Dan has the biggest cabbage I have ever seen. We all coo over them - Jamie has to grab a knife from the van to divide them for us all. I ask if he has a market garden as he brings a big box of zucchinis and squash too. Nope, he says. I just love growing stuff and giving it away. I give him some huge heads of garlic to plant in return. He doesnt stay to chat but dashes off happily.
This is our fourth garden meet up, and some stay to chat for the duration, and some dash in and dash out with barely a word, such as whoever left these gorgeous radish pickles which I grabbed, whilst someone else took the homemade chilli sauce and zucchini pickle. Brian, who I gift a few early cherry tomatoes for seed, is devastated there are no scones this week. I console him by giving up my white lavender I had just grabbed off Tony, on the proviso he has cuttings ready for me for next Spring.
Mary, who gave me an old esky last week for selling eggs out the front of my place, brings a big box of white jonquil bulbs and some blue bell bulbs, which remind me of woodlands in England in spring. Not everyone takes them and I end up with the remainder which I will put at my front gate with a for free sign.
There is lettuce and spring onions, lots of herbs and a few small plants too. I bring eggs, garlic and huge bunches of Vietnamese mint. Lorraine agrees to run it while I am away, because this group has become such a community event no one wants to see it go when I am travelling. I have printed off flyers for 8 months in advance!
We talk about wicking beds and veggie spiralisers, pistachios and almonds, bees and calendula. We swap recipes and ideas, drink coffee and chai from the cafe across the road, and have a good laugh. People are finally getting the hang of this event- it does not matter what or how much you bring, but only that you join in the spirit of community abundance.
If you are in doubt about creating a garden group in your area but really want to, get in touch. It is one of the best things I have done in the last year, and I am really proud of my achievement. We all enjoy it immensely as well as having food to bring home - all for free. The only cost is a bit of thoughtfulness and an hour or two of time. This kind of thing is becoming more common as we turn away from big supermarkets and create a more independent, resilient and healthy life.