||The Shared Garden Project began to take shape in August 2000 during a discussion around the kitchen table byetween Karina Wells and Andy Thomas, both residents of West Bridgford. By October that year the garden was a reality.
Since that date the planning and coordination of the work in the garden has been organised (in consultation with other members of the group), by Karina who has been involved with eco and organic activities for many years.
Aim of the Shared Garden project
Sharing an allotment seems to be the answer for many busy people nowadays. There are many advantages; the pleasure of working with a friend, sharing knowledge, skills and learning, not to mention the more practical aspects such as running costs, dividing the work load, and covering during holiday periods. We have decided not to divide the plot in separate areas, where each person is responsible for their part, but we have gone for the option that the work of the whole allotment is shared.
The method of growing is organic and bio-dynamic where possible.
8 families currently work 3 allotments 2 hours per week, one is totally designated for fruit growing
(apples, pears, damsons, Victoria plum, red and black currants, rhubarb, josta berries, black berries, grapes,greengage and gooseberries, summer and autumn raspberries). We also have a comfrey and nettle patch for liquid manure making.
Each allotment is divided up in 2 and becomes part of the rotation. Currently allotment 1: a large variety of broad beans, climbing and late beans undersown by lettuces and the other half early potatoes followed by brassicas like Brussels Sprouts, Red and green, Calabrese and Purple Sprouting broccoli . Allotment 2: one half started with very early lettuces and early french beans on the sides of each bed when in June a large collection of squashes were planted. Now (July) the beans and lettuces have almost all been harvested and the courgettes, butternut squashes, uchiki kuri, jack o lantern pumpkins, little gems and 100 weight pumpkins are well and trully taking over.
The other half is sown with winter onions and garlic which were inter sown by carrots, now the onions and garlic have been harvested there is plenty of room for the early carrots to thrive. We have also sown some beds with late carrots (in June) to try and fool the carrot fly. Here we also sowed parsnips, spring onions and red and yellow beetroot.
Allotment 3; one half is planted up with soft fruit like raspberries, red and black currants and josta berries, the other half has all the peas, mangetous and sugar snaps, with a few beds of sweetcorn and artichokes. Most of these beds have been interplanted with flowers like stocks, sweet peas and asters and daisies.
We have two greenhouses: one largish one with tomatoes, peppers, aubergines and basil and a smaller one with cucumbers A hotbed was built this year by one of the Friends of the Shared garden, now hosting a couple of melons that are looking promising. All produce is shared between the members and people are going home with baskets full of goodies at the end of their 'shift'
In addition to the 8 families we have 8 friends of the gardens who come as and when it suits them, join in the various festivals and social events and join in with the work parties.
The fees for joining the group is £25 which pays for the rental of the allotments, all the seeds and potatoes, tools and accessories and the compost. During the year we do some fund raising by selling plants and through income from our online shop and our Amazon page when people go through our website and buy from them.