After the success of the Incredible Edible garden plot in Gunnerside last summer, which was regularly tended and harvested by visitors and locals alike, Sustainable Swaledale is now setting up a new plot in Reeth with the aim of harvesting our first produce this year. The new plot is in the grounds of the Reeth Medical Centre who have most kindly agreed to allow us to use a piece of lawn at the surgery for our project.
Incredible Edible is a network of community groups growing and picking vegetables, herbs and fruit in spaces that would otherwise be unused in the community. This brings likeminded people together and enables them to get tasty local food, grown right on their doorstep whilst avoiding the sustainability issues resulting from long distance transport of commercial produce to shops and supermarkets. More information on the Incredible Edible Network can be found at https://www.incredibleedible.org.uk/
We have been able to secure funding from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund to help with the costs of getting the project up and running. Reeth Community Orchard Group at Hudson House have generously offered us the use of a sheltered nursery bed to give our seedlings the best start possible before planting them out into the Medical Centre plot. We have also received donations of compost and tools from members of the community, all of which are important steps in getting the project started.
To be as environmentally friendly as possible we are constructing our raised beds from locally sourced, second-hand pallet collars (stackable wooden frames, designed to sit around loaded pallets to protect them during transport). Being second-hand they arrived flat-packed and covered with labels and writing but with a bit of attention and sandpaper soon looked quite smart. We oiled ours with raw linseed oil which is harmless when growing produce, but will provide some protection from the elements.
The beds can be stacked to any height we need, enabling us to grow deep rooting vegetables such as potatoes. Having high beds is of benefit to those people who do not want to crawl around on their knees to tend the vegetables, and also keeps the beds out of the reach of the local rabbits!
At present only the lowest layer of beds have been installed, but more are to follow and in the near future we will be continuing to install infrastructure for the project. This will include a compost bin to allow any green waste generated to be composted down and put back into the plot in future years, and a water butt to collect rainwater from the medical centre roof to keep everything growing in the drier summer months.
The garden is free for anyone to use – to get the best from the plot we will put up information signs telling you what is growing to avoid any confusion and to let you know what is ready to harvest. Do pop along to the Medical Centre to see how we are progressing. Have a wander around, feel free to pull up a few weeds, water something, or take some produce home for your tea. We hope to get vegetables, salad, soft fruits and herbs all established this year so do come along and get involved.
Here’s to a great growing and eating season!
The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund is open to individuals, businesses, community groups or voluntary sector bodies. It provides an accessible source of money for a range of projects that result in positive benefits for the National Park’s environment, economy and communities, while enhancing and conserving local culture, wildlife and landscape.