Sunday, 3 May 2009

I've been Grow Zoned!

Yesterday four members of the Grow Zone project descended on our garden and helped us transform it from a rather untidy yard into a potentially productive mini allotment.

The Grow Zone project is part of Earth Abbey, a movement of people helping each other live more in tune with the earth. Half a dozen or so households have taken the challenge to grow at least some of our own food following permaculture principles.

So to get back to our garden. Two of us dug up the tired looking shrubs from the narrow bed outside our front window and replaced them with hardy herbs - a variegated sage, Russian tarragon, bergamot, Moroccan mint and hyssop. We replanted a rosemary bush from a pot in the back garden and finally added two giant sunflower plants which will look magnificent standing proudly against our new sky blue wall. We filled three window boxes with compost from our compost bin. I sowed mixed salad leaves in two of them and will transplant a couple of trailing tomato plants into the third as soon as they are hardy enough.

Meanwhile out at the back the rest of the team uprooted an overgrown rosemary bush in the rockery and removed a couple of the larger rocks to make space for some runner beans to be trained up the back fence and some spinach and rainbow chard which will nestle among the alpines. The rocks were piled up against the raised rockery wall to enable any frogs who leap down into the back yard to find their way back to the pond. Our old rubbish bin and two large containers were planted with the potatoes we've been chitting in our dining room doorway for the past few weeks. A growbag was planted with a miniature squash and two bush courgettes and various other containers with peas and broad beans. A second growbag awaits three bush tomatoes.

The sun shone brightly, tea and conversation flowed freely and when we were done and tidied up we shared a simple of lunch of soup, bread and cheese and chutney, salad and cake (much of it homemade), before heading off home.

I don't know what it was; the sunshine, the friendship, the labour, the food, the fresh air, but my spirits were uplifted and I spent the rest of the day on a high. This morning I came downstairs and felt compelled to go out into the garden to see how it was. It looked lovely.


  1. Fantastic! That herb garden at the front will be great. Isn't it amazing what can be shoehorned into a tiny space. We're really looking forward to being growzoned too!

  2. How wonderful - what a great project! I hope your garden flourishes and you have lots of yummy goodies to enjoy in the summer.

  3. This sounds amazing!! :)

    I love the last photo especially!! :)

    What a great idea & what great community spirit!! :)
    I especially love it that you are planting things according to principles of permaculture!! :)

    How come you opted for growbags etc, & not growing things in horizonatl - due to space constraints?

    beans on a fence!! interesting idea! (do any beans do, or a special sort?) /eyes the fence wistfully/ ;)