Photo: Robert Golden

On May 19, Bridport Food Matters ran an Open Veg and Fruit Gardens Afternoon. This was our first in-person event for over a year, and worked out well. Six locations had kindly volunteered as hosts, and we had about forty visitors.

We had thanks from visitors for “an informative and pleasant afternoon”, and the hosts also found it fun and illuminating. Sarah Wilberforce, hosting at the Edible Garden at St Mary’s Primary School, reports that guests were delighted to taste fresh broad beans in May (see picture above).

Our locations were quite diverse, and comprised:

  • Bridport cohousing community allotment, at Flaxhayes, run as a collaborative project
  • Edible Gardens at St Mary’s School: an innovative project offering involvement for kids and adults
  • Lynchetts sustainable food garden: this is Alan and Linda Heeks’ garden, with biodynamic and other eco cultivation methods
  • Skilling Forest Garden: Mandy Rathbone is using her allotment to create a Forest Garden, using the ideas of Malcolm Crawford and others
  • Symene Plot: this is Rachel Millson’s allotment at Symene Cohousing, and features some interesting climate-adaptive crops.
  • Julie Penfold’s allotment, also off West Road: Julie is using a no-dig, continuous cover approach, especially relevant as her plot is prone to flooding.

Mandy Rathbone sent this report after the event:

How lucky were we with the weather on Wednesday!! It was such a lovely afternoon and I really enjoyed having visitors to my plot and telling them about how my mini forest garden came about, showing them what was growing and telling them my plans for the future.  My visitors arrived one at a time so I spent the whole afternoon talking!  But there were interesting discussions about various perennial plants that could be grown and using green manures, as well as the difficulty of adjusting to being a different sort of gardener for a forest garden – watching and waiting – instead of always feeling you need to be in control.

Rachel Millson reported:

It was a really lovely. sunny day showing everyone round the allotment and a great opportunity to share our collective knowledge and ideas. There was a particular interest in perennial and other more unusual fruit & veg. Whilst I had a few purple Jerusalem artichokes and wild rocket plants to give away I also managed to gain a Honeyberry!

Rachel (centre of pic) briefing visitors. Photo: Pete Millson

We will continue to offer resources for home growers via, and please send us your ideas and share your experience, including ways to adapt to the changing climate.