Garden Project – Phase One

So our Community Garden project is finally under way!


Today a fantastic group of volunteers from BTCV and their community project officer Sarah Learoyd arrived bright and early for a hard day’s work. Everyone seemed excited to be involved in such a transformation. We are incredibly grateful to everyone who has already lent a hand in the garden over the last two years, and all those who are helping at the moment and will be over the14 month period that BTCV will kindly be working with us. Without a doubt the community garden project would not be possible without all of these wonderful people. To learn more about BTCV and the valuable work that they do see here: BTCV Leeds (and come and visit their stall at our May Day event).

Today’s jobs involved site clearance and general tidying up, digging over vegetable beds, filling in old beds and planting lots of seeds in our newly cleaned greenhouses.


We’ve also had some handymen in today from Leeds City Council to complete the huge job of removing the tarmac, flattening the land down and preparing it for new turf to be laid. We are delighted with this, thanks a million to Julie Meakin and those at LCC who made it happen.



And we have some lovely new grass! The garden is already taking shape and looking great.



Today we were lucky enough to have two groups of BTCV volunteers in the garden, the Green Gym and a diploma group so there was lots of work to do; planting seeds and bulbs, moving the shed and the greenhouses, digging out vegetable beds and planting out. There was also some bursts of sunshine which brightened up the day.



Keep your eyes peeled in the next few weeks as an interview with Sarah Learoyd (BTCV’s Community Project Officer) is on its way…


Today was scorching and even saw some new volunteers get involved in the Green Gym group which is fantastic. The area of the garden which they have been working on (which you can see in the photograph) has already come on leaps and bounds which is amazing considering this is only the third week which we’ve had BTCV helping in the garden. Jobs involved digging over new beds, potting up more seeds weeding and re-potting the plants on the terrace, watering, planting out, re-turfing and clearing the terrace.


The BTCV diploma group also set to work on a low willow fence today to separate the allotment, perfume and mosaic gardens from the main grassed area. Doesn’t it look ace!



Despite the april showers, we still had a hardy group of green gym helpers in the garden today beginning work on a wildflower meadow. Jobs included digging out turf to create the meadow, filling in old beds, weeding vegetable beds, planting broad beans and watering and planting seeds. What troopers.




Things were abit quieter in the garden today so thank you to those who helped out for their extra hard work marking and digging out what will be the beautiful wildflower meadow, potting on pea and pumpkin seedlings and weeding all of our vegetable beds…pats on the back all round.


We also had some wonderful news this week that we have been awarded £1000 from the Leeds Rag Community Fund to spend on disabled access in our garden, allowing many more people to access, volunteer in and enjoy this great space. We are collecting the cheque on the 26th April and are currently in the process of getting quotations for a ramp from the side gate so we will keep you posted.



Today started off awfully grey and miserable but bizarrely as soon as BTCV arrived along with their green-fingered volunteers the rain seemed to disappear and out came the sun and brighter skies. We all breathed a pretty big sigh of relief as it was looking like a very wet one.  I think today was one of the busiest days in the garden since the community garden project started as there were nearly twenty people helping. It was also one of the busiest Tuesdays that we’ve had at Inkwell for a while with lots of creativity and ideas flowing with artists, Instrumental musicians, film directors, May Day planners and lots more.

Today’s jobs in the garden involved potting on lots of vegetable seedlings including beetroot, lettuce, radishes, broad beans, chard and peas (yum), digging over and prepared the ground for the wildflower meadow, digging over the flower beds and weeding the fruit plots. Along with tending to the growing seedlings (some of which you might even be able to buy on May Day).


We were also lucky enough to have the BTCV Diploma group of about eight people in on Monday and Tuesday this week, in which they sanded and painted the two sheds and garden furniture a very nice bottle green.


It was a busy day for the Conservation Volunteers’ (the new name for BTCV) Green Gym in Inkwell’s community garden yesterday. Jobs included planting out more vegetable and flower seeds, weeding the flower beds and digging over the wildflower meadow. The Diploma group painted the fence, tables and chairs and did a sterling job in preparation for May Day. What do you think of our new blue fence?



There were twelve volunteers today so many hands to make light work. We also managed to get a few photographs of the Green Gym group doing some warming down exercises. For more information about Ecominds’ Green Gym groups see here.


This week we were also lucky enough to pick up the very generous grant from the Leeds RAG Community Fund to pay for a ramp from the side gate into the community garden, and lots of accessible tools and equipment so volunteers with mobility issues are still able to get involved in the Green Gym and aiding the garden’s development. Leeds RAG is the student fundraising society of Leeds University and they put on a fantastic event which allowed us to meet several other local community organisations, hear about the amazing work which they do and drink tea and eat plenty of cake in the meantime. So thanks Leeds RAG, thanks to you our garden can soon be accessed by so many more people-our students, members of the local community and people in wider Leeds who before would not have been able to get outside into the space.



