Community Gardener Lizzie Oldroyd joined the Edible Gardening team in May, here are a few of her reflections on her first growing season at RBGE;
The fingertips are nipping again now, as another winter rolls around. With all the punnets of soft fruit long since harvested and growing into a fuzzy memory of longer days and t-shirt weather, I now have time to reflect on my first growing season as Community Gardener at RBGE’s Edible Gardening Project.
First that springs to mind is the generous welcome I was given by the project’s volunteers; hard-working and knowledgeable folk who sow, weed, edge, mulch and harvest on Mondays and Tuesdays, as well as sharing their enthusiasm with the passing public of gardeners and soon-to-be gardeners. There is a sense of community here, and I appreciate being welcomed into it.
I began in May, with many a seedling waiting in modules, and the growing season has marched us on through succession sowing, planting out, harvesting, summer pruning, more harvesting, and finally dropped us off into the beginning of winter, with leaf raking, mulching and a cleaner polytunnel, thanks to elbow grease and an extendable brush hose.
I’ve learnt lots already, from apple pruning to winter squash recipes, Diamond Back moths to drying broad bean pulses, and the learning won’t stop; that’s the beauty of being a gardener.
As a team, we’ve been able to deliver our produce to the kitchens on site, the Terrace Café and Gateway, eat our greens for dinner, offer fresh green peas to passing children, make someone’s day with an offered marrow or clutch of beans, preserve the bounty in kimchi and sauerkraut, and save some seed for next year.
The garlic is quietly sprouting now, and while the garden steadies itself for the frosts I’m grateful of the slower pace, daydreaming ahead to squeaky spring cabbages and long days.