A year in the Community Garden

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After a lengthy administrative period for Rye Community Garden (which we all felt would never end!) the first sod was turned in June 2014 and, as the saying goes, the rest is history. . . we’ve made an incredible start. Who knows how the Garden will develop in the next 12 months but one thing is for sure: it’s here, and here to stay!

So far, we have put up two sheds (one wooden and the other a secure metal shed) and three log benches, sited under the old oak tree; installed a guttering system to collect rainwater off the shed roofs into a 1,000 litre water tank (now full); planted and harvested broad beans, garlic, potatoes, raspberries and, currently, a selection of brassicas – needless to say, all this produce is organic and incredibly healthy and nutritious!

Various events were held around some key piece of garden development:

Apple Day in October 2014, where 10 varieties of Sussex Heritage apples were planted, as well as 4 replacement Italian Alders (this species was originally planted by ESCC as screening for the Primary School). This being their first year, no fruit was allowed to develop, in order to give the trees time to develop. But possibly some fruit could be harvested in 2016 although it will be a few more years before we can think about an Apple Juicing Day! A Christmas Tree planting event was also held in 2014, when a small fir tree was decorated with solar-powered lights and planted at the eastern corner of the garden, to celebrate the Winter Solstice.

Hedge Day, held in March 2015, saw some 300 mixed saplings, donated by the Woodland Trust, planted out along the garden’s western boundary; these saplings are all now happily growing into a fine screening hedge.

Shed Day, July 2015: for the above-mentioned installation of the metal shed. None of these events would have been successful without the time and energy of those who turned out to help!

The Garden has also been the beneficiary of numerous donations, both small and large, but each and every one gratefully received and acknowledged. Grants or donations have been received from Rye Allotments Association and visitors to the 2014 and 2015 Flower and Vegetable Shows, Rose Line production company (Monuments Men film), Sussex Community Foundation (Little Cheyne Court Wind Farm Community Fund), Rye Community Charity Shop, The Woodland Trust, Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew), W Tollett (builders), Jempsons, Alsfords of Rye, Rye Amenity Community Interest Company, Rye Hire, Kenwhite Developments and last, but by no means least, volunteer individuals too numerous to mention.

This year’s plans include the installation of more facilities for our Visitors and Volunteers: the erection of a gazebo, to provide a sheltered social space, and the installation of a compost toilet to accommodate the needs of families, the elderly and the disabled.

If you would like further information: either email ryegarden@hotmail.com or write to Rye Community Garden c/o 14 Love Lane Rye TN31 7NE. Please visit our Facebook page to ‘like’ us Or visit http://transitionrye.org.uk and click on Activities.

Photo:Pip Al Khafaji

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