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Grofun

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Production team | 09:46 UK time, Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Alys FowlerI got a photo message on my phone yesterday that almost had me in tears (I was feeling a little emotional). I can't see photo messages on my phone without going to a website and entering a pin. I can never be bothered as it seems too much hassle, but I was intrigued to see what it was.


I imagined a giant slug or pecked at pea as it was from one of my community gardening gang. Instead there was a picture of a lunch box with just the simple message of 'thank-you' underneath. The contents of the lunch box were rocket leaves, radishes and lettuce. One converted, 999,999 million to go!

One small step of salad sufficiency aside, it's rather cold here. The wind whips through my garden and seems to settle on the soil. My tomato seems to be hugging itself to keep warm; its leaves are so bent inwards and the lettuces look sulky as if to say, 'not yet'.
The rocket however is unfazed and I'm picking salads off it and Japanese bunching onions everyday. I feel a little behind with things, I worry that my courgettes aren't big enough and yet the season seems as lost as me.

One thing that has not slowed or stalled is my enthusiasm for Grofun (growing real organic food in urban neighbourhoods). We've got two more Grofun action days left and I'm already beginning to get anxious about the absence of cake. Clare offered three different types of chocolate cake last weekend, three! My Saturdays are going to seem dull after that. The soups, cakes, endless teas and new found friendship are a lovely part of Grofun, but what's unexpected, to me at least, is how well we've done on little resources. Taking the principles of permaculture to heart we built beds of old conifer trunks, found a wonderful pile of hand thrown roof tiles buried at the back of one garden, we've built compost bin (attractive ones at that) out of old doors, old trellis and even a bit of rather odd bird table. We unearthed some of the best looking compost I've seen in years (that's you Oz and your five year's worth of guinea pig poo!). We've created a miniature forest garden, made some beautiful reclaimed paths, built sheds, created herb gardens and planted enough potatoes to start a cottage crisp factory.

Now comes the testing bit as we see how the measure of our powers plays out (rather a lot of slugs I fear in all this wet weather). I'm giving a talk at my local next Wednesday on 'Germination and Determination' to keep the spirits up and to swap all the extra plants.

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