GrowingSouthwark's Blog


We did it-Cossall Estate Community Growing Project has its first 20m raised bed
March 30, 2010, 11:00 am
Filed under: cossall estate, edible, flowers, planting, sowing, wild

Cossall Estate residents, Growing Southwark volunteers, a team from Veoila with 2 master carpenters worked together from Thursday-Sunday to erect a 20×1.5×0.6 meter raised bed for the Cossall Estate Community Growing Projects first raised bed for their edible garden.

Day 1 – Thursday 10-5

We started building on Thursday morning with 2 master craftsmen and a pile of wood.

Our two master craftsmen

In the beginning-there was wood

Pile of soil improver from Veolia

Top soil being delivered, bought from Terrafirma.

Veolia team at H&S briefing

Then we were joined by a team from Veolia Environmental on their ‘work in the community day’ who busied themselves wheelbarrowing 7 tonnes of donated soil improver to the raised bed site, sinking post holes, concreting posts, assisting our master craftsmen, weeding the sensory garden and generally being most excellent and full of humour on a very wet Thursday.

Unfortunately the lorry  with its ‘Hiab’ couldn’t get onto site so we had to wheelbarrow the soil improver and top soil round from its storage location! This was a major task and without the many volunteers and their humble wheelbarrows we would never have succeeded!! So our pile of soil improver was moved in a day to the raised bed site.

digging post holes

digging post holes

site action

site action

veolia group shot

veolia group shot

Day 2-Friday. 1-5

The raised bed was finished and half lined and all the soil improver moved inside the fence to keep the site tidy.

Residents:  children and parents alike enjoyed the activity and the opportunity for a bit of digging and all worked well together with smiles on their faces.

The 'new' pile of soil improver

The 'new' pile of soil improver

Half a lined bed

Half a lined bed

James bond stapling action shot!

James bond stapling action shot!

Day 3 – Saturday 11-1

The raised bed was fully lined, pebble gravel added at the bottom for drainage and the first wheelbarrow of top soil added:

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-9v1bC-WQc. Yeah!

Getting stuck in- more young helpers

Getting stuck in- more young helpers

Chair of the TRA gets stuck into the dirt!

Chair of the TRA gets stuck into the dirt!

More young helpers

More young helpers

Day 4-Sunday 11-4

Will we or wont we get the raised bed finished-that was the question?

It was a quiet start, but with hands to wheelbarrows we got into our rhythm and managed to shift 5 bags of  top soil into the bed. We needed to get the mix right a 2:1 ratio of top soil: soil improver so this was mixed in the bed, with help from all.

Young fun!

Young fun!

At the end, we had a flurry of activity with the final third of the bed filled with all residents ‘on deck’.

It's busy on site!

It's busy on site!

Double ramps-the final push!

Double ramps-the final push!

So how to celebrate the first raised bed for the edible garden…well we planted Sunflowers, Broad Bean plants from the growing session in February and some marigolds (great companion plants for tomatoes).  See Tom’s blog http://tom.acrewoods.net/2010/03/29/growing-the-cossall-estate/

Planting sunflowers

Planting sunflowers

To celebrate we feasted on Wild nettle and chickweed risotto (gathered from the sensory butterfly beds) with some added vegetables supplied by a local resident and artist.  Ceri and Segan from ‘Invisible Foods’ cooked this fine celebratory feast on an outside stove. Yum, yum.

Feast on the hill

Feast on the hill

Wild nettle and chickweed risotto for the hard workers!

Wild nettle and chickweed risotto for the hard workers!

And in true community style, this project has brought residents closer together. Thankyou to all for their hardwork, humour and smiles. We all had a great time..watch this space for more activity, we have more beds to build and so there will be more growing to be done. If you have a spare moment to volunteer then please get in contact.

True community spirit-all ages together

True community spirit-all ages enjoying a moment together

Funded by a Cleaner, Greener, Safer grant from Southwark Council.

Capital Growth project 73.

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1 Comment so far
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It was a great day on Sunday. Segen and I had a look round the Kirkdale Nature Reserve – there are loads of nettles there at the moment and some lovely young hogweed that we drew. I’ll post some of the drawings. I really enjoyed meeting resident Mohammed Rafiq, an artist and lively character. I hope we can work more with him. Well done everyone for the hard work of getting the beds in. they’re looking amazing!

Comment by ceri




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