Blackhill Club Community Garden, Planting Seeds with Shotley Bridge Nursery.
Changing our local food system, the way we care, share and eat our food is one of our goals at The ALT Group. Making lives better, learning and having fun are also high on our agenda of change! So when we were approached by Shotley Bridge Nursery to teach some of their children about growing food we relished the opportunity.
Our Community Garden vision spans generations and we want it to be cherished by everyone, and these little cherubs are exactly why we need to save and utilise our green spaces. Bridging the gap between growing and eating can start at any age, but it can be a lot easier to build from a young age.
We had an amazing time, lots of fun and some pretty good results. Here we would like to tell you all about our experience.
Seed Sowing in Spring
In April, the weather was very unusual for us Consett residents! It was incredibly dry and very hot, for several weeks. Our Community Garden volunteers were busy preparing our soil and planting seeds. We were joined by six, four year old students from Shotley Bridge Nursery School how brightened our day by coming to help us sow some seeds.
The children learned about the different foods we were planting, corn and carrots and sowed their seeds into pots ready to be planted into beds in a few weeks. Being so eager the children managed to finish very quickly and we moved onto to planting out sunflowers, pumpkins and onions we had previously germinated. Our keen gardeners even manged to water our thirsty young trees before they left.
It was a wonderful day to have so much young energy in the garden, the children were so keen to learn all about the environment around us and the food we eat. The ALT Group volunteers agreed to nurture the plants and invited the children back to see what we had managed to grow in autumn.
Fast forward 6 months to October and the garden as well as the weather have changed drastically. Most of our harvests are coming to an end and the day is cool and damp. Regardless we were greeted by beautiful smiling faces wrapped up in squishy coats and warm hats. Our visitors from Shotley Bridge Nursery School have shrunk and expanded. This time we had eight, two year old students, excited to see how many pumpkins we had managed to grow.
The children loved the last of the sunflowers, still in bloom towering above them which had been companion planted with the pumpkins and a variety of beans. Luckily our first year of pumpkin growing was a success and we managed to have six pumpkins, three were a little smaller than the rest but we were happy with the result. There was enough to share so The ALT Group took some for their Community Meal and the nursery took some to make pumpkin soup.
Once the pumpkins were harvested we decided to take a look at the carrots and see how well they had done. We managed to find some really big ones and the children gazed in awe as they watched their first carrot pulled from the soil.
Our first year of growing with the local children was a great success and we are very excited to grow together again next year. Our Community Garden is open to everyone including families with children. Read our Blog for updates on our 2018 schedule with scheduled sessions for children. Feel free to get in touch if you'd like your child to have a community growing experience.
Hi, I'm Terri Lee-Shield, Director of The ALT Group.