Within our Cultivation Street network there are individuals with amazing knowledge both about gardening and running community gardens. They understand first-hand the needs of organisations and can tailor their advice to this. Our tips for the month is written by Cath from Welsh House Farm Green Grafters community gardening group. Cath not only has endless enthusiasm, but also a wealth of community experience and horticulture qualifications. You can read more about Cath and the amazing work she does HERE>>
Community gardens would be nothing without the many wonderful volunteers who bring their inspiration and enthusiasm (and often cake!) to community gardens across the land. June starts with a week-long celebration of this with National Volunteer Week so it’s a great time to hold a volunteer party, awards evening or other event in the garden.
This time of year (hopefully) brings nicer weather. This can attract more people out to enjoy local green spaces such as community gardens. However, while not all of these people will be interested or able to get stuck into the muckier side of gardening, it can therefore be good to think of what other activities and facilities are available in your garden.
Food and refreshments are always a good feature and if you aren't in a position as a group to offer much, there could well be other local cooking groups or keen bakers who you could link up with.
Play areas for the little ones can be beneficial to families wanting to attend and having craft or other activities available can provide a bit of variety.
As various plants are getting ready to plant out now the garden can start to look quite different, and there is space to start sowing the later seed types in greenhouses or windowsills, but do keep some protection such as fleece or cloches nearby just in case the fickle UK weather throws some late frosts our way!
Keeping on top of things
It's probably getting quite busy and flourishing in the garden by now. There can be lots to do and with community gardens there aren't always enough people or enough time for everything. That's ok! It can be frustrating if the weeds get a bit bigger than you'd like or you lose a few seedlings due to not enough watering visits. However it is all part of the process and it's important to focus on the successes and what you can do.
Planning ahead and having things like timetables and job lists can be useful, as can prioritising some areas or plants over others. However do remember that at the end of the day it is likely that the purpose of the community garden is to provide enjoyment of the outdoors, socialising, exercise, or respite – so relax and enjoy as well!