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Vauxhall’s uprising urban gardens

People at Mawbey Farm Vauxhall

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19 Jun 2020

Vauxhall’s uprising urban gardens

In true Vauxhall style, there are green-fingered folk amongst us who see opportunity where most others don’t. Vauxhall City Farm’s peculiar placing and wild desires seem to be rubbing off on our residents. We asked Iain Houten of Mawbey Farm Vauxhall, a community project based on the Mawbey Brough Estate, to pen a few words for us.

We were lucky this year.

Myself and my neighbours have been running Mawbey Farm for four years, and we’ve grown a lot of food, but we’d never done it properly – we’d always settled for leggy seedlings, courgettes flopping all over the place, and never really any flowers apart from the likes of Phacelia, Nigella, Calendula, Nasturtium and Sunflowers, all of which can be easily grown when sown outside, straight into the soil, once the season gets going.

At the end of March, I was gifted around 160 plants – around 40 peas and greens and maybe 120 chilli and tomato seedlings, which came in six or seven small pots and had to be pricked out and potted on.

A mother and her 15-month-old daughter visit most days. Mawbey Farm is where that little girl will start to learn about plants and where food comes from. We’ve all become friends. It’s very uplifting.

The next day, I was furloughed, which was a bit of a shock, but it has given me a lot of time for community gardening. By the end of the summer, we’ll have distributed over 500 seedlings to members of Vauxhall Voices choir, Mawbey Brough Estate COVID Mutual Aid Group, Spurgeon Secret Garden on the estate next door, and many others locally.

The best thing about this year is seeing how important Mawbey Farm has become to so many people on the estate during the lockdown, just to hang out and look at the bees on the flowers or get involved. We’ve had more interest in planting, more donations of plants and more goodwill than we could ever have imagined.

For example, a mother and her 15-month-old daughter visit most days. Mawbey Farm is where that little girl will start to learn about plants and where food comes from. We’ve all become friends. It’s very uplifting.

Special thanks to Ian for the time he has taken to send this to us. If you have a local story about Vauxhall that needs to be told, let us know! Email us via this link.