Last Saturday, Andrew took part in the day long workshop: Joinery Techniques to Improve Your Site at Crumpsall Park Community Garden with Sow the City, which is part of the Growing Manchester. Sow the City oversees scores of gardens across the city, helping community groups move towards a city where everyone can grow their own. It's a great scheme and it's fantastic that such workshops are free for the community. It's a chance to meet fellow minded growers and builders. We'll be with them next month to learn new skills in Growing Under Cover and How to Make a Green Roof - something we want to do to our dilapidated shed roof.
Crumpsall Park Community Garden is at its embryonic stage as a group and we attended the workshop on a lovely spring day to learn new skills, brush up on old ones and leave something for the garden to use in the future. We recommend anyone in the area get involved in the project and get to grow your own. We were taught how to build a raised bed and discussed how the wood can be recycled from such schemes as Emerge or from wood foraged from skips. Kieron from Sow the City remarked on how many baths he'd found in skips just that year, and how many he'd saved for allotments across the city, to find new lives as water butts, potato and fruit planters. After all, we often forget that a bath naturally drains away any access water, if we leave the plug out. Re-using wood should be in all our vocabularies, even at Pig Row we have a stack of it in the backyard waiting to be used on the new green roof, and if any is left we'll certainly create a new garden to show what can be done in a 10 x 10 foot space.
The raised bed was easy to knock up and no joints were needed, it was simply a matter of screws and drill. The beds were made out of decking, and as you all know we love decking on Pig Rows, up to now, we have made from reclaimed or chucked out decking: a back gate, shed shutters and greenhouse staging.
We then went on to make a compost bin, and again the skills learnt here we want to transfer to new potato bins made of wood, ones that we can stack like the compost heap. The heap it great for any garden as you can change the measurements to fit your space, it's easier to turn unlike the dalek council compost bins you can buy (top tip: don't bother turning these bins, loosen the soil with a fork from the top, then wee in a bucket, top up the bucket with water and pour over the heap inside the compost bin it speeds up the composting process). You turn the above bin by simply taking off the stacked sections, moving the top section over and moving the compost at the top over to this and continue until you have moved all the sections back into the stackable compost bin (as seen in the picture). It was a great day, and we came away with new ideas for the garden and new reasons to skip dive.