The Garden at Cole Street Farm
When the Threshold Centre pioneers arrived on the scene, there was very little usable land, as the previous owners of Cole Street Farm had over the years sold off about 300 acres of the land, leaving us with a triangle of land between the buildings, which eventually became our beautiful Village Green. It was part of the planning permission for our ‘sustainable community’, however, that we should grow as much of our own food as possible, so our pioneers managed to rent an acre of the farmer’s field across the road.
Then followed the construction of the large polytunnel and 20 raised beds, all of which have been in full (organic) production ever since. The land is on very heavy clay more suited to dairy farming, so the raised beds were essential, and the fruit trees planted in our orchard struggle in the wet soil and the cold wet westerly winds, but nevertheless we have had a good crop of apples every year (perhaps thanks to our annual Wassail!). Each resident, either on their own or in a group, takes ownership of a bed (or two) either outside or in the polytunnel, and undertakes to produce at least one crop which is then available for all to eat.
However, in 2015 we decided to make some changes. Some of us are keen Permaculturists and we wanted to make the garden more integrated and biodiverse, and also the wooden bed edges were rotting out and harbouring slugs…..so on a Gardening Weekend in May, we did away with the rectangular beds and their straight edges, and created pleasing curved shapes with woodchip paths throughout. We also took out the “rabbitproof” fence that had previously cut the space in two, so that now the veg garden blends gently into the fruit bushes and orchard. Now the keen gardeners amongst us can have more of an allotment space where we can create our own bit of diversity.
And it’s not all hard work (as we say of our Gardening/Work Weekends) - the field is enjoyed by residents and visitors alike for its beautiful view of Duncliffe Hill, as a quiet space for contemplation, practising Qigong in the yurt, chatting to the chickens, or just watching the reflections in our beautiful new pond or sitting round the bonfire with a drink. We have also created an improved camping space next to the yurt for all you willing volunteers….!
This year we are holding only one Gardening Weekend event in March but we are having various in-house work days throughout the year, in which anyone who would like to join us for a day, or half a day with a bring-and-share lunch is always made very welcome. Please contact the office to find out more.
Gardening/Work Weekends 2017
Visitors invited to arrive Friday evening 17th for dinner and leave after lunch, or at 4.00pm Sunday (accommodation and all meals provided £50 donation requested to cover weekend costs). Weekend includes erecting yurt, with creative / play time and Vernal Equinox celebration Sunday 2.00-4.00pm to which local people are also welcome to join afternoon activities.