Earlier this year I heard about a new community initiative called Grow Zones. It was ‘something to do with gardening, growing veg and getting help’. As a gardener I’m fine when it comes to flower beds and perennials – stick them in, hope they come up each year and literally divide and rule to gain aesthetic balance. However – veg is another matter! So I went along to a meeting in a house round the corner to see what it was all about.
I arrived into a cavernous living room to be greeted by Caroline the volunteer organiser for Loughborough. After viewing a short film about Grow Zones we all discussed the ambitions and hopes we had for our gardens and where we’d like help. We learnt that the approach to Grow Zones is simple – gather people together locally, share time, skills and lunch.
We went away and thought some more about what we’d each like to achieve and met up again a week or so later. Caroline set out a schedule based on our collective available dates and the group visited each garden for 3 hours. So in exchange for the time I gave working in other peoples gardens I gained at least 15 person hours of work in my own one Sunday morning.
Here are some photos from two of the gardens the group visited. Click to enlarge.
In addition to working – come rain or shine – we all brought food for a shared lunch. We chatted and learnt a lot during those lunches about growing, gardening, where to get really good spelt based pizza, the local Transition group, and each other.
It was a throughly enjoyable and productive initiative and I will be taking part again. Grow Zones happen twice a year – in preparation for the growing season and in the Autumn. In 3 hours the team potted on all of my veg seedlings, broke the back of the perpetually postponed compost bin area redesign, and gave me a head start on the season. I thought I’d got enough lined up for people to do however even with all that we finished under time – it’s amazing how much five people can achieve in 3 hours.