Open Gardens 2011: Alara Permaculture Forest Garden (10 mins north of St Pancras)

This garden just off Camley Street has been formed from the unused land around commercial buildings on an industrial estate close to King’s Cross & St Pancras.

The first job was the removal of about 50 tons of rubbish, plus four months digging out Japanese knotweed. The largest area was enclosed and terraced using coppiced sweet-chestnut logs.

Planting as a permaculture forest garden began in 2006 with silver berry, pomegranate, Japanese wine berry, apricot, apple, pear, plum, edible hawthorn and many other perennial food plants.

There are beehives, a wormery, a rainwater-fed fish pond and chickens. To this has been added a vineyard next to a lorry park, an orchard by a cash & carry car park, community raised beds and a communal compost heap.

Japanese wineberries flank the steps in abundance, potatoes are growing out of stacks of used tyres and there some very juicy raspberries.  Amazing how possible it is to grow food on the slimmest of stips of land!

Potatoes growing in old tyres
Apple trees looking very happy

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