An annual summary by Christian Brodrick, one of our volunteers.
The community garden was set up in 2012 by local residents, when we were given funding from the Brighton and Hove Food Partnership to get ourselves started. A budget has now been given by the Friends of Wish Park to keep the garden going. We have a few ‘regulars’ working in the garden and are always happy to have more volunteers, either occasionally or on a more regular basis. No experience is needed, it’s good exercise, friendly, enjoyable and volunteers share the (organic) vegetables we harvest.
The garden is located on the Saxon Road side of Wish Park (a.ka. Aldington Recreation Ground), with good access by buses (1, 1A and 6) along New Church Road, plus on-street parking (with restrictions for non-residents between 10-11 a.m. and 7-8 pm).
We had more rain then we could have wished for in 2012, and, like most gardeners, we have had successes and failures. The tomatoes and potatoes were both unfortunately hit with blight that we believe was down to the wet weather. However fortunately we managed to harvest some of the potato crop.
The brassicas were terribly hit by pests, despite being covered with enviromesh, so caterpillar picking was a major task! In the future, we hope to have better protection.
The tall and bright sunflowers could be seen from all around the park and were a huge success – we plan to plant some more in the future.
Some shrubs/bushes were planted to give some weather protection along the south side of the garden.
In 2013, we had two very well-attended and hardworking Big Dig sessions that we hope to continue in the future. Lots of jobs were completed although the weather wasn’t too great!
Two wooden benches where built and installed, which will come in very handy when we have pick and cook sessions. These will accommodate our lovely recycled oak table that was made by a local park ranger, Chantelle.
We also installed a shed, which so far has done its job well by keeping all of our equipment safe and dry!
Frogspawn was put in to the pond with the hope that frogs would develop.
In the summer of 2014, a water butt was installed on the building opposite and a water roller was also brought to transport large amounts of water from the water butt to the garden with ease.
After a mixture of weather, most of the crops benefitted from the so-called heatwave although endless watering was needed all season!
After about 6 years most of the raised beds, if not all, were falling apart so we replaced the boards with brand new oiled boards. (see pictures below). A success over the year was the salad crop which tasted wonderful.
Annual maintenance was undertaken over the winter as usual – paths weeded, green manure planted and turned in, shrubs and bushes pruned.
In Spring, the regular weekly sessions on Wednesday afternoons from 16:00 started up again We planted brassicas, legumes, roots and the potato family, plus salads, courgettes, leeks, etc. in a four year crop rotation. The runner bean structure was blown down in the summer by the strong south-westerlies, with the beans having to be dug up early, but we still had a reasonably good and delicious harvest from them. The salad crop thrived and tasted wonderful. When we planted some for this year, it took so well we had to thin a lot of it out. Our tomatoes did suffer somewhat from blight, which is always a danger.
The purple broccoli is a favourite with us, but also unfortunately loved by slugs, snails and caterpillars. In the future we will have better netting that hopefully will protect them more.
This year we have replaced the worn out felt on the shed roof, and were grateful for the donation of some roofing felt.
A few sunflowers were planted, remembering our success with these back in 2012, and once again they gave a beautiful display and colour in the park. We also have rosemary, nigella, nasturtiums, marigolds and a few other flowering plants, which look beautiful and attract pollinators such as bees and hoverflies, which also benefit the crops.
With darker evenings, we are winding down the work in the veg garden for the winter months. In spring it will be time to start it up again. Keep watching this space for updates and information!
The veg garden in spring 2017.
The pond has been a massive attraction for families. Although sometimes it needs a lot of up-keep, it really is worth having! It is a lovely sturdy safe structure so everyone can enjoy it, from children to adults. It was built with an opening that is above water level and a ramp so the hoped-for-frogs can go in and out with ease. Water plants, tadpoles and a frog were donated. The frogs have multiplied and now return each spring to lay more frogspawn!
Frogsporn was spotted in the pond in spring 2017 and pictures can be seen below:
Community Compost Scheme
Compost bins have been installed near the garden and the scheme has been a massive success since it started in 2012. With so many people willing to take part we now have four bins, used on a rotating cycle! Due to a major problem with rodents, in April 2017 the best of the bunch have been relocated next to the existing water butt.
With Our Thanks To:
- Gerald Flanagan, who is the senior gardener in the park, the park keepers and rangers who have given us help & advise along our journey.
- Brighton and Hove Food Partnership – Who have given us funding to get started.
- Portland & Clarendon Healthy Neighbourhood Fund who have given us funding for wood to replace the raised beds.
- Friends Of Wish Park who have given us funding to keep us going.
- Brighton & Hove Community Compost Centre (BCCC) who have given us the compost at a discounted price.
Last Updated By Christian Brodrick on 14/11/17