Pat Harris writes about the first Transition Shipston Garden Share...
With a patio the size of a double bed and a yearning to grow vegetables, my meeting up with Sharyn Singer was very fortunate. Sharyn has a large garden and has been growing vegetables successfully for many years but has more commitments than you can shake a pea-stick at and so she was looking for an extra pair of hands.
We spent a glorious spring day at Ryton Gardens in the coffee shop, planning and selecting seeds and then we started on the garden. I had just been on a short permaculture course, which had fired me up with ideas, some of which we hoped to carry out in Sharyn’s already well-established vegetable plot.
We started by clearing out a three-sided garage, which would make an excellent wet-, and hot-, weather tool shed. We scoured the local tip for sides to mark the existing vegetable beds. We wanted to make raised beds but there were already some plants over-wintering from the previous year so we did not want to disturb them. Sharyn, by years of hard effort and bags of manure and compost had already transformed the heavy clay soil into a good growing medium. As we started in February we used the permaculture method of warming and nourishing the soil by putting compost from Sharyn’s compost bins, manure and then cardboard on the bare beds and then covering with black plastic. Through the wind and rain we happily planted seeds in small containers, weeded and piled up degradable matter in the compost bins. Coffee was drunk and dreams dreamed. In this garden share we tended to work together, getting twice as much done for a single outing than if Sharyn was on her own. There are many other ways of garden sharing but this was a friendship exercise and working together in the coiling, sprouting greenery that is our natural habitat, is priceless.
As the season has progressed plants have grown and produced and we have had successes and failures, but the garden has given lots of pleasure and there are always ideas for the next time.
For more information about the Transition Shipston Garden Share Scheme contact Becky Stuart-Harris, email@example.com