You may have been wondering if Sustainable Wallingford has been stopped in its tracks by Covid 19. After the most critical phase of lockdown, we decided we could restart Incredible Edible in Wallingford and Benson, and take advantage of the new season, providing we kept apart. We have very successfully used WhatsApp groups both at Wallingford and Benson, to co-ordinate a bunch of keen people.
The Incredible Edible project aims to bring people together through actions around local food, helping to change behaviour towards the environment and to build a kinder and more resilient world. See the story of how it all started. Incredible Edible Wallingford have been generously funded by SODC Councillor Grants this year, and were keen to carry out new plans to make more of the space.
We were amazed how positive everyone has been, and so grateful to the hardy and tenacious volunteers who joined us in clearing, both being done in record time! The local schools have helped as the serious growing started.
As much as possible is recycled. We used free local compost from the Agrivert recycling centre and wood from Oxford Wood Recycling,and planted edibles for everyone to share- salads, fruit, beans, courgettes, spuds, beetroot and herbs, with some welcome contributions and swaps of plants
At Wallingford this year, in front of the Library, we have extended the beds and planted a variety of new crops, mostly from seed. We have a team who take turns, to observe isolation, to keep the plants happy and watered during spells, with as much water as possible from the Library roof.We have transformed the hidden wooded area at the back of the Library, to provide reading and activity space alongside edible and woodland plants. We had a great weekend clearing the area behind Wallingford Library to make a new Secret Garden. Over two days people came and went to lend a hand, however small or rickety. Former mutual friends from the sixties came to light as we chatted and dug. Old branches,rubbish, and stones went for recycling to prepare for woodland plants and fruit. we put in extra woodland plants from our gardens and hopefully watered them during the hottest weather. The overhead canopy has been much reduced to allow more light as well as making the area safe from falling branches!
Clever Vicki arranged to take over some of the nursery equipment from the Bullcroft Rainbow rooms, now sadly closed and abandoned. The next job is to fill the planters, and in the Autumn plant fruit trees and bushes.We hope Library users will soon be able to enjoy the outside space as well as produce from the front garden
Yvonne and Ian demolished and reassambled a large double raised bed, and we collected some cute seats- some sawn-off logs and a mini picnic table. Also some excellent plants: honeysuckle, jasmine and a vine now hopefully planted against the Bullcroft wall and some wavy grasses to add to he woodland plants already there and plants from our own gardens.
Wallingford Green Spaces helped with the digging, and Chris Gibbs from Gibbs Gardens brought a vital trailer to move things a challenging 200 yards from the Bullcroft to the Library. The next job is to fill the planters, and in the Autumn plant fruit trees and bushes. The Library is open now and we hope to see users outside soon.
At Benson, there is a smart new fence and yet more beds, aiming to beat our spectacular first year. We are now part of Benson Community Gardens to spread the growing message as far as we can.
On a recent Sunday morning Incredible Edible at Benson enjoyed the sunshine and topped up the woodchip paths outside Benson Library. People came and went, and everyone used their own method to move the huge pile, courtesy of First Tree Surgeons, to smarten up the paths with a fresh layer.
Produce is flourishing, do pause to help yourself from the beds or the table outside the bike shed. Its for everyone to share and enjoy good fresh produce with no pesticides. We have some amazing pumpkins for later, and hope to see you outside as soon as potatoes are ready.
The Library is waiting for work to be done on the roof and is sadly closed for now.
The aim is not just to grow edible plants for people to help themselves to as they pass by; plants such as raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, various herbs, carrots, spring onions, leafy greens, and BEANS. Just as important is to to raise interest in growing food and where it comes from, to provide outdoor gentle exercise in a
sociable setting and of course to enhance the Libraries. We hope to see the Libraries open soon
Hopefully when you visit the Libraries, you will notice when things are ripe or ready to pick and take a few, leaving some for other people to enjoy of course. Do please also give us a hand with a little light weeding or watering, as “If you eat, you’re in”. Look out for news of regular sessions to weed and chat.