Tolworth community garden

10 07 2013

In this beautiful sunny weather, Ruth and I ventured into new territory last Saturday with a short permaculture session right beside the A3 in Tolworth.  There on a roadside verge is a burgeoning community growing space and we had agreed to run a short intro to permaculture course for the budding growers in the group.  As is often the way, we soon found people with lots of and a diverse range of gardening experience; I love this because it adds a richness to what we are doing.

We began the morning with a quick pattern name game to warm things up, using a pattern to make throwing 3 balls around a circle easier than if it were left to random chance.  Then straight into the web of life; inputs, outputs, connections and beneficial relationships in the web and what happens when things go wrong.  I find this a very powerful way to start to explain how nature works, and it was great to take a step away from getting stuck into plants!  We then tried something new by getting pairs to ‘meet a plant’ and were amazed at what was uncovered and how a few of Holmgren’s principles are so immediately and obviously visible in just a single plant (leaves, stem, roots and all).  With a whirlwind observation of nature under our belts we were ready to get into the design part of the morning.

The roadside verge in question is seriously lacking in soil, nutrients or much plant life – although the community have been working hard to change that and Saturday was another chance to add to the already growing selection of annuals and perennials making this back end of Tolworth a much brighter place.  We had been lucky to acquire a number of donated plants including some borage, sedum, sorrel, aubergines, lettuces and peppers and with two raised planters prepared by me from some offcuts of wood from my recent building project and some free well rotted horse manure we were ready to go with first planning and then planting up the planters.  Photos coming soon of the amazing results!

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