Earlier this year, Phipps Bridge Community Garden joined Capital Growth's Community Harvest project; a fantastic initiative providing community food gardens with tools, materials and advice to grow more food for the local community, particularly those who need it the most.
Although the project has now come to end, the support we received made a big difference to our food growing activities and we are proud to share with you some of our Community Harvest highlights:
Over the summer months, many of our Community Champions have been out planting, tending, harvesting, and generally getting their hands dirty! Our team is normally too busy harvesting and maintaining the land to think much about autumn and winter crops, but the Community Harvest project made us review our activities and see how we can make better use of our land until later in the year.
We used the Community Harvest funding to buy crops which we planted and sowed right away, meaning that we are able to keep harvesting and donating produce to Merton's Community Fridge for several more months.
Merton's Community Fridge is feeding around 20 households each week, with food which would otherwise have gone to waste donated by Fareshare and several local shops and supermarkets, plus the produce from Phipps Bridge Community Garden.
In the year up until the end of September, we harvested 566.7kg of produce, equivalent to 7984 meals and worth £2525.84. The highlights in September alone were:
🌱 22.65 kg of beans (runner beans and french beans)
🌱 31.5kg of squash, some of which is still awaiting distribution in the shed
🌱 27.7 kg of tomatoes - which has created a lot of tomato sauce in people's freezers
🌱 13.8 kg of courgettes - though this is past the main peak of the courgette harvest in July and August
There will still be harvests of various types of cabbage, Brussels sprouts, chard, kale and celeriac, a few late peas and more beans, more squash, and a few courgettes to come.
Thanks to having more volunteers to help and additional funding from Community Harvest, we've been able to keep more of the ground under cultivation this year, which boosts productivity and helps to keep the weeds down. We're improving the soil quality by sowing green manure (quick growing crops which can be dug straight back into the soil before we plant next year's crops) and digging out one of our big compost heaps to lay the compost on top of biodegradable and weed suppressant cardboard.
We look forward to another busy growing season in the year ahead!
Community Gardening Coordinator, Sustainable Merton