FOR such an agricultural area, Kim and David Grove suspect people have real problems in getting land to grow their own.
Even when people do have large gardens or an allotment, the green-fingered pair believe that others fail for want of practical advice and support.
Now, the fruit, vegetable and flower growers are opening up their five-acre plot at Broadgate, Whaplode Drove, so that other people can gain from their experience – they want to help people grow.
“Fruit and vegetable growing is becoming more popular, but it can be difficult to get going because you don’t have the confidence or knowledge of where to start or you are on a long waiting list for an allotment,” says Kim.
“You can get advice from garden centres but still be unsure what it is you are supposed to be doing. It’s not until you actually come to do it that you learn and we are trying to help people with the doing bit.”
Kim and David have been living at Whaplode Drove for about four years since moving up from Surrey, where David had his own print business. Kim is still involved on a part-time basis with her job organising workshops, conferences and producing training materials connected with home care.
They made the move because they wanted enough land to grow their own, and started off by organising a box scheme in order to sell surplus vegetables, but stopped that when they realised they couldn’t come up with the variety their customers wanted.
“I really enjoy growing fruit and vegetables so we came up with this idea to help people out,” said Kim, a member of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), where she has accessed lots of advice and information in the past. However, she is aware that newcomers to gardening need more practical help, sometimes just to get them started or, where people have small gardens they don’t want to turn over entirely to vegetables, pointing them in the direction of ornamental vegetables that look good in a border and which help to keep the pests down.
They are offering a number of services, covering everything from private growing plots, a home advice and planning service, to fruit and vegetable growing workshops.
Something else that is being offered is a garden design service. As preparation for their new lives in Whaplode Drove, both Kim and David gained various gardening qualifications and Kim is currently waiting to receive a certificate for the latest course in garden design. While she was doing the course she visited the BBC Gardeners’ World Live exhibition and came across Birmingham Borders, which provide an opportunity for horticultural students and budding gardeners to experience the design, planning and build of an exhibit in a show environment.
Entrants pre-prepare a raised bed ready for planting when they arrive on site, and these are judged for RHS medals. Kim submitted two designs, a vegetable garden and a sensory garden, and this last has been selected for submission to this year’s show, which takes place at the NEC from June 15 to 19.
See Kim’s border at the show for lots of ideas of what is possible in a garden border, or contact the couple on 01406 330575, email email@example.com