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Recycled skips help transform bus park into urban oasis

Old skips are central to the growing of vegetables in King's Cross. Photo: Avi Bercovich/Global Generation

The King’s Cross Skip Garden in central London has turned old skips into an organic vegetable garden, inspiring young people through involving them in the growing process.

The garden is largely self sustaining, thanks to a full complement of organic gardening practices, including aerobic and worm composting, companion and rotational planting, rain water harvesting and bee hives. The garden is on land previously used as a bus park and has now helping turn it into a thriving growing spot, in the middle of one of the biggest development sites in Europe.

The skips mean the garden is moveable, as they can be shifted to new locations to continue to produce their harvest. More than a thousand hands have already been put to use in the creation of the garden, organisers say, including scores of school children for whom growing food is a new experience. 

New experiences are aplenty at the Skip Garden. Photo: Avi Bercovich/Global Generation

Abdus, 15, said: “Walking into the garden today felt like a different country, the smell of the chives made me think that hard work definitely pays off. Also watching the pak choi and the lettuces grow really big and tall also make an impact on me. I never realised that nature could make me change in so many different ways.”

There is also a Skip Garden Cafe, using the produce grown. Photo: Avi Bercovich/Global Generation

Much of the food produced at the garden is used in the Skip Garden Cafe - where a recent menu included apple, sage and celeriac soup with cheese scones and rich tomato ratatouille - or sold to nearby restaurants. Bi-weekly ‘twilight gardening’ sessions are also held, with construction and office workers also getting stuck in alongside the children. Gardens manager Paul Richens said: “There are so many things that I like about Twilight Gardening sessions. My time is often taken up with maintenance and not actually gardening, so it is a great opportunity to get my hands in the soil. Above it all, I love the people who come to Twilight Gardening. I have never met a twilight gardener I didn’t like!"

The garden is open every Tuesday and Wednesday and the first Saturday of every month. Tours run from regularly from the King’s Cross Visitors Centre.

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By Lucy

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