The Urban Food Growing Trail was funded by these organisations.
Incredible Edible Bristol, Grow Bristol and Bee The Change collaborated in 2015 to create a series of gardens that lead from Temple Meads to Millennium Square.
There are now 14 gardens on the Urban Food Trail, and we are excited to bring vegetable tourism to Bristol. With a new map now in circulation, illustrated by a team led by Dave Bain, including Hannah Bailey, Dawn Cooper and designer Chris Woodward, it is now possible to walk from Temple Meads to the centre of the city, following a trail of beautiful and productive gardens that are full of food for everyone to help themselves to when it is ready…..
If you would like a tour of the trail by our founder Sara Venn or one of the team, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will organise that for you and your group.
The herb bed in Anchor Square was built and planted for the first Food Connections Festival in Bristol in 2014. Sponsored by Almondsbury Garden Centre, it is a beautiful raised planter filled with perennial herbs, including lavenders, rosemary, thyme, marjoram and three sages, pineapple, blackcurrant and traditional. We interplant each year with annual herbs such as parsley and coriander.
When the bed was first installed, during the Food Connections Festival, we worked with mainly children to plant the bed whilst chatting with their parents about what we were doing and who Incredible Edible Bristol was. We are shortly going to replant some of the herbs to refresh the bed but its basic make-up will remain the same.
The five beds in Millennium Square are themed so that each bed tells a story of how space can be efficiently used when it is at a premium to grow maximum crops and show what can be grown in a small, urban space.
Starting with the bed by the Planetarium, the themes are
Soft fruit, herbs and edible flowers/pollinator-friendly planting
Soft fruit-mainly strawberries
Salads and quick crops, along with beans
Herbs and late winter crops
Each bed also contains fruit trees that, over the years, will become fully fruiting if they are small trees. These are all apples and pears at the moment, but other species will be added over time.
These are by no means set in stone but we hope that by doing things this way, we can guarantee that something will be growing in each bed all year round. This winter, we are going to grow some green manures in some of the beds over winter as well in order to continue to work on the soil health in each bed.
These beds are supported by Almondsbury Garden Centre and At Bristol, who own the beds.
What a difference we have made to this space!! We so far have removed four lorry loads of unnecessary and badly looked after shrubbery along with piles of rubbish and have opened up the space so that it is now a park that is useable to all. Fruit, perennial vegetables a composting site and a bee garden are all in place, and we are working with a local community group to now improve the area outside of the park…..
After a considerable conversation with Network Rail, it was agreed that we could put our first Food Growing Trail garden on Platform 3 of Temple Meads Station. However, to say the least, the growing conditions were poor and we have now moved it outside to the area by the entrance of the Passenger Shed.
At the moment, it contains a rhubarb plant and blackcurrant, but that will expand as the season progresses.
The decisions around what to plant in this garden were taken looking, making it productive for 2015 as well as looking beyond this year and into the future. The backbone of the garden are the two apple trees and the perennial fruit and vegetable plants which will remain in place and productive for many years to come. However, it was also necessary to ensure productivity for this year whilst the perennial plants are young and concentrating on putting roots out into the soil rather than cropping, so we also added some annual vegetables as well as some edible flowers to fill in the gaps as it were. The edible flowers will self seed and so become a yearly part of the garden too.
When James, at the time, a strategy team member and maker of extraordinary raised beds, mentioned the video below, we immediately knew we had to make one of these for our Urban Growing Trail.
The Engine Shed seemed like the optimum place to put the bed as it’s as low-tech as it gets whilst being seriously high-tech in the way it uses capillary action to create this amazing bed that only needs watering every three weeks of so!!
In the bed are a variety of crops that are really proving that the capillary action in the bed works! Tomatoes, squashes, fennel, brassicas, and sweet marjoram are all looking well and will soon be cropping, at which point we will replant with crops that will continue to produce food well into the autumn.
You will see, looking at the pictures of our bed, that we took the design stage a step further than the Food For Free project. Shape Studio did a brilliant job of making the bed not only productive but also beautiful.
The garden outside Thomas Chatterton’s house has been designed with permaculture firmly at the forefront of it’s being. Rather than producing a garden that needs huge amounts of maintenance, we have put together a garden that is mainly perennial, and that has minimal watering needs. In it, we have also included a pollinator bed that is full of perennial plants that are bee and pollinator friendly, therefore feeding ourselves but also ensuring plenty of food for the creatures we rely on to pollinate our crops.
In the bee bed, we have the following…
In the beds for humans are the following…
Alpine strawberries Rhubarb
We will be adding to these beds throughout the year to create a wonderful, perennial and year-round garden which is good for man and beast.
All of the trees and shrubs in this garden were chosen by the parish committee at St Mary Redcliffe, and we were very pleased that they went for the trees that we suggested as they are rarely found in the urban landscape and so will offer harvests that we do not often see in the city. As you will see when you visit the garden, we have bought substantially sized trees so that there will be fruit in the next couple of years, and one of the trees had fruitlets on it when planted.
The trees are:
The soft fruit is:
There will be limited fruit production this year, but next year everything in the garden will be fruit, with the soft fruit beginning in late June and July, the Quince in late September to October and the Medlar in October and November.