Guest Blog from Growing Spaces

Growing Space is a not-for-profit project of Arcadia Charitable Trust.  We are transforming underused church gardens into edible teaching gardens for surrounding schools and communities in West London.

We believe that it is important for everyone, but especially children to interact directly and consistently with nature and to engage in the practice of growing food.  This can be especially difficult for those living in urban areas.  

Growing Space secures the location in the long run and coordinates the usage of edible teaching gardens for schools and communities. In 2019, we have built gardens in two locations: one at Christ Church Kensington (in W8), the other one at St-Helen’s North Kensington (in W10).

We provide ongoing support to partnering school staff as well as arrange workshops for the broader community during weekends and school holidays, all while ensuring that the garden is looking lovely year-round.

Through the use of those beautiful green oasis, participants come to understand the importance of looking after the soil and are encouraged in healthy eating habits as they enjoy sampling the fruits of their labour. 

During the Covid-19 lockdown…we have not had the pleasure of welcoming our regular school groups, but we have enjoyed the help of local volunteer families and children from Victoria Road Montessori, Bassett House School and Thomas’s School, who have come to sow seeds, plant, weed and water the gardens.  

We have also been fortunate enough to invite children of NHS doctors and nurses from Bassett House School (featured on the pictures, Ollie and Elisabeth) to explore and work in our Growing Space at St. Helen’s North Kensington. 

All fruit and vegetables harvested during this time have been given to local families and our host churches to be distributed as needed.  

We also welcomed a family of foxes who found the tranquility of our garden the perfect place to shelter a brood of four kits! They have happily now moved out into the broader world and just in time, except for our little Feisty!… a young female cub, which we had to rescue as infected with mange. 

She is now in a safe place and being cared for with antibiotics to fight the disease. She should be back on her feet very soon… hopefully in a few weeks!

 We will continue to monitor the current situation with Covid-19 and will again offer our fun outdoor workshops to the community following government guidelines and protocols from August.

We would encourage everyone to begin a small garden at home, even if that simply means putting a pot of herbs in a windowsill.  The fragrance and flavour of a herb such as thyme, rosemary, mint or oregano can lift the spirits any day!

Tips of the month:

Its time to propagation your herbs! You can also cut back your mint right to the bottom once this summer to allow a second growth to happen during the summer! Harvest also vegetables planted in the early season. Our potatoes will be very soon ready to be harvested, which the children will love to help with!