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November tales from Master Gardeners

November tales from Master Gardeners

We meet Master Gardeners from our four programmes, showing that whatever the crop, whatever the space, food growing is important for a healthy diet and lifestyle,  learning skills, and bringing people together.

Case study 1 – Warwickshire

Inspiring people to get growing

What better way to inspire people to grow vegetables than bringing them to Garden Organic’s Ryton gardens to see organic food growing in action. Some of our Warwickshire Master Gardeners have done just this with the people they support.  Lesley came along recently with her ‘households’, and found not only were they inspired, but they also had a great time getting to know each other. Households can encourage each other, and even arrange plant or seed swaps to make growing more fun!

Other Master Gardeners have also had great success bringing their households together for barbeques and harvest suppers, either in their own gardens or allotments.

Lesley with households at Ryton

Lesley with households at Garden Organic's Ryton Gardens

Case study 2 – Norfolk

All go in Norfolk

Since training as a Norfolk Master Gardener, Beverly has established an after-school gardening club at her local primary school.  She is also working with the local Sure Start group to set up a tots-and-pots weekly workshop. As a community education officer, Beverly is using her contacts and finding great enthusiasm among teachers, mums and young children for getting stuck in and learning how to grow their own fruit and veg.

Meanwhile husband and wife team, Rick and Nancy are working with their parish council to establish much desired allotment space in their village.  They already have three families seeking support with food growing and their informal research shows more residents eager to get involved. Other Norfolk connections include Thetford’s Healthy Town Project, while Master Gardener Penny will be involved in delivering an exciting new series of “Historic food” workshops at The Ancient House Museum.

Rick and Nancy look after their spuds

Rick and Nancy look after their spuds

Case study 3 – South London

Extract from Master Gardener’s diary

South London Master Gardener Claire has inspired her households to grow their own by sharing her gardening diary. She has recorded her busy months developing her own back yard, improving her talents as an urban food grower. She’s been raising tomatoes, courgettes, salads and a variety of flowers. Claire says, “It helps me manage my gardening expectations, impatience and any lessons learned!”

Other Master Gardeners visit households at their home – or wherever their food growing space is. It’s proven an inspiring and empowering way to start mentoring, with some even teaming up with another volunteer, such as Carole and Stephanie who joined forces for the first visit to registered householder Sandra and her husband. Click here is the story in Stephanie’s own words…

Extract from Claires gardening diary

Extract from Claire's gardening diary

Case study 4 – Islington

New gardener at 79 years olds

Pearl had never planted a seed before Islington Master Gardener, Vicky, started supporting her growing. They’ve since celebrated three tomatoes ripening on her first plant following several excited phone calls. Pearl lives on the Whitecross Estate where Vicky and fellow volunteer Chris run regularly gardening clubs for towerblock residents.

Vicky also came up with a brilliant way of engaging children at her local school. She bought some fruit from a local store, eating the fruit and making smoothies with the children and then planting the seeds. So the children start with the familiar produce and were completely engaged in the planting and growing of the seeds.

Master Gardener Vicky at her local school

Master Gardener Vicky at her local school

Get involved

Thanks to our Master Gardeners and team of co-ordinators for these extracts from recent achievements. Click here to contact, and area links for more local stories: Warwickshire, Islington, south London, Norfolk

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Local volunteer stories

MEET four of Britain’s first ‘Master Gardeners’ – volunteers trained by Garden Organic to inspire and support households to grow their own veg. The project follows the success of the charity’s ‘Master Composter Network’ which now has 500 volunteers across the UK. Feature Writer Catherine Vonledebur speaks to the new crop.

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How good peas will travel

How good peas will travel

Islington Master Gardener Mark found walking with vegetables in London attracts attention. We caught up with him for chat about a recruit excursion.

“I took my ‘Pea Shooter’ – a long shallow container for sprouting pea shoots – to a local fair. It sparked lots of conversations about growing pea shoots and gave me the chance to explain how easy it is. I gave away lots of free pea seeds (organic marrowfat peas from health food shops are perfect and just £2 a kilo).

“Anyway, I collected my pea shooter a few days later and boarded the bus with said shooter. During the journey, I looked up and saw someone looking at my pea shooter. They were in animated conversation with another passenger and I overheard the person explaining all about how to grow pea shoots and how easy they are. I then recognised the man talking – he was someone that I’d chatted to at the fair!

“This journey made me think that carrying pots of living vegetables on public transport would be a great (if somewhat eccentric) way to engage more people in conversations about food growing!”

See Mark’s Vertical Veg website here

More stories from Islington Master Gardeners, North London

Tales from south London Master Gardeners

Happily growing pea shoots

Happily growing pea shoots

Ready pea shoot - a delicious delicacy

Ready pea shoots - a delicious delicacy


Have a story? Contact us here…

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Read all about it: Master Gardeners in GYO

Read all about it: Master Gardeners in GYO

GYO

Click logo to visit GYO

We’re delighted to showcase our volunteer’s terrific work in the national magazine, Grow Your Own (September edition).

We were invited by editor Lucy Halsall to prepare case studies about how Master Gardeners help people and communities grow their own fruit and veg at home and on communal land. See images below.

Our thanks to Lucy and her team.
Grow Your Own is widely available from newsagents and by subscription.
Visit the Grow Your Own website
Get discounted subscription

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Outing by Islington Master Gardeners

Outing by Islington Master Gardeners

Islington Master Gardeners out in force; Laura, Lesley and Ian (and Cat behind the camera)

Islington Master Gardeners out in force; Laura, Lesley and Ian (and Cat behind the camera)

Islington Master Gardeners have been out and about, busy promoting local food growing at community events and recruiting their first household to regularly support.

This from Laura Burrow:

“We donned our Volunteer’s T-shirts and wandered up to the beautiful and gorgeous Culpeper Community Garden on Sunday afternoon. They were holding a plant sale, tea and cakes, talks and events, poetry and lots of exciting things.

It was a lovely day, and we met a couple of other volunteers that were holding a stall there, so we compared notes and caught up with them. We also bought a few plants, rescued some free ones that needed some TLC and made some contacts with possible recruits.

A successful first outing!”

Our thanks to Master Gardeners Laura, Cat, Ian and Lesley for their time and energy – and to kind team at Culpeper, Kate and Laura for helping us organise the demostrations.

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Photos on flickr