued from their temperamental oven by Eddie and Danusia’s discarded one. So all in all we had a successful afternoon from every angle!
We’re looking forward to seeing how things have developed next Monday, with some of our produce set to be ready to be picked and eaten within a couple of weeks! Following that, Matt from Groundwork has grand plans to replace the picked vegetables with smatterings of the same seeds, so our Edible Estate can remain edible all year round.
With so many successful food growing schemes all over London, it’s a real pleasure to have the opportunity and means to be part of one ourselves. Big thanks to capital clean-up for the grant and we’ll be sure to keep you all updated with how we’re getting along. Bring on the rain, the shine, and the fruits of our labour!