When I took on the Sunburst Garden at Grow Wilder it looked exciting, but also slightly overwhelming. What was once a productive garden had turned into an overgrown field of weeds and long grass. At the back was the raspberry area - you could just about make it out between the explosion of giant thistles nettles and other overgrown weeds. I was told there had been a path and other raised beds which were no longer visible. The adjacent plots were just about visible amidst the explosion of nature. I found it incredible to see what happens when nature is left to its own devices for over a year: the biodiversity of flora and fauna and the range of insects and pollinators was amazing to see.
The first job was to choose which areas of the garden to leave wild and which areas we wanted to grow on. As we were starting late in the growing season (end of May) I knew it wasn’t realistic to try and cultivate and grow veg in all the areas.
Plan in hand, my volunteers and I frantically sowed lots of things in plug trays and pots. The next job was to establish the garden by making rows of beds interspersed with paths, backfilled with woodchip. After a fantastic effort from weekly volunteers and corporate groups, we created a no-dig bed system in the Sunburst Garden. We then planted our freshly-grown plugs. Ultimately, it became a beautiful space, filled with nutritious veg and adorned with an array of edible flowers.
Next, we re-established the raspberry area, before planting up the raised beds and the plots in amongst the wild areas. The polytunnel proved to be incredibly productive, with a vast array of tomatoes and chilli varieties, as well as cucumbers and different types of basil.