Hello Summertime

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One of our littlest volunteers wins the prize for best wellies.

A bit of rain is good for the gardens, right? Which is great news for the community garden we work on with Hyde Park Source and Cross Green Community Group in East Leeds. We’re happy when the heavens open, which they have helpfully done on a regular basis recently. This means there’s plenty of fresh food to be harvested and that’s what we’ve been doing over the past couple of weeks, along with working our way through the endless list of tasks that go into making a garden like this so effective.

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Team work – our youngest volunteers work together harvesting potatoes

We’re lucky enough to have plenty of local volunteers who turn up to lend a hand each week. From the little ones here harvesting potatoes, to the hardy souls using raw muscle to clear the wasteland at the back of the site, everyone’s doing their bit. Continue reading

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Back to Front Video

BackToFront – growing food in front gardens so everyone knows from TomBliss on Vimeo.

Want to know more about Back to Front and what we’re up to? Why, we have the very thing. This fantastic video shows how our community garden grows and how all the different people involved work together.

We love volunteers – individuals, corporate teams, people who love digging, planting, building and chatting. Everyone’s welcome so if you’re interested in getting involved with this amazing project, email me (I’m the project manager) at info@backtofront.org.uk

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East Leeds Community Garden update

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Everything’s coming up roses in our fantastic Back to Front community garden on Fewston Bridge in Leeds. OK, well, maybe not roses – more like loads of vegetables, herbs and the odd sunflower here and there.

The bridge is a piece of land that has been reclaimed over the last few months. Bit by painstaking bit, we’ve worked alongside Hyde Park Source, Cross Green Community Group and a whole host of volunteers to clear an overgrown patch of wasteland, finding gorgeous old cobbles underneath the weeds and rubble. This makes the perfect foundation for our raised beds, blending past and present together beautifully.

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Back to Front is all about helping people to grow edible produce (even those gorgeous sunny sunflowers = seeds!) and we’ve been busy adding signs so that everyone knows what’s growing and when to pick it. So far we’ve harvested new potatoes – ‘Full of flavour, like they used to be when I was a kid,’ was one response. We’ve also had strawberries, rocket, spinach and lots of herbs. Spaghetti bolognese never tasted so good…

There’s a timetable of planting, growing and picking spreading right across the summer months. We’re also working hard to clear the rest of the cobbles and build more raised beds to extend the garden so the whole community can join in.

If you’d like to volunteer or have a media query, contact Jayne, the project manager, at info@backtofront.org.uk

 

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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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BackToFront

 

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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