Knowing Thru Growing @ Stroud Green Library

The growers at workThe growers at work
We're transforming the overgrown, unused garden behind Stroud Green Library into a food growing space.

Libraries are a source of learning and knowledge, so what better place to share skills and get to know people from the neighbourhood.

We aim to:

  • Develop the site to grow a range of vegetables and fruit, showing what can be achieved in small and shady urban spaces
  • Bring the community together and promote sustainability through volunteering, seasonal celebrations and skills sharing events

As well as receiving advice and guidance from experienced growers, we also have a special collection of books and magazines on food, gardening and sustainability. These were generously donated as a community resource by Jo, who was until recently a Stroud Green resident.

Come and join us! Whether you're a gardening fanatic or a novice grower, we'd love your help. If you're interested in volunteering or just want to see what we're up to, come along and visit us - see the calendar on the our events page for session times.


Inspired by the library setting, Rebecca has been chronicling the project’s progress in literary style. The story begins….

Raised Bed BeforeRaised Bed Before"On the second morning of August in the year of 2010 the clouds parted to reveal a community of growers at work in the land around the back of Stroud Green library; neighbours from the library surrounds, members of Transition Finsbury Park and Transition Crouch End, including members of Stroud Green Residents Association gathered with mattock, forks and croppers to bravely face head on the Thistles, Brambles and Bindweed. Faced with such strong resilience they retreated into the dark soil, where they lay in wait to smother any young plants they would like to give root there..."

Quentin DigsQuentin DigsAs well as hacking back the weeds, at the group's first meeting we shared ideas and thoughts on how to move forward - here are some of them.

Outdoor reading space, Space to be, reflect, meditate, A Secret Garden, Using story themes eg Harry Potter, A Gallery (upstairs), Incorporate community/festival artists, Develop a narrative, An en-trancing space, a micro forest garden

Perennial and low maintenance plants, herbs, climbers, fruit trees/shrubs; cherry/apple/currants.Plants with scents and textures.
Create tyre/sackcloth ponds/bog garden/ pot gardens.Incorporate arches. Have rustic tables/seating and rainwater harvesting.Use artist sculptures for secret/ story feel. Using permaculture.

Alley BeforeAlley BeforeBringing seeds on, storytelling, Making Jam/preserves/cordials/potions, Herbal first Aid, Seed library

'Homes for Haringey' had use of area above lending library. SGRA fought to get it back. Users of the space have to have a member of the library present (Re public liability). Generally due to the cutback culture its vital to use the library and space above it.
Important to look globally beyond just an L shaped plot. Important for sustainability to engage whole community as well as library staff. This is important on all levels even just to water and maintain the spaces.

Reading RoomReading RoomSite on ground level shady
Site on ground level is sloping - needs landscaping/ Planning
Rainwater harvesting- to explore
Staff to use compost
Persistent weeds- p'haps sheet mulch and leave for a season- grow on top eg in pots/tyres etc.
Invite artists to join us.
Community networking, liase with library users; reading group, Pensioners coffee morning, crochet group, under 5's, st Aidans, South Harringey schools.
Roof spaceRoof spaceChettle Estate (Rebecca TCE & Rebecca Acting Head Librarian to meet with them)
Kit to liase with library re other user groups
Notices for publicity can go in sept issue of SGRA newsletter
Next session tasks; sheet mulching, digging up roots if not, planting pots, invite artists.
Registration with Capital Growth- pending
Finance possibility- From Tree Nursery start up fund.
Invite Gemma again to join us- please Gemma do!