The 3 Sisters – Railway Village Project

As far as we know, this is a first for Swindon!

The 3 Sisters is a front doorstep gardening project for 25 residents of the Railway Village.

So what is it?

Put simply, it’s free vegetables, grown on your doorstep for you and your family to harvest, for free. No cost, no bills, just a bit of fun to water the plants and watch them grow, then eat the results!

Large green growbag
Copyright Image courtesy of sackmaker.com

Tell me more!

Each of the 25 residents will be delivered, for free, one large growbag (like the one in the photo).

It will be prefilled with compost, placed in the resident’s front garden near the front door.

Over the following couple of months vegetable plants will be supplied (also for free) for you to plant into your growbag.

Eventually the vegetables will ripen and then you can harvest them.

How do I get the vegetables?

About 1 month apart we’ll be holding three “Cake Days” at the Central Community Centre in Emlyn Square.

On each of these weekend cake days we’ll be handing out vegetable seedlings:

 

Cake Day 1 – Sweetcorn

Cake Day 2 – Beans or Peas (these will climb up the sweetcorn)

Cake Day 3 – Squash, Courgettes or Cucumbers (their big leaves will shade the soil, reducing water loss and holding back any weeds)

Anyone with mobility issues can ask us to deliver, but we do recommend you come to each Cake Day if you can as it’s a chance to meet other residents on the project. And there’ll be cake!!

How do I join in?

There are different ways to put your name down. We’ll be door knocking in May until we’ve got 25 residents signed up.

Alternatively, you can contact us via:

What are the dates for delivery of my growbag and to collect my seedlings?

The cake days to collect your seedling are below. We are still finalising the delivery date for the growbag.

  • Growbag delivery – Wed 18th May
  • Cake Day 1 – Sat 21st May, 2pm – 4pm
  • Cake Day 2 – Sat 11th June, 2pm – 4pm
  • Cake Day 3 – Sat 2nd July, 2pm – 4pm

If I’m not paying for it, who is, and why?

Good question. When we first came across the idea we loved it. Growing vegetables together as a community is a marvellous idea for all sorts of reasons. So we took it to the council and they were delighted to fund the whole project for Incredible Edible Swindon to carry out. By the way, we do ask our suppliers for discounts to keep costs down and all the labour is provided free of charge.

I don’t know much about gardening

That’s fine. We’ll provide everything you need, including guidance. You’ll need to plant the seedlings and water them. If you have family with you they can join in as it’s fun to watch the plants grow as the weeks go by. You’ll be surprised how much gardening knowledge you pick up just through looking after three types of plants.

Who else has run this project and where?

We were inspired by Naomi Schillinger, a gardening author for Grow Your Own magazine. Naomi set up the 3 sisters project near Finsbury Park station, Islington. You can also read Naomi’s blog on the same subject or her community gardening book Veg Street.

Future Plans

This year we are trialling it for 25 Railway Village residents. Hopefully it will be a success and more people will want to join in next year. Fingers crossed.

We look forward to meeting you soon.

Hang on – why’s it called the 3 sisters?

Oops, sorry – forgot that bit. Each of the plants work together.

The sweetcorn provides support for the beans/peas to climb up.

The beans/peas help tether the sweetcorn like guy ropes on a tent and they help to make the soil more fertile.

The cucumber/courgette has very large leaves that keep the weeds down by shading them out and reducing evaporation from the compost, which helps to retain moisture.

It’s the native American indians that figured all this out (plants working in harmony, also known as companion planting) and since there are three plant types, they are the three sisters.

Any terms & conditions?

Yes just one. The council have stipulated that at least 20 of the residents must be Swindon council tenants.

 

Contact us to put your name down:

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