There was a mix of sunshine and light showers in the garden today but as ever the volunteers continued on as there is lots to do to get the garden ready for May Day! Our lovely group cleared the beds and terrace garden, tidyed up the garden waste, mended the greenhouse, seeded our wildflower meadow, potted on peas, planted courgette seeds and planted out colourful bedding plants ready for Sunday.  And haven’t they done a great job!



There has been lots of other May Day preparations outside this week sorting out shelter and a rain contingency plan, the garden plan, cutting the grass and lots of other last minute tasks.

P.S BTCV have had a rebrand a snazzy revamp so they are now (drumroll please…) The Conservation Volunteers (TCV).





There was lots of post-May Day fixing up to do today and after a few too many excited children (and foxes for that matter) playing on our allotments so today our green fingered group mended the greenhouses, potted on the veg seedlings, planted our peas, lettuce and beetroot into the ground (yum), weeded, cleared up the grounds after May Day, turned the compost and planted the leftover flowers which didn’t sell at May Day on Kevin’s plant stall  into the beds.



Today was also an exciting day as we had a volunteer celebration accompanied by a huge vat of veggie rogan josh curry made by June, and a creative evaluation session after May Day. Lots of useful feedback was produced in the session, as was lots of interesting discussion about improvements, the best bits, what we were proud of, just how much was achieved (great team effort) and how our volunteers think some of the funds raised should be spent.

We also had a visit from Tom Riordan, Chief Executive of Leeds City Council who tucked into some curry, had a tour of Inkwell, watched our May Day slideshow and had a good chat with some of our students and volunteers. So it was an interesting afternoon all round.



Today we had our first home grown radish! Keep your eyes peeled for that little fellow being cooked up at our community cafe soon. I think it was a proud moment for Sarah and the TCV team. So today our hardy Green Gym group weeded the terrace, tidied up after the foxes got onto the allotment and into the greenhouses (again) and companion planted lettuces and cabbages amongst the broad beans, planted sunflower seeds and turned the compost. And it was another lovely day for it too.




We hope that we do say this enough but we are seriously grateful to all of our volunteers, inside and out who make Inkwell (both the creative arts space and the garden) the truly amazing community hub which it is.


Today was another scorcher so lots of drinks and keeping hydrated were top priority. Sarah and the team soon got to work in the beautiful sunshine digging out the new vegetable bed, building up the minibeast tower (it has been extended from the minibeast bungalow that TCV got punters at May Day involved in constructing…) building the pumpkin structure, weeding the willow fence, lots and lots and lots of watering-both people and plants, companion planting beetroot, sprouts, kale and cabbages and building new veg planters from stacks of tyres donated from the kind garage next door.


There was lots of jobs to be done in the garden today so the Green Gym group set right to work painting the potting tables, planting out lettuces, peas, beetroot and sprouts (which will all hopefully be incorporated in some delicious and nutritious salads when our community cafe launches at the start of August so keep your eyes peeled…). They also set up tyre planters which will be used to grow potatoes in (big thanks to the friendly guys from the garage next door), planted out carrots and lots of new seeds, harvested radishes and did the standard weeding, watering and turning the compost. So there was definitely a job for everyone!



As Inkwell was closed over the half term week Sarah and a few of her green fingered Volunteer Officers from TCV just did a quick site visit to water the seedlings and tomatoes in the greenhouses, weed a couple of the beds and plant some marigolds. What dedication!



It was another grey day inC LS7 today but of course that didn’t deter the garden group and we had another good crowd of lovely volunteers. Today they planted out kale, spinach, lettuce and courgettes, weeded the vegetable and flower beds, watered in the greenhouses and harvested more radishes.


It looks like the sun came out especially for the Green Gym today as it has been a bright warm morning and a dry and balmy afternoon so perfect gardening weather. We also have had one of our biggest Green Gym groups yet so thank you to all that turned out, especially the new volunteers. And, we had a visit from Suzanne McTaggart, a journalist and a photographer  from the Yorkshire Post who seemed to love Inkwell and enjoyed hearing all about the community garden project so keep your eyes peeled in the Yorkshire press for a write up and some photos coming soon!

So today our big group of hardworkers set right to work…


There was also some tidying up to be done after Inkwell’s Midsummer Masquerade event on Sunday. If you didn’t make it down have a peek at some photos below and lots more here






But we do still need you…

If you would like to help transform this neglected beer garden into one of the most creative gardens in the universe then please get in touch.

There are a wide range of jobs to do so don’t worry if the thought of heavy lifting is putting you off as you won’t need to do any of that, we hope that there is something for everyone and lots of new skills to be learnt. As well as getting some lovely fresh air, meeting great new people and doing something very worthwhile – every Tuesday 10-3pm or any point inbetween, at Inkwell (31 Potternewton Lane, Leeds, LS7 3LW).

We’d love to have you onboard.

The Green Gym is supported by Health Amaze and NHS Leeds.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.