Call for volunteers for Warfield Grow and ShareBy Julie Spencer
October 17, 2012
Fitter, stronger and better off – that’s how Claire Wallen feels after running a community gardening project in Warfield.
Claire is the chairwoman of Warfield Grow and Share and has enjoyed £100 worth of produce this year from the half-acre site which is tended by nine members.
Now the group wants more gardeners to join them and she says experience isn’t necessary, only enthusiasm.
“We share the workload, the weeding and the watering and then we share the harvest,” she says.
“We only need members to commit to two hours a week and if you are busy one week, you can make it up the next.”
The group is part of the Jealott’s Hill community landshare project, which was set up on six acres of land gifted by agricultural research firm Syngenta.
It is jointly managed by Bracknell Forest Homes, Bracknell Forest Voluntary Action, Bracknell Town Council and Warfield Parish Council.
The plan was to share skills and produce and also to introduce disadvantaged groups to the therapeutic benefits of gardening.
Warfield Grow and Share began in February 2011 and has its own plot of loamy clay soil where its gardeners have planted beans, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, kale, onions and much more.
Claire says: “The soil is fantastic and we have had some smashing produce.
“We have some great ornamental squashes for Halloween and we had a committee meeting recently where we had wine, cheese and chutney made with our own vegetables.
“In the summer we had a picnic at the plot when we foraged for food and ended up with a freshly picked salad, radishes and raspberries.
“We have a greenhouse which was donated to us by a parish councillor which has been a godsend this year because of the weather.
“We have a diary in there where we log what we have done and what needs doing.”
Members pay an annual subscription of £18, but manure and water are provided by Syngenta.
The group has tried its luck this year with crops of Heritage potatoes – not completely successfully, admits Claire – and does its best to garden with as few chemicals as possible.
Claire explains: “We do try to be organic but we have used weedkiller on some of the paths.
“We have a little herb bed and grow flowers like Sweet Williams and wallflowers which are early pollinators. We are also waiting to find out how we did in the parish sunflower competition.”
There is a big age range of current members, from those in their 30s to the retired, as well as three children who regularly visit the plot with their families.
New members can expect to reap much more than they sow, says Claire.
“It is extremely rewarding to take an empty site and turn it into a productive plot.
“I have got much fitter and stronger and my husband Richard and I have had loads of fantastic vegetables as well.”
To find out more about Warfield Grow and Share contact Claire on 01344 302 708, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit wargrow.wordpress.com.