Open Food Gardens is going virtual for 2020!

This annual free programme – run by residents who are passionate about growing food opening up their gardens to visitors – with advice, tea and cake –  ran for ten years – with hundreds of people coming along to visit the gardens. Seedlings were sometimes on offer.  Included were local allotments.

We can’t run our programme of garden visits in 2020, so this year we are “going virtual” by creating videos of food growing in local gardens; see:

  • Catherine’s top tips for a family-friendly garden,
  • June’s tour of her super-productive compact garden (front and back gardens)
  • A tour of Nigel and Clare’s garden which is both productive and wildlife-friendly and
  • Mousumi’s garden growing Bangladeshi pumpkins.

Watch out for updates and get in touch if you would like a make a short video of your own open food garden.

5 Top Tips from a family-friendly food garden (2 mins).

A tour of June’s compact and incredibly productive back garden (3 mins).

and here is June’s front garden (2 mins)

A tour of Nigel and Clare’s productive and wildlife-friendly garden (4 mins). 

 Mousumi’s garden with Bangladeshi pumpkins; the music is a Bangla song about cooking pumpkin (29 seconds)

Images from 2019 Open Food Gardens – Find lots of inspiration here!

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Oct 2019. Theme: winter vegetables

Incredible Edible Russell Ave, St Albans AL3 5HB

This Incredible Edible plot, next to the Russell Avenue car park, is larger than the Civic Centre garden and more accessible for the less-mobile, with raised beds at a suitable height for wheelchair users. This garden will include more familiar vegetables, a wildlife area and a flower border for pollinators. Much of it is shaded by trees, giving us the opportunity to create an edible forest garden which will include wild and shade-tolerant veggies and many perennial edibles.

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Sept 2019. Theme: urban fruits and veg

Cowper Rd, Harpenden AL5 5NG

This urban garden, located near the centre of Harpenden, continues to evolve as more fruit and vegetables are grown. The garden wraps around all four sides of the house and is divided into several different areas, a wide variety of fruits have been planted over the last five years, including grape vines, almonds and quince as well as apples, plums, raspberries and strawberries.    Vegetables, perennial and annual, and herbs are also grown.

Sept 2019. Theme:  Alpacas!

The Holt, Holtsmere End Lane Redbourn AL3 7AW

Self-contained vegetable and soft fruit garden with wide range of vegetables. Additionally at the rear of the house tomatoes, and herbs are grown in pots. A field lies behind the vegetable patch which is the home to 9 alpacas.

Includes a wide range of vegetables – potatoes, onions, carrots, beetroot, pumpkins, courgettes, garlic, sweet potatoes, beans, kale etc. There is soft fruit – gooseberries, currants, raspberries, strawberries, herbs, rhubarb. They are grown in the self-contained garden raised beds, half of which are new this year. Also containers with potatoes, carrots, garlic.

There are two small ponds; 5 cats, 9 alpacas, and ducks!
There is a large open compost pile. Manure from site – alpaca. All manure/compost sourced on site. Water butts on shed.

Directions: The house is at the end of Holtsmere End Lane. After taking the left hand turn at the green triangle it is the third and last house on the right. Parking on large driveway or grass verges.

Aug 2019.  Two for One!

Marshalswick Lane AL1 4XE. Theme: Perennial Vegetables

Quiet garden despite its proximity to Marshalswick Lane. It covers approximately 1/3 acre. Fruit trees are scattered around the back garden, including two large, old Bramley apple trees, minarette apple trees and pears and a quince. Various different rhubarbs are grown, including one for Autumn use. There is an early and a late blackberry and Autumn Bliss raspberries.  There is a forest garden with various edibles under one of the apple trees.

Then + over the road at Peppercorn Place, St Mary’s Church Marshalswick

2-4pm special opening. Refreshments available.

