Check out our new Growing Space

We are now very fortunate to have our own open air Growing Space generously provided by the Colwich Allotments Association.

When we think of a Growing Space let’s think more broadly than plants – let’s also think about Growing New Activities, Growing Skills and Growing Well-Being.

We need your input please – what would you like to see and would you like to get involved in any way?

How did this come about?

In a word, Unexpectedly… originally we were allocated a few raised beds to grow material for our Help Nature Thrive work. It then became clear that the beds were much better suited to another community project the Allotments Association badly wanted to support – a Children’s Growing Club. We were more than happy to relocate to an alternative, larger plot which has given us many more options.

What might we use the space for?

When we took over the plot it was very overgrown and the early spring weather was very challenging so we have had to be realistic about what we can achieve in 2024 and think ahead to 2025 and beyond.

We have started generating some ideas but we’d like to hear yours. Amongst the ideas so far are:

  • An outdoor meeting space.
  • A well-being area / sensory garden.
  • Hands on training sessions on gardening techniques.
  • A place for people to try their hand at growing their own in a small space.
  • Demonstration beds showing what can be done in small spaces – vegetables, flowers for pollinators, a mini herb garden, etc.

This year we have started our tree / hedging nursery to provide plants for the Help Nature Thrive project. Some SinCHers have attended an online series on this which was run by the Tree Council and the videos are available here.

We are using another part for growing vegetables and herbs with the idea of making soups to share at our Coffee Mornings. We also asked within SinCH for people who wanted to have a go at growing their own and so, this year, the other third is being tended by Lucy and Andy in preparation when they get their own allotment.

So how far have we got?

A number of SinCH volunteer work parties have made great progress in clearing the site of perennial weeds and removing a membrane that covered the whole plot.

The shed may or may not be usable but we have wrens nesting just inside the entrance door so we’ll have to leave it a while before assessing it fully!

Our intrepid work parties steadily cleared the site and it soon began to look tidy – but not for long – by turning over the soil we disturbed a multitude of seeds which then generated a rash of seedlings. That’s a good sign of a fertile soil so that’s positive news. But this has meant it has been really important to maintain regular hoeing to keep them under control and give our veg the best chance.

Re-use, Repair and Re-purpose

Allotments largely run on this basis and, in line with the SinCH ethos, we took a close look at the equipment we inherited. Some things were too far gone to be salvaged or re-purposed, but we have been left with some watering cans, a compost bin, some raised bed timber and a table and chairs – very handy!

We have also been recycling tree and plant material to build a prototype Hugel bed – more on this in a later update.

Luckily the Allotment Association were selling some old gardening equipment so for a donation to Katherine House we have sourced some excellent tools – older equipment is often much better designed that new tools!

Current work

Having cleared the site we now paying attention to the soil and getting some vegetables sown.

Promoting Health and Well-being

The positive benefits of a closer connection with nature are increasingly being recognised and our new project provides lots of opportunities for SinCHers and other local residents to get involved. Just getting your hands dirty has been shown to have beneficial effects!

Not to mention sunsets to admire…

There is also an increasing interest the health benefits of growing and preparing food which has not been ultra-processed or sprayed with chemicals. Growing Your Own is a great starting point – so why not check out our Green Fingers page for ideas on this.

Please get in touch by email or at one of our events if you have ideas or want to get involved. In any event, please follow our future updates – watch this SinCH Growing Space!

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