How does our garden grow?

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After what seemed like an endless gestation/administrative period,  the first sod was turned in mid-August 2014 in Rye’s Community Garden near the primary school and, as the saying goes, the rest is history. We’ve made an incredible start and 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 – and, needless to say, all this produce is organic and incredibly healthy and nutritious!

Hedge day working party
Hedge day working party

A Newsletter is circulated regularly to all supporters (Issue 8 will be going out later this month) and an online Volunteer Rota has been set up.

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

Apple Day, October 2014: Ten varieties of Sussex Heritage apples were planted as well as four replacement Italian Alders (this species was originally planted by East Sussex County Council as screening for the primary school). This being the trees’ first year, no fruit was allowed to develop so as to give the trees themselves time to develop better, 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!

Christmas Planting, 2014: a small fir tree, decorated with solar-powered lights, was planted at the eastern corner of the Garden to celebrate the Winter Solstice.

Hedge Day, March 2015: some 300 mixed saplings, donated by the Woodland Trust, were planted out along the Garden’s western boundary and these saplings are all now happily growing into a fine screening hedge.

Shed Day, July 2015: 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. These include: 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); Tolletts (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.

Over the last 12 months, the Garden has secured a further £2,600 in grant monies which will be spent in the coming months on providing key facilities for our visitors and volunteers: the erection of a pergola, to provide a sheltered social space and the installation of a compost toilet to accommodate the needs of families and the elderly.

The Garden is now fully accessible all year round – via the allotment pedestrian gate at the far end of Love Lane – but please wear sturdy footwear since the ground is still very uneven in places. If you would like to get stuck into some work (!) there are tools in the sheds.

If you would like further information – either, email to ryegarden@hotmail.com or write to Rye Community Garden c/o 14 Love Lane Rye TN31 7NE, or you can go to either, https://www.facebook.com/groups/ryecommunitygarden to “like” us, or visit http://transitionrye.org.uk and click on Activities.

Photos : Rye Community Garden

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