A new Journey of Growth in our Community Garden

Welcome to our brand new Community Garden blog written by Torbay Coast & Countryside Volunteer Amanda.

After years of dormancy, our Community Garden, at Occombe Farm, is springing into life. Our goal this year is simple: to provide fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs to our kitchen and café. We’re off to a good start! We’ve already sent our second week’s harvest—salad leaves, radishes, pea shoots, and herbs—to the kitchen for use in our café menu.

We’re also thrilled to welcome students from Coombe Pafford and Mayfield schools, offering them the chance to learn about food growth and nature firsthand. It’s a meaningful experience for them and for us.

In our gardening efforts, we’ve adopted a companion planting approach, steering clear of chemicals and opting instead, to work in harmony with nature. For instance, we’re planting carrots and parsnips between rows of onions or fennel. The idea is to mask the scent of carrots and parsnips, deterring carrot root fly—a common pest.

To further support our crops, we’re surrounding our vegetables with flowers. This not only adds beauty to the garden, but also attracts beneficial insects like lacewings and ladybirds, which help keep pests in check.

As the garden comes alive with activity, it’s a reminder of the cyclical nature of growth and the importance of working in harmony with the land. We look forward to seeing what the season brings and to sharing the fruits of our labour.