Lynsted Community Kitchen Garden
Regular readers may remember our Innovations In Climate Tech events, which led to the selection of three projects that would receive a small grant. These are intended to help the groups trial a climate project at the local level, in collaboration with one or more local councils.
We announced the successful projects back in November. They’ve had a few months to get up and running, so we thought we’d check in to see how they were doing.
First to report back is the Lynsted Community Kitchen Garden (LCKG). Working with Swale Borough Council, their initial bid was around using tech to showcase sustainable approaches to gardening, with an emphasis on adapting to a changing climate. A key part of this was the purchase of a weather station, through which they would be able to collect data that would help inform some insights for future gardeners.
LCKG’s report on their progress so far is as follows:
The new digital Davies weather station has been purchased and built, and a month’s worth of data has already been collected. The arrival of this wonderful piece of technology has awoken an entirely new level of ‘weather chat’ within the community garden membership and no doubt some of those discussions reach workplaces and home too.
We are sharing what we learn from our weather station through a new blog on our website. This combines a weekly, local weather forecast with practical ideas for gardening and gardens.
On Sunday evenings we post an overview of the week ahead: temperature highs and lows, frost warnings, precipitation patterns and ‘a best day for gardening’. We’ve been amazed by the accuracy that data generated at the local scale can deliver.
“Climate is what you expect and weather is what you get” … or so the saying goes. At the local level we are aware of the need for accuracy and clarity about the weather we ‘get’. Hence, the immense value of having a digital weather station and this piece of tech is something we would never have been able to have without the mySociety grant.
Over time, weather patterns can hopefully inform us about climate, which in turn can allow us to adapt the way we garden and, indeed, live. We firmly believe that the weather station and the information it collects will have a lasting legacy.
The mySociety grant included an allocation for starting a herb ‘dry’ garden, focused around drought tolerant planting.
Plans have now been drawn up for this, and the footprint has been measured up. The impetus created by winning the grant propelled us to make this part of the project bigger and more creative, and we’ve applied for further funding (from another source) to support some additional elements.
It will offer somewhere quiet to sit, a space for sharing culinary and medicinal tips as well a place with climate adaption built in. The proposed herb garden has climate resilience credentials, community bonding opportunities and huge educational potential.
It’s the community that has advanced the wellbeing vision for the herb garden in this way, to match its vitally important climate adaption facet. There is a palpable sense of excitement about the opportunities this duality will bring.
Informational signs are being designed, but will not be constructed until March. They will be added to key parts of the garden to explain what things like the weather station, or no-dig growing beds are and how they work. Importantly, they will link back to information on the website that helps support the community first, sustainable approach we follow.
Additional rainwater harvesting equipment has been purchased and is under construction.
An open morning has been scheduled and planned for Sat March 25th to show case the weather station and talk about practical steps towards climate adaption. Lynsted Primary School is due to attend the gardens for five Fridays from 24 Feb 2023 and the children will use the weather station as well as other aspects of the garden.
Thanks very much to LCKG for sharing their update, along with the general sense of excitement and activity that’s underway. We’re glad to have been able to bring something we’re very familiar with – data – to a completely new area for us – gardening – and to see so much happening as a result.
We’ll be checking in with our other grantees soon, so watch this space to find out how their projects are coming along.