Welcome to Abbey Gardens, a community garden in West Ham
surrounding part of the ruins of a
12th century abbey.

There are free garden club sessions and new gardeners are always welcome. The garden is open to visitors from dawn till dusk.


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Gardening sessions take place on
Tuesdays 1pm-3pm
Thursdays 4pm-7pm
Saturdays 10am-4pm

Author Archive

Summer spruce-up

Over the next week we will be preparing for a visit from a representative of the Royal Horticultural Society. There will be something for everyone as paths need weeding, there are plants to go in, we will start sowing oriental greens, fennel and sow more  beetroot, the fruit trees need pruning and the wildflower strip needs another weed. Of course when someone from the RHS comes to visit you simply have to have a steaming pile of compost on the go, so most of the weeds pulled out  will be chopped up and  put on the compost heap as we go. Non gardening tasks that need doing include: Picking litter from around the garden, tidying the cabin and tidying behind the compost bins.  …ALL HANDS ON DECK!                                                     Hamish (Garden Club Leader)

Bug Hotel

There is much to do at Abbey gardens at the moment: planting, watering, making compost and much more,  even with all these gardening tasks to do, last saturday we decided to take some time to make a bug hotel, this is a collection of objects neatly put together to provide places for various insects to live and hibernate. We built ours under the guidance of Petra, who is a biologist who volunteers at the garden. The finished article looks fantastic we will be monitoring the bug hotel over the season to see what bugs are checking in.

Over the next few weeks we will be planting many types of beans, courgettes, cucumbers, squashes and probably a lot more as well, this will be happening during the weekday gardening  sessions (Tuesday 1pm-3pm, Thursday 4pm-7pm) and the Saturday gardening session (10am-3pm) Other tasks we will be doing are weeding the wildflower strip, weeding the paths between the beds, regularly checking over the fruit trees and bushes for pests, thinning out leafy crops, herbs and beetroot sown earlier in the year and we will be harvesting radishes and mustard greens, so there’s something for everyone down at Abbey Gardens.  

Hamish Liddle (Garden Club Leader)

The finished bug hotel_1_lo

Rain please!

As much as I like this fantastic weather we have been having it would be quite useful for us gardeners to have a bit of rain right now,  it has been a very dry month and the most important task during the garden club sessions at the moment is keeping on top of the watering, especially areas we have recently planted. It is a frantic time in terms of planting in vegetables gardens right now and during the garden club session this saturday at Abbey Gardens we will be sowing as much as we can, mainly brassicas and leafy crops. There is also more digging and clearing to do and of course, watering. The garden club will start at 10 am as usual and we will be sowing in the brassica bed from 12 midday.  

Hamish Liddle (Garden club leader)

Pests and Potatoes

This Saturday the garden was a hive of activity, the fruit trees were weeded, the compost was turned and with the weather having been so dry we have had to start doing quite a bit of watering already. We also planted this years’ potato crop, the sun was shining making the task in hand even more enjoyable, we then sowed mustard greens and radishes in between the rows of potatoes as they are quick growing and will be harvested before the potato tops shade out the surrounding soil.

During the week I spent some time looking over the fruit trees and bushes, it is a really good thing to do at this time of year as any pest and disease problems can be found and solved early. One pest which I was expecting to find and did was gooseberry sawfly (pictured) on our gooseberries and blackcurrants, we had it last year and it is back again, the larvae of certain sawfly species eat their way through the leaves of gooseberry bushes and some currants very quickly, so as with all pest and disease problems it needs to be dealt with swiftly, in our case it means picking them off, which doesn’t take long and is made easier by the fact ours fruit bushes are trained as cordons, Gooseberry sawflies can have three generations a year and the larvae can be active from April to September so we will have to keep checking them over and picking off the larvae throughout the season.

There is plenty to do in the garden during the weekday garden club sessions this coming week, lots of beds to prepare and planting to do, weekday sessions are Tuesday 1-3 and Thursday 4-7, next Saturday is our spring event but there will be time for a few gardening tasks in the morning, throughout the event we will be sowing some kale, salads and flowers for our cut flower bed. Hopefully see you there!

Hamish (Garden Club Leader)

Potato planting

Last Saturday we sowed the Abbey Gardens wildflower strip, the weather was perfect, and after all the hard work volunteers have put in over the past month or so digging it over it was nice to see the job done. Once those thousands of seeds have germinated we will be thinning them out and pulling out any weeds popping up that may crowd out the developing plants and by mid summer some of the species in the mix should be flowering.  If you want to read a bit more about some of the plant species in the wild flower mix there will be a sheet on the notice board in the cabin. Looking forward to next Saturday (9th april) we will be planting potatoes, there are so many different varieties of potatoes and when growing your own food it really is worth trying new varieties each year as you may come across something you really like. Testing different varieties that you may not be able to buy at the greengrocer is one of the many benefits of growing food, and on a small scale a varieties characteristics and how well they grow in different situations is all important. We always want to know what people think of the different varieties of all the fruit and vegetables grown at Abbey Gardens and if you are interested in letting us know what you think, you can do just that on the plant database, just ask next time you’re at a garden club and we will let you know how.  Last year the potatoes did fantastically well, we grew eight varieties  Maris Bard, Orla, Amorosa, Nicola, Maris peer, Charlotte, Anya and Coleen, we  had quite a lot of them, the two biggest beds at Abbey Gardens full of them in fact. This year we will be growing Aaron Pilot, Maris bard, red duke of York and Charlotte. Potatoes are heavy feeders so we will be using lots of compost and chicken manure pellets. Although potatoes survive perfectly well with not much water, we won’t get as good a crop unless they are given a fair amount, most importantly once they start flowering as this is when the tubers really start to increase in size, if you are one of our volunteers who do a lot of watering please bear this in mind. If you want to learn a bit more about growing potatoes I will be going through exactly how we need to plant and care for the potatoes at Abbey Gardens and the different ways in which you could grow them yourself at home, I will also be going through what pests and diseases could affect our potato crop, if more people know what to look for, the quicker we can catch any problems. We will make a start on the potatoes at about 12.30 but as always the garden club will start at 10.00 am. Here’s hoping for another great potato harvest!  Hamish (Garden Club Leader)

Wild flower seed sowing

Wall flowers

Well we’ve been having some fantastic weather and down at Abbey Gardens the wall flowers are out and the daffodills are still flowering. With all this nice weather and the fact we’re heading into April we can start sowing some things direct as and when the ground is prepared. One area which is definitely ready for sowing is our wild flower strip, this has now been dug over three times, the grass and weed roots removed and then raked over, with the soil warmed up we are ready to go. We will be sowing a perennial mix mainly containg shades of  blue and purple.

If you feel like coming down to help us sow what will be a beautifull meadow that will be there for years to come inticing both wildlife and visitors into the garden, come down to Abbey Gardens this Saturday, we will start work on the wildflower strip at about midday but the gardening session will start at 10 am as usual.

Hamish (Garden Club Leader)