Put green fingers to good use with a garden share

Kate Tester, left, with Jim and Dawn Carter
Kate Tester, left, with Jim and Dawn Carter

IF spring has got you thinking about growing your own fruit and veg, but you don’t have a garden or allotment, help could well be at hand..

Garden Share is a scheme which matches would-be growers with garden-owners who cannot manage or under-use the land they have.

One of the plots currently available is in Worthing, after its previous grower got an allotment of her own.

Owner Jim Carter said: “I am my wife’s carer and not able to look after the garden full-time, so we like giving a chance to someone who does not have their own garden to plant and cultivate their own veg.”

Jim’s previous “garden match”, Kate Tester, said the scheme had been both enjoyable and rewarding.

“It’s been great fun, but hard work,” she said. “I talk to Jim and Dawn about what they want, but I have been left to do it.

“I keep two thirds and give them one third. I have learned an awful lot.”

The Adur and Worthing Garden Share scheme was launched in 2011, by Transition Town Worthing, in partnership with Adur and Worthing councils.

Volunteers from Transition Town Worthing now manage the scheme.

Co-ordinator Claire Hunt said: “Growing your own in someone else’s garden can be as self-contained as you want.

“There is always separate access to the garden area, so once an agreement is reached, you can come and go at your convenience.”

Claire added not all the plots were in private gardens, and that most sharers enjoy the contact with the garden partner, just as they would stop for a chat with an allotment neighbour.

And she said growers need not work alone: “Some garden sharers have found that growing in pairs or a small group is the way to keep up their commitment and ensure the veg is always tended and watered, even if some of them are too busy one week to join in. For example, Doug Anderson and his Worthy Gardeners Co-op have got on top of a large, overgrown kitchen garden together, and it looks like they had great fun doing it.”

At the moment, there are plots available all over Worthing, large and small.

If you are interested in joining the scheme and want to find out if a plot is available near you, call Claire, call 07508 178590, or send an email to transitionworthing@gmail.com