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>>
Engaging with the community
May is a great time for garden open days and other activity sessions as there are two Bank Holidays, and a Half Term holiday, so a good opportunity to promote your garden and set up some events such as plant sales or picnics.
This is about the time of year the flower show season is starting in earnest and these are always good for a day out for any gardening enthusiast. However, did you know they also present some great opportunities for community garden groups? There are some exciting chances for groups to exhibit at these shows, whether with a small border or a full show garden for the more ambitious group.
You can also get in touch with your local show as there are often schemes to donate plants and materials to local groups once the displays are broken down at the end of the show.
If you haven't done so already this is a good time to make sure areas of the garden are well mulched and well-watered. Keep an eye on the weather forecasts for dry spells and, remembering how dry it got last summer, giving the garden a good preparation with a good water followed by a thick mulch will help to mitigate watering problems later in the summer.
Speaking of water, are you making the most of the natural water supplies to your garden? If there are any roof spaces that are not currently utilised for water collection, get hold of some guttering and add in more water butts to collect as much of the rainfall as possible.
Look out for suitable containers for water collection and storage. There are many things that can be found quite cheaply or free that can be adapted for this process – look out for used IBC's (Intermediate Bulk Containers) that can be used for water, or as large planters as done brilliantly by Core Landscapes in London.
Plant or seed swaps
If you're like me and find it hard to sow just the right number of each seed and are left with far too many tomato plants for the space you have and want to leave at least some of the community garden for other plants, then this can be a good time of year to organise a plant swap day. There are likely to be other groups or individuals in the same plant overflowing boat who would welcome the opportunity to share their excess!
If this story has inspired you to become part of the Cultivation Street campaign, register for free now to take your community gardening project to the next level.
You’ll receive an array of free resources, from seed packs, Calliope® plug plants and planting calendars to seasonal newsletters jam-packed with gardening advice, ideas and success stories to whet your gardening appetite. You’ll also be given a chance to win big in the annual Cultivation Street competition, which has a staggering £20,000 to giveaway to school and community gardening projects that are changing the lives of people across the UK.