Date: 03 Jun 2011

We had another successful day on the Oasis Community Garden today and I wanted to share our success with you. Having worked so hard yesterday to get the beds cleared, we had a great turnout for finishing off the ground and getting planting! 47 people including helpers and 6 wonderful guests, were part of the day, 18 children, 8 parent workers, and a fabulous BBQ cooked by 8 of the EIYCT young people.

The children loved seeing the tractor bringing up tyres and compost, and all enjoyed waiting for the trailer to pull up so they could busily scrape out 1.5 tonnes of compost ready for filling the tyres! The older boys felt like a real ?Bob the builder? as they emptied the trailer shovel by shovel. The children loaded up buckets of compost and carried them over to fill up tyres, and as the morning progressed, the youth soon took over with the wheelbarrow and created brand new planting pots.

Our gardening workshop taught us the difference between vegetables that grow beneath and above ground and how to plant, tend and harvest our new vegetable and herb garden. Parents got stuck into digging out weed-roots, some of which were 2 feet deep! And our guest workshop leader showed us how to plan out the newly levelled vegetable beds. Soon we had a few towers for the runner beans to grow up and lovely lines of carrots, beetroot, herbs, leeks, and some soon to be colourful sunflowers!

With such a hot day it was lovely to see the children enjoying the outside and getting stuck into digging, and plenty of watering! And after such a busy morning the burgers and chicken cooked up by our junior chefs was a welcome break!

We were delighted that one of our local councillors Nneka was able to join us in her lunch break from work and soon was digging and planting despite being in full business dress! And we know it was not an easy time to come because of work commitments, so appreciated that many who wanted to come simply could not. We were delighted to have Ciaran Porter from L&Q with us whose Neighbourhood Funds have given substantial funding to support the project, he similarly was soon stuck in filling tyres and shovelling mud along with our parents, children and young people. Similarly it was lovely to have some other parents and the Oasis Children Centre Team join us to share in our successful day. It was a great demonstration of lots of people from a broad range of our community coming together for a shared purpose of creating a space to grow things, celebrate our success and learn new skills as well as make new friends.

So as I have said a few times, it is now time to figure out how we can all use the site ongoingly. A little bit of time from lots of groups will keep it looking great, and it really is a great space for formal, informal and fun learning; building community; sharing; and experiencing a part of life that living in a city, often without gardens, many of us do not get to enjoy.

Finally let me say thank you to EIYCT (sponsored by RSA TRUST), Oasis, L&Q Neighbourhood Fund, Extended Schools funding, Capital Growth grants, PAYP, Linbrooks who have provided finance, time or in-kind supplies, and of course our parents and children who have enjoyed the half-term workshops!

We look forward to seeing you soon at the Oasis Community Garden!