Sowing the seeds of Garden Grower

I have always had a great love of growing vegetables, my father who had his own plot used to take me and my siblings to help him with the chickens and maintaining his crops – I so enjoyed seeing fruit and vegetables grown, picked, dug from the ground and then made into our dinner, wine, ferments, as well as eating raspberries, blackberries and strawberries straight off the plant.

After Uni I worked in a charity whose purpose was to support adults with additional needs to obtain employment through horticulture training and contractual work. I worked within large horticultural greenhouses and nurseries, teaching horticulture and designing lessons and training around seasonal planting, grounds maintenance and health and safety. There was a big focus on propagation and we grew pants for the garden centre on site. Here I designed a sensory garden entirely out recycled materials, making a landscaping plan and implementing the design.

Shortly after I moved to Manchester and became an urban gardener, growing vegetables and flowers right off my balcony. This was great experience in container growing and I loved brightening up the back alley leading to our flat. With both parents as chefs I particularly enjoyed growing food to cook and eat!

I moved to the countryside in December 2015 and began working on my new large and hugely neglected vegetable beds, which I focused all my energies on restoring. I have used only organic methods, and a lot of hard graft but they are fully operational. Finally I had the space to begin sowing many more seeds and varieties than I previously had space for.

In the summer of 2015 I took the leap to study permaculture in Llanidloes, Powys, Mid Wales with Steve Jones of Sector39 on an accredited 2 week residential course which transformed my ethos towards sustainable ethical approaches to work, housing and life. After my course I implemented the many techniques I had studied, focusing on a no dig system, correct composting techniques, hugelkulture beds, companion planting, organic pest management through mulching and implementing wildlife areas like bug hotels, natural hedges and water. More importantly I started taking flowers and bees a lot more seriously.

In early 2016 I began working in private estates and gardens, focusing on regular and timely pruning, herbaceous borders, weed and pest management, pond maintenance and seasonal designs. In particular I maintain established private estates, with mature trees, hedges and shrubs. I use a whole range of tools and have a clear understanding of health and safety.

I began my RHS level 2 training in January 2016 at Ness Botanical Gardens which has been excellent in furthering my knowledge and pointing me towards informative further reading and tips and tricks which I will be disseminating through this blog!

I love gardening and growing, especially how you can create an ecologically sound approach to beautiful and productive spaces.

Whether your here to read my blog or your looking for an urban gardener, help growing or a private gardener, feel free to contact me at jemma@gardengrower.co.uk for any further information or assistance.

Happy gardening : )

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