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Stockton Community Gardening Project

Tending the plants
Greenhouse under construction

The Stockton Community Garden Project is run in conjuction with members of the community, and provides opportunities for the children to grow fruit and vegetables.  Produce is sold to help with running costs of the garden.

OUR FUNDS

We started with three grants - £5,000 from Warwickshire County Council's Community Fund, £200 from Stockton Parish Council and £100 from the Heart of England Co-op. This is roughly how we have spent the money so far: 

Fencing £1006
Greenhouse £450
Shed £690
Raised beds & compost £794
Chicken house and run £306
Gravel, bark slabs £370
Pots, trays & tools £427
Signs £100
Compost bins £200
Weather station £45
Planters for playground £193

WHAT WE HAVE ACHIEVED

Work started on a cold, damp Saturday in May when several hardy volunteers built the fence. This was followed a couple of weeks later when the weed fleece was laid over the whole area and then the raised beds were put down and the greenhouse erected. The garden was officially opened by our local County Councillor John Appleton (who is now, happily, recovering from a serious illness)

on a glorious sunny Sunday at the end of May. Several people signed up that day to sponsor each of the raised beds. The shed was erected on another wet Saturday and then late on a hot Friday afternoon at the beginning of June 10 tons of topsoil and compost was dropped in a skip outside the gate and we were told it had to be moved by Monday when the skip was due to be recovered. Thankfully a local farmer came to our assistance and moved most of the soil with his mechanical bucket in one hour. The next day lots more volunteers helped to fill the raised beds and the bulk of the work had been done !! Soon after this we were able to start the gardening club sessions for the children on a Thursday afternoon. This term we have switched to a Tuesday afternoon and the children are selling their produce at Family Assembly on Friday to raise money for seeds for next year. During the summer holidays we built a chicken run and a local egg producer gave us six of his chickens and they started producing super eggs straight away. Another job that was completed by volunteers in the holidays was an impressive metal gate into the garden next to the playground entrance. A mini-weather station has also been installed with a maximum-minimum thermometer, a rain gauge, a wind indicator and a barometer, with the intention that the children will take readings each day and build a long term picture of weather patterns.

WHAT WE HAVE GROWN

Even though we made a late start with many of our seeds we have had good crops of courgettes, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and french beans and even one or two peppers and aubergines. What disasters have we had ? - well our carrots are all in a twist, somebody sprayed the early runner beans to combat blackfly and the plants curled up so another crop had to sown and some potatoes planted in a container were probably smaller when the came out than when they were planted. For the autumn and winter months we hope to have swede and leeks.

WHAT ARE OUR PLANS

It would help if we could have a water supply laid on and so once we know how much this will cost we will apply for another small grant to pay for it. We also plan to build some staging and another raised bed in the greenhouse. As well as the compost bins we have had a wormery donated to the garden and we hope to experiment with this to make compost and it should also produce a concentrated, organic liquid feed. The children are growing winter flowers such as wallflowers and pansies in the greenhouse and these will be used in the new planters that have been placed each side of the gate into the playground. These will be replaced with summer bedding next year.

WHY TUCKWELL

The Reverend Tuckwell was Rector of Stockton from 1878 to 1893 and became known nationally and internationally as a radical or reforming parson. One of his causes was to improve the miserable conditions in which many of his parishioners lived and his most famous act was to let out his glebe land as allotments at affordable fees so that working families could supplement their meagre income by growing their own food. Eventually by 1886 he had let out 200 acres at rents as low as £1 per acre, but he had to leave the village in 1893 because he found it impossible to live on the reduced income from the glebe land. Most of the allotments gradually fell into disuse after the original fourteen year leases ran out but the last two along the footpath called “The Radical” (probably after Rev. Tuckwell) were still in use until a few years ago. 

We decided that it would befitting to remember his name in our new garden.

AND FINALLY

None of this would have been possible without the incredible amount of help that we have had from people. We reckon that we have had about 500 hours of volunteer effort to create the garden and help us with our aim of teaching the children about the fruit and vegetables that they eat, where they come from and how to grow them. So a REALLY BIG THANK YOU to all those who have supported us both with volunteer help or financially.

If you are interested in getting involved with the project please contact Howard Collerson.