The vision for beginning an Allotment Project at Eden House came from SI Bristol brainstorming how they could best respond to 2015 being Bristol’s year as European Green Capital. A piece of land approximately 20ft by 10ft was identified as ideal for an allotment. It is an Eden House allotment – volunteers from SI Bristol work under the Client Lead’s direction and garden by way of support to the Clients.
Week 1 – 7 April 2015
Four members of SI Bristol met with Penny, the Client Lead. Sue Oakey, a garden and allotment expert also came to advise on how best to plan the allotment and to give other useful gardening tips. The vision was to have a seated area under a tree planted with flowers, where Clients could sit and chat with their workers in confidence as well as plenty of fruit and vegetables that the women could use in the kitchen. It was agreed that, in the short term, just the initial four Program Action members would garden with Penny. This would help to establish the allotment and give Penny confidence before opening up the volunteer gardening to the rest of the Club. The Garden Club is on a Monday morning between 10.30 and 12.30.
Week 2 – 13 April 2015
Liz, Lucy and Penny dug over part of the allotment and planted rocket, lettuces, cabbages, onions, potatoes (in planters), sweet peas (in a large pot), and seeds of chives, coriander and parsley in a herb bed.They also planted a row of strawberry plants then stood back and admired their work!
Week 3 – 20 April 2015
Penny was unable to come this week but left instructions for what to do. Another Client, Val, joined the group which was good. Val sowed rocket seed and watered the plants and seeds from last week which were doing well. Liz and Pauline cleared an area of turf and turned the soil. Val helped pile the turfs to one side of the garden, out of the way.
Week 4 – 27 April 2015
Penny was unwell so it was just Liz, Pauline, Val – the Client from last week, plus one new Client, Fran. Penny had not left a ‘to do’ list, so Liz, Pauline and Val continued with turf removal to create a greater area for planting. Val also weeded between the already planted rows. Fran sowed radish, spinach, leek and beetroot seeds and watered them in plus watering the seeds and plants already in situ. All the plants were looking good and growing – the onions were beginning to shoot well and flowers were out on the strawberries. Val’s rocket seed, sown last week, was germinating fast!
Week 5 – 4 May 2015 – no gardening – Bank Holiday
Week 6 – 11 May 2015
The garden is really looking good. The only failure has been some Butternut squash that has died. Penny was away for 2 or 3 weeks but the ladies kept watering the plants. We – Liz, Lucy – planted chard, runner and dwarf beans, and Penny and Client Sue transplanted the tomatoes into larger pots – fingers crossed that they will survive outside. The next thing to go in will be courgettes but we need to make more space by cutting out a bit more of the grass. Liz will bring some long canes for the runner beans on her next visit. The strawberries should be fruiting in a couple of weeks – lovely!
Week 7 – 18 May 2015
Rain stopped play today! Penny was not in Eden House today and, with the rain, no one else was available for gardening. Pauline H took two courgette plants for Penny which were put in the Laundry Room on the window ledge. The rain eased off for a while and Pauline took some photos of what the garden was looking like. A couple of the tomato plants were looking a bit sad but will probably recover. The row of radishes were a bit spasmodic but will no doubt recover with the rain. Everything else looked good. See below:
Pauline met Client Val, who had helped earlier with the garden, she said she had watered the plants when she was at Eden House and it was dry. Eden House garden had inspired her to garden at home!
Week 8 – 25 May 2015 – no gardening – another Bank Holiday
Liz and Liz working hard this week! Everything is doing well and the strawberries are beginning to ripen off! Canes for runner beans in place and Liz N looking satisfied!
Week 10 – 8 June 2015
Liz did a stint at the Eden House Garden on Monday – just Penny & Sue from Eden House were there. Sue brought a grape vine which was planted in a pot by the tomatoes. Everything is growing well. The runner beans were staked and the potatoes, which were flopping all over the place, were also sort-of staked. Some more salad seeds were also sown. The excitement was picking 3 strawberries! Some of the herbs are ready to be picked and the lettuces are almost there.
Week 11 – 17 June 2015
The offer to help with the Eden House allotment is now open to all SI Bristol members! Although it was agreed that one of the original gardeners should be there each week for consistency. Sue and Lucy gardened on Monday. The crops are coming along well.
The garden was weeded and watered and Sue and Penny picked 7 strawberries. The sweet peas are coming into bloom and Penny was encouraged to pick them, so that more will grow.
Week 12 – 22 June 2015
Penny was unwell this week so only Liz and Pauline were at Eden House to garden. There had been plenty of rain overnight and all the plants were looking good.
Sweet peas in flower – (pictured with Liz)
- Strawberries ripening by the day. Folk at Eden House have enjoyed eating them. More picked today.
- Lettuces are heartening up well but aren’t quite ready to harvest.
- Tomatoes that have set now need some feed.
- Herbs are ready to be picked
A lot has been accomplished in under 3 months!
Liz and Pauline cleared some more turf alongside the courgette plants which have also taken well. They’ll suggest to Penny she could plant some purple sprouting broccoli and cabbage ready for the winter and spring.
Photos paint a better story …