Work begins on Newtown’s new community growing hub

After two years or more on the Vastre estate, behind the Cwm Harry compost factory it is a real thrill to be in a much more central location and working with students and volunteers at our new base at Coleg Powys. We have been offering work experience placements to students from the college, who have been taking in part in sessions looking at the future of energy and food as well as getting involved in work on the ground itself..

Students working on a ‘dead hedge’ using up hedge trimmings to subdivide the new community growing space

Our Monday group worked hard on a grey drizzly day making a ‘dead hedge’ from old hedge trimmings as well as constructing A frames to do some basic survey work mapping the contours in the field, where the main veg growing beds are planned to go.

A section of hedge was completed.. its great to see some progress happening finally in the field after months of waiting to move here

The other job we have been hard at is clearing all the dead poplar poles at the top of the garden. We really wanted to get these cleared as it is a visible sign of progress and we are keen for neighbours and passers by to notice that things are underway here. We now have two young men here on work experience placement, and they plan to be with us all year and will have the chance to get involved in a variety of tasks over that time.. helping us get the garden ready for the coming growing season. There is no shortage of things to be done… just getting ready, let alone actually producing any actual produce… that will come later.

Clearing the old dead poplar poles

We have another little interesting challenge at hand as well…. we have been invited to grow some salad leaves to be served as a live selection for an event featuring local food. Easy enough i guess, but we have the challenge of getting all the details right, not least the timing.. so that they are ready just in time, not too soon and not too late. We have also experimented with different growing mediums, seed mixes and by thinning some out and not others.. when you come think about there are a great many variables to explore to get it exactly right!

Salad leaves growing on the widow ledge at Cwm Harry for a local food banquet.

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About admin

I lead on the Cwm Harry Skills and training enterprise, am a qualified teacher and permaculture design tutor and garden designer and project consultant. I write several blogs and am an avid networker and communicator on the subjects of sustainability, transition and co-operatives. I have written an occasional column for Channel4/green and have worked for Channel 4 on their 'Dumped' seriesworked as well as for BBC Wales as a green advisor on their Changing Lives- Going Green series, Nov-Dec 2009. I have been working in sustainable development, on project management and development, teaching, growing and small business development all my life really. I also grew up living and working on farms and have a broad experience working in Britain and Canada and Zimbabwe on sustainable agriculture, grass roots permaculture projects, micro business development and housing and worker co-ops. I have been based in Wales since 1994 and currently live in the Welsh borders.