The Stonehill Community Garden, 22nd April 2017

This was our first visit to the Stonehill Community Garden, in the grounds of Stonehill House, for quite some time.  Much has changed in the interim and a medium-sized plot of land is being transformed into a vegetable garden, incorporating ideas from permaculture and biodynamics and involving a number of local groups and individuals.

We gathered in the field adjacent to the main house and met with site warden, Rachel Hammond.  Rachel, and the day's Green Gym session leader, James, then took us on a quick tour of the site with it's many interesting features, while emphasising the tasks for the morning.

We were joined for the first time by Eleanor who is still at school and volunteering with us as part of her Duke of Edinburgh award.  She was joined by her mother and an additional twelve members - a reasonable workforce yet again.

The priority on this occasion was to loosen the soil in a strip from the car park area to the main vegetable plot in order to make a path.  This will later be laid with hard material, but for the moment we put down woodchip along it's length.

Other jobs included laying a second, but much shorter woodchip path within the fenced plot itself, and subsequently setting out some straw bales beside it that will be used as growing stations. Some wooden pallets were moved from one location to another and elsewhere a hole was dug that will form the foundations of a self-watering polytunnel.

The weather was beautiful for the occasion and we achieved our objectives over the course of the morning.  A little spare time even allowed some of us to feed the chickens that live here!  We look forward to returning to the site again and helping out with this interesting and valuable community project where we can.

The entrance to the garden.

Rachel takes us on a tour of the site.

Work on the path gets underway.

The path being raked and almost ready for woodchip.

Lesley feeds the chicken.

Petra, Jessica and James fill wheelbarrows with woodchip.

Lesley and Dieuwke busy raking the woodchip.

A well-earned break.

Graham takes charge of digging the polytunnel foundations.

Petra and Jessica meet the chickens.

Beautiful weather for the occasion.

Some wooden pallets being moved around the site.

The pizza oven!

Garlic being grown in old tyres.

These are formerly battery chickens, but are now kept free-range here.

A second woodchip bath with straw bales (to be used as growing stations) arranged on one side.

Graham with one of the hens.

Rachel provides some further information on the hen-keeping and the garden in general.

Almost finished!

Andrew in the shade of some apple blossom!


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