Guest Blog: “Creating a Green Space: The New Community Garden”

 This week we have a rather special blog post coming to you from the Head Gardener of the University Hall Community Garden, Charlotte Davis.  

Our garden, around the back of University Hall, is still under a year old! Inspired by photographs dating from 1916 of a vegetable garden fit to supply the residents of the Hall, in the depths of last winter, we decided to recreate that green space of production, learning and relaxation.

With help from Transition and the blessing of the Hall Managers and Estates, this student led project has had a rollercoaster of a first year and has produced a huge amount of enjoyment and food for all the volunteers who helped out.

DSC05514Some delicious potatoes harvested from the garden.

From the tentative motley crew I tried to persuade to get excited about what was then just a 5×5 patch of turf, we now have a strong core team of volunteers who come once, or even twice a week to do odd jobs around the expanding and beautiful garden. A great mixture of people have come down to give me a hand, from biologists, to total novices, hall residents and non-hall residents. We are well placed to draw interest, sitting alongside the well-worn track towards the sports centre.

1779699_507326946045057_886765850_nOld or young, big or small, all are welcome to help out!

A little out of my depth having fallen into the role of project leader, I found myself up until the early hours researching all sorts of methods of propagation, companion planting, stacking appropriate for the Fife climate to make the space as interesting, productive and sustainable as possible. My job has without a doubt become much easier with some experience, a Permaculture Design Course and the unrelenting support I’ve received from Taylor, University Hall’s Senior Student.

Getting to grips with permaculture design.

From beans to herb spirals, cabbages to raspberries, purple sprouting broccoli, potatoes, rhubarb and a biodiversity tower, last year was a great success. This year we are thinking a bit differently. Some basic infrastructure will assert the garden properly on the space; a shed for the tools (and tea cups!) and a fence. Equally, the ornamental cherry tree (Prunus ‘Kazan’), under which we will put a bench, will cement the permanent intention of the garden. By gently applying permaculture principles to the plot and listening to what the volunteers want from what is essentially their garden, this year proves to be productive and a huge amount of fun for everyone who wants to get outside, get their hands dirty and learn a bit more about gardening in a beautiful place.

A surprise visitor to the garden!

I am determined that this garden not be a flash in the pan. Though it needs constant maintenance, I am confident that with enough support from students and local residents this garden can sustain as a place for learning, relaxation, appreciation of nature and, of course, eating fruit and vegetables!

If you want to get involved in the University Hall Community Garden, find them on Tumblr, Facebook, or by contacting Charlotte on: ced9@st-andrews.ac.uk

University Community Garden

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Students and staff have been enjoying these past few weeks of beautiful weather at the University Community garden. I popped down to visit them this week during their sessions held on Tuesdays from 12:30 to 2:30 to see what they had in store for harvest time…

Turns out the harvest has already begun! I helped the volunteers pick strawberries, harvest garlic and onions to lie out to cure in the sun, as well as odd assortments of salad greens and herbs. Looking forward to the end of the month we have netted the mixed current bushes (from pesky birds), and have continued watering potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, cabbage, broccoli, and more!

Get involved and join the garden today! Visit their Facebook page for contact details: https://www.facebook.com/#!/universitycommunitygarden/info