Wild garlic has returned to the Lune’s wooded banks, plum trees are starting to blossom and rhubarb is back in season. With the lengthening daylight hours, it really feels like Spring has sprung. This young fresh growth marks the start of the growing season – the perfect time to consider growing some of your own fruit and vegetables this year (before the season really kicks in).
For those living in and around Lancaster, there are a range of options for growing your own food. You could get an allotment plot (or share one with a friend); grow fruit and veg in your back garden, or join one of Lancaster’s community gardens. You might even consider volunteering on a local organic farm, such as with Growing With Grace or Growing Well, to support our local growers and sustainable food economy.
For people new to growing, or for those who have a small backyard or no garden, community gardens offer a great opportunity to learn how to grow with the support of a welcoming community. Many people who already have their own gardens join in as well because they enjoy the community spirit and because they know that together we can grow a much wider range of fruit and vegetables – compared to if we just grew on our own. (It also doesn’t matter if you go away for a couple of weeks as your fellow growers will keep looking after things!)
Some examples of Lancaster’s community projects include: Fairfield community orchard near Lancaster’s train station. Probably the first community orchard in Lancaster, Fairfield has inspired a number of other orchards and gardens to be set up across the city- including the young orchard developing along Ambleside Road on the Ridge.
Scotch Quarry Park has a thriving community garden that includes herbs, fruit trees, fruit bushes and a hazel coppice. Alongside gardening work days, this project is also running a number of other workshops, such as the ‘regrowing nature-connected communities’ course this weekend.
Greaves forage garden is also maturing and could do with some helping hands to look after this small forest garden. Soft and hard fruit, herbs, and even a few grapes and cranberries are rewarded to those who pass by and lend a helping hand.
Claver Hill community farm has a number of growing projects running on its site that include: Spud club’s no-dig veg growing, Transition’s community tree nursery, a young orchard, a John Muir nature trail and poly tunnel growing. This community food project offers a lot in terms of growing skills and some of the group are life-long growers with much to share.