Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Knowledge sharing the Incredible way!!

I consider myself immensely lucky. Incredible Edible Bristol has given me so many opportunities and whilst it may not give me financial gain, it gives me so much more, including a real sense of both self worth and confidence in what I do. Now that I am also vice chair of Incredible Edible, the national movement, I occasionally get to visit other groups too witch is fab, as essentially I'm nosy and hate to miss anything!
Part of our Incredible Edible model is to share knowledge and today I went to sunny Wales to do just that. Earlier in the year I helped Incredible Edible Usk to choose some plants for their amazing garden and to plant those plants out in a design that put plants together well and ensured right plant, right place. Since then they have filled raised beds with veg, planted chillies, tomatoes, cucumbers and aubergines in their greenhouse and filled several areas with beautiful pollinator friendly seed mixes. The garden speaks of edibles for all, annoyingly including rabbits for a while which have now been shut out, and includes planting that increases biodiversity as much as edibles to share. It's an extraordinary space I feel honoured to have had a tiny hand in.

Today I popped back over the Severn Bridge to do some work with the group on pruning and maintaining the garden. It's amazing how far it's come in a few short months, the plants having really filled out, and how it was buzzing with life. We wandered around the beds, discussing when to prune certain grasses depending on when they flower, what seed heads are good to leave over winter in the border for insects to live in during the cold months, how to prune a run away rose and so much more. We wondered at the size of the once tiny Rodgersias, discussed ground cover for their permaculture garden, and discussed whether to leave the self seeded buddlieas in or remove and replace with cultivated varieties. For info we removed them!
We removed blight ridden tomatoes from the greenhouse and marvelled at the salad crops being grown in the raised bed section.
And at no point did I feel I was teaching. What we were doing was sharing knowledge, helping each other to succeed and strengthening Incredible Edible networks. We talked about bats, countryside management, food growing, Welsh apple varieties and invertebrates. We drank tea and nibbled biscuits. 
And when we finished the garden looked incredible, and the group are confident in the knowledge that they know what they're doing month by month to look after the plants.
That's a day worth far more than money could buy. 

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