Tales from a Back to Front Grower!

There has been quite a lot happening in preparation for my back to front garden.  2 years out of date leeks have done as well as the in date leeks in fact they are a couple of days ahead. So I have planted to finish the packet and so I can give leeks to plant to my friends. I have also planted some red and yellow cabbage (all are kept indoor as it is still a bit cold outside for seeds to germinate)

 Talking of friends, friend are a great resources to build your front garden as somebody will have just the thing you need. My friend Andrew let me cut some willow poles and some dogwood  from his field. So in the past few days I have been building a wigwam for my runner bean which I will plant later in the year (end of May) . The wigwam is really tall and I am wondering how I will pick up the beans when they reach the top but it should be very impressive. I hope I will generate a lot of talk in the neighbourhood.

 I also get colleagues and friend to keep their toilet rolls as they make great pot for seedlings. The advantage is that they can be planted straight in the ground without disturbing the roots of the seedling. I line a mushroom tray with some newspaper then line up my toilet rolls, fill them with compost and here goes the seeds. Here I am planting some broad beans. Broad beans can go in the ground directly at this time of the year but planting them this way and placing them in a green house or under a cold frame gives them a good start ahead of the one that have been put in the ground.

 Last week end I went to help a friend with cutting a hedge and told her about my front garden project and about me looking for some old window to make a cold frame. She had just what I needed: two panels of secondary glazing that are the perfect size for making two cold frame the advantage is that it is not glass so it is safer and not as heavy. Her mum also gave me lot of broad bean seeds as well as some peas and beans. Beans are really easy seeds to save. Great to make some exchanges.

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Back to Front is a project that supports growing food in front gardens. This can be from pots outside all the way to little food havens a step away from the kitchen.

Some communities in Leeds already use their Front Gardens in this way and they provided the initial inspiration to the project. Over the last couple of years, the project has signed up over 300 participants to grow food Back to Front in parts of Leeds. The City has a large proportion of back-to-back houses with only Front Gardens to grow food, so it makes perfect sense.

Participants have created wonderful Back to Front gardens full of fruits, vegetables and ideas for making the most of small spaces. So why not join in and spread the word? You too can have a beautiful and tasty front garden!

Over the years, Back to Front has enjoyed the support from many people and organisations. We have worked with The Conservation Volunteers (TCV), Leeds Met, Leeds City Council, Groundworks, LATCH, Shine and the local NHS to name a few. We have been funded by Leeds City Council, the Local Government Association, Awards for All and Jimbo’s honouring the memory of the late Jimmi Heselden. We are grateful to the family for their ongoing support.

Our latest funding from Esmee Fairbairn will see us through the next three years focusing our efforts to recruit 100 new Front Garden growers and supporting one street per year where at least a third of residents will be growing ‘Back to Front’.   We will be working closely with Thackray Medical Museum and Shine in Harehills to develop community growing hubs and arts activities linked to the local cultural heritage to get people interested in food growing. We have plans for food growing awards, workshops, origami fruit and veg and poetry.

Please drop us a line if there is something you would like to see happening!

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