Four raised beds of two heights made with railway sleepers. This year the two higher raised beds have been planted up as a herb garden and a sensory garden while we are growing beans, sweet peas, lettuces, tomatoes and other vegetables in the lower beds.
Fruit trees – plum, pear and cherry – are planted along one fence; not apple trees as we already have some of these in the Quiet Garden.

Bee-friendly space: The idea is to strike a balance between man and nature so we are trying to be wildlife friendly. The two areas at the back are being left “natural” though we have added plants that will encourage bees and butterflies. There are homes for insects and hedgehogs plus various feeders and a bath for the birds.

Aug 2019. Theme: ‘Flower Farmers’ Tea Party’

Plot 31, Tallents Crescent, Harpenden AL5 5BS

The Plot 31 Community Garden opened at the beginning of March and is a beautiful, welcoming space where volunteer gardeners can come, grow flowers, herbs and vegetables, make friends and spend time in the fresh air. The volunteers have worked incredibly hard to transform this blank canvas and now a few months in the garden is taking shape and we are even starting to harvest some crops! Everyone is welcome at the garden and our usual meeting day is Tuesdays 9.45am – 3.30pm.

An opportunity for people to look around and chat with us about the garden, maybe sow some seeds or have some tea and cake.

Aug 2019

Burydell Allotments, Burydell Lane, Park St AL2 2PU

Burydell is an allotment site of some 59 plots, most of which are half the traditional size.  The soil here is particularly good being in the river plain. It is a lovely secluded and secure site, surrounded by trees and farmland. All the plots are fenced to keep off the rabbits. There is a communal hut where tea and cake will be available.

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June 2019. Theme: raised beds

Gresford Close, St Albans AL4 OUB

Food is grown in both the back and front gardens. In the south facing front garden there is a mixture of fruit, vegetables and herbs, growbags for tomatoes. The multi-purpose back garden, which also incorporates shaded seating areas, planting to attract wildlife and a small pond, is about 10 metres square. It includes three raised beds where vegetables, minarette fruit trees, soft fruit trained on fences and herbs are grown.

There are several water butts and compost bin. The house has solar panels.

Friendly, fun and informal -you are invited to have a look round, even get a cup of tea and cake if you are lucky! You are welcome to talk to the plants, chat to the gardener or other visitors. Come on your own or bring a neighbour! See what fruit and vegetables can be grown at home! Get tips and advice on designing your vegetable plot and how to deal with critters! We welcome suggested £2 donation to Sustainable St Albans charity.  If you are interested in helping by volunteering on the day, please get in touch and email us click here

July 2019. Theme: Asian vegetables

Sutton Road, St Albans AL1 5JJ

This is a West-facing urban garden in Fleetville, St Albans, which has been evolving for ten years with many Bangladeshi vegetables, particularly gourds and pumpkins, as well as more familiar vegetables and fruit. There is imaginative use of space in its design; strawberries grown in hanging baskets and an adapted water butt; gourds and beans growing from a large pergola; a ‘strawberry pyramid’, a ‘spinach pillar’, and fruit grown as espaliers and in containers. strawberry waterbutt

.     Composting methods are employed so as to increase the temperature of the raised borders. More vegetables and herbs are grown in the next door garden



July 2019. Theme: Growing our favourite veggies!

Gustard Wood/off The Slype, Wheathampstead AL4 4RR

This large garden is in a semi-rural location, in a cul-de-sac off The Slype, north of Wheathampstead. It is a very well-established garden, tended by the resident family for many years. The front garden contains mainly ornamental plants; the food growing area behind the house includes a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, mainly grown in beds, but also in a greenhouse and in reused containers.

Vegetables -runner beans, courgette, brussels sprouts, swede, cabbage, purple sprouting broccoli, carrots, asparagus, yellow patty pan (squash), potatoes, aubergine. Tomatoes. Red pepper. Onions, garlic, leeks.
Fruit –cooking apple tree; one eating apple tree; raspberries; grape vine.
Herbs –rosemary, mint, tarragon, sage, thyme, parsley, chives.

2018 Open Food Gardens – see what happened over the summer of 2018