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An island of green productivity

Updated: Jan 16, 2019

"10 years ago, Phipps Bridge Community Garden was a jungle of head high brambles. After 6 months of hacking and bonfires and 3 tons of rubbish cleared we started digging. At the end of the first year we’d harvested ¾ of a ton of produce – and had a lot of fun and cake.

The fun and cake continues today… This month it’s been all systems go. We’ve sown radishes, peas, beetroot and beans. We’ve planted out lettuce, runner beans, broccoli, courgettes, pumpkins and sweetcorn, all grown in our poly tunnel. We’ve weeded the onions and garlic, pulled out last season’s broccoli and cauliflower plants, and dug out one of our big compost heaps to fill trenches where the more hungry veg are to grow. We’ve prepared a bit more ground ready to sow and plant out more crops. We’ve harvested the first radishes and broad beans, the last chard, some of the self sown lettuce (nature doing its bit for us!) and a small serving of delicious asparagus. There are a few artichokes nearly ready to cut, the gooseberries and currants are fattening up and the apples, pears and plums are starting to set on the trees.

I look forward to heading down to the community garden on Wednesday mornings. We’re a great team – everyone has their specialities. I deal with the excessive number of slugs and snails, and get great satisfaction from digging out couch grass, dandelions and bindweed and all the other hard to eradicate weeds. Other people look after the polytunnel, construction tasks, record keeping, seed buying, tool care and all the hundred and one other tasks involved in (more or less) keeping on top of a big allotment. But you can just get stuck into whatever seems most pressing and takes your fancy on the day. At 12.30 we down tools and sit down for a cuppa and some cake. If it’s a bit drizzly we have a linear picnic squashed in a row down the centre of the polytunnel, otherwise we sit round our table. Conversation is lively and ranges through football, politics, music, local events, garden pests, recipes, and lots more.

I had no idea that first morning when I got scratched and exhausted from hacking through the bramble jungle that I’d still be there 10 years later, enjoying the island of green productivity which is the Phipps Bridge Community Garden”


Community Gardening Champion


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