Community fruit and veg garden
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Photos taken on Wish Hills by Paul Gorringe, Park Ranger
Updated and maintained by Christian Brodrick.
Wish Hills were created in the spring of 2013, funded by The National Lottery, Southern Land Services and Friends of Wish Park (FOWP). They were created to provide a habitat for wild flowers, which in turn would attract butterflies, bees and other insects.
The two hills, bisected by a gravel pathway, lead to two benches providing views across the park. A chalk area, created along the top of the hills, provides soil conditions similar to those on the South Downs.
The hills have been planted with local wild flowers and those observed growing include:
comfrey, borage, white and pink campion, cowslip, poppy, oxeye daisy, wild carrot, buttercup and birdsfoot trefoil.
Butterflies seen on the hills have included skippers, painted lady and white letter hairstreak (this being on the endangered list as it lives in elm trees).
The hills are maintained by the volunteers from the Community Veg Garden with the help of the park gardener & ranger. The grass is strimmed in spring and autumn and then removed, helping to reduce the richness of the soil, creating conditions which wild flowers favour.
A rope ‘fence’ was installed round the base of the hills to indicate their need for protection. This was removed in 2016 as it was rotting and is due to be replaced shortly.
Thistles, nettles and dock need to be frequently culled as they can dominate the other wild flowers. Spring bulbs have been planted around the base of the hills, and more wildflower seeds, including yellow rattle which helps to reduce the vigour of adjacent grass, have been sown each year.
When the elephant sculpture was built in the children’s playground, the excess soil was used to extend one of the hills, and this too was planted with yellow rattle.
Last Updated By Christian Brodrick On 25/04/17
Interested in gardening and growing your own food? Live in West Hove, Aldington, Portslade or thereabouts?
There is a forgotten patch of unconsecrated ground behind St Leonards Church on New Church Road, waiting for some residents to help cultivate it. The site is roughly the size of 2 allotment pitches and is currently covered in scrub and piles of branches.
Why not come down on Sat 2nd Feb at 2pm, find out how you can get involved and imagine what this space could become?
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or ring 01273 431700.
Spring is here and we have started work on the community vegetable garden. We have built a pond from wooden sleepers, which will take time to settle and needs some finishing touches – a ramp will be built for frogs and any other wildlife to make their way in via their own special entrance, plants added and the liner given a final trim. It is above ground, so is safe for any small children who may be around.
Jack and Will’s parents kindly donated the money for the liner and further funding came from Southern Water. And, as usual, Pete came to the rescue and built the pond from the sleepers. Read the rest of this entry »
It was a day to celebrate when residents planted our very own Wish Park Orchard on a sunny day on January 7 2012. A host of local people turned out to get involved in the planting of six different varieties of Sussex apple trees and two plum trees alongside the community garden.
The new additions to the park were provided at a greatly reduced cost by Brighton Permaculture and their partners Action in Rural Sussex, who promote the growing and harvesting of local fruit. Two of their team – Bryn and Stephan – came along to help dig and plant the trees, assisted by many children and adults.
Park Rangers Chantelle and Paul brought logs from Stanmer Nurseries to create a ‘stag mansion’ – an ideal shelter for stag beetles and other mini-beasts. Local children joined in with the digging, learnt about a flammable fungus called King Alfred Cake and identified beetles which we hope will be attracted to the new habitat.
Robin van Creveld, the Community Chef, set up his kitchen outside the pavilion and prepared delicious apple and butternut squash soup, apple and vegetable stir-fry with goat’s cheese on flatbreads, and drop scones with caramelised apple and vanilla cream – wonderful and much appreciated after all the digging.
The sun shone and helped make this a very successful start to the new year. The orchard is part of the Wish Park Residents Association’s plans to bring more variety to the park, while continuing to provide facilities for footballers and cricketers.
The vegetable garden has flourished so far in spite of the long periods of dry weather, thanks to Gerald and his team regularly filling up the water bin so we could keep watering. The garden has attracted a lot of positive attention and comment from other park users, with other gardeners giving welcome advice and tips on veg growing. Passers-by may also occasionally benefit from a handful of vegetables if we are picking at the time.
The potatoes fresh from the ground in June tasted wonderful, as did the onions, carrots, radishes and beetroot we harvested over the summer, along with peas, tomatoes, strawberries and raspberries. The runner beans and sweetcorn were battered by the strong winds later in the summer but the beans in particular cropped well. The rainbow chard, with red, yellow or white stems, looks attractive and continues to provide fresh greens, along with the spinach. The courgettes are probably giving their last hurrah, having produced the occasional marrow because the plant was so big we didn’t see some courgettes hiding among the leaves.
Sunflowers and sweet peas planted by the Under-5s Nursery in the Pavilion looked great and added colour, as did the nasturtiums randomly coming up in some of the beds. Winter jasmine and evergreen honeysuckle have been planted to cover the pergola over the seat on the western side. The flowers attract pollinating insects, as well as looking pretty. The runner beans in particular had masses of ladybirds of different types swarming in to feast on the aphids. Unfortunately, our netting over the brassicas we have planted to over-winter acted more as a barrier to the cabbage white butterflies getting out than getting in to lay their eggs and the purple-sprouting broccoli leaves look like a new lacy variety. We will have to do better next year, with a finer meshed netting. The good news is that only a very occasional intrepid snail ventured across the grass, across the bark chipping paths and up the side of the raised bed – how did they do that, we wonder.
Current plantings include more beetroot, cabbages, red cabbage, turnips, parsnips and garlic, with some green manure seeds sown in empty beds – field beans in one and phacelia, which has a pretty blue flower, in the empty spaces of another. These are intended to protect the soil over winter, taking up nutrients and then being dug back in to the ground later.
Weekly working parties on Wednesdays at 5pm were introduced over the late summer/early autumn to cope with all the picking of crops, tidying up and fresh planting that was needed, but with the winter and dark nights approach these are coming to an end and we will revert to the fortnightly weekend working – first Sunday in the month at 10am and third Saturday at 9.30am. Anybody interested is welcome to come and help, children come with their parents, and produce is shared among those working on the plot. We are learning as we go along and having fun. Recently we had a cook-in on site, making lovely vegetable fritters using chick-pea flour over a portable gas stove. Delicious!
Permission has recently been given for an extension which will allow the construction of three extra beds, and early in 2012 Brighton Permaculture will be helping us with planting some fruit trees nearby.