The ‘Appleby Edibles’ community group has a polytunnel and garden at the Appleby Heritage Centre by the railway station.
May 2018 update:
Fancy a look round or getting your own bed? Please get in touch with Lucy Teather on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07710405357.
October 2017 update:
Work progresses developing the site and we are pleased to say a couple at Cliburn near Penrith gave us an aluminium greenhouse. It was an education dismantling and re erecting it at our gardening site at the Appleby Heritage Centre. We fitted out the greenhouse with benches, a metal cupboard and relocated our pot bound vine there. It should grow well there having room for root development and more sunshine than in the polytunnel. Members John and Donna Stokes (see picture) have agreed to be our master seedling growers.
August 2017 update:
The polytunnel and membership is developing well - polytunnel is rather like walking into the greenhouses at Kew. The soil in the planters is developing well thanks to the addition of soil from a town housing development, compost from the heap and bought in bags of compost from Jenkinson's in Penrith.
We have installed a rainwater harvesting system which has served us well over the summer Due to demand we are going to create more outside planters.
January 2017 update:
Work has continued over the winter months adding more planter beds to the polytunnel and installing a rainwater collection system that feeds to an internal storage tank - see picture. One advantage of a polytunnel is you can work what ever the weather.
The outside planters are maturing nicely having grown potatoes last year and the recent addition of our home matured compost. We will shortly be covering some of the beds with polythene, note hoops over some planters. Rhubarb is being forced, it is its second year so there might be some pickings
A wild flower bed is being sown and one member wants to take up bee keeping, has anyone got unused hives we can inherit ?
July 2016 update:
The group is in its third year and through support from Cumbria Community Foundation and an ECHO grant from Eden Housing Association a mains water supply has been installed and a shed erected for storage of equipment.
Planter beds inside the polytunnel and outside beds are growing well, one bed has been devoted to rhubarb ready for cropping in year two and two members have planted asparagus, which again cannot be cropped until its second year.
An important feature of horticulture is soil condition and we are working on this by planting lots of potatoes and developing the compost heaps.
The group has grown to about twenty and includes children following their parents. One member, Hilary Wilson, is a county apple expert and can often be found at Acorn Bank near Temple Sowerby advising the public about apple varieties.
June 2015 update:
Appleby Edibles are very pleased to have received a grant from Eden Housing Association for a secure shed to store tools and to buy tools.
April 2015 update:
The group is now in its second year and well into an early start to the season. The Polytunnel has survived winter storms and space is being cleared for more growing boxes to accommodate the great range of seedlings the group is growing. We have also been able to acquire some topsoil for inside and new outside boxes.
We are searching for grants to improve the facilities such as installing a mains water supply, rabbit proof fencing to outside beds, tools and a shed to store tools. We are appealing through Freegle for a shed.
The polytunnel had previously been used to store a railway engine that was awaiting restoration, however the engine has long since gone, and the polytunnel is now being used just to store redundant items from Heritage Centre training courses.
The polytunnel is in need of some general repairs and improvements, and a grant application has been made for initial funding. The main requirement is a new cover, which is possibly the most expensive item as it is rather large, approximately 80ft x 20ft x 15ft high.
Timber to construct growing boxes and some good soil to fill them would also be needed. It’s envisaged there could be about 16 boxes initially, each measuring approximately 6ft x 3ft. Also needed would be some tools to construct the boxes and some gardening equipment.
Then of course some volunteers would be sought to help fit the new cover and make the boxes, and of course people wishing to grow vegetables. Initial meetings have generated a number of possible ideas, particularly to involve local primary and secondary schools and youth groups.
As well as the polytunnel itself, there are a number of other possibilities for community growing on spare land outside. For example a nice long chain link fence adjoining the railway line could be used to grow climbing plants.
The polytunnel opportunity was originally identified by Carl Bendelow with John Weir. An adhoc committee has since been formed with Malcolm Preston-Green acting as chair, Dani Leslie agreed to resource some funding through grants, and Sue Burns and John Weir as members.
All ideas and support are very welcome to help develop the initiative! Contact can be made through the PACT website.