Green Shoots

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Green Shoots at Tapps Garden Centre

People gardening at in a therapeutic garden

LDGA president, Graham Tapp has had a great idea; he’s turned some spare ground at his Baldock Garden Centre into a teaching garden. Known as Green Shoots, this project provides a quiet area for less-abled young people and adults to get therapeutic benefits from being outdoors. It also gives them the sense of purpose and satisfaction that comes from gardening. To keep Green Shoots separate from the day-to-day workings of the garden centre, Graham has enlisted the help of our association to look after the administration and financial side of things.

One of the first tasks was to secure some funding to enable the project to get underway. After a lot of work behind the scenes a grant of £400 was secured from NHDC Area Committee. Several donations of up to £500 were also received from other individuals and organisations. On the more practical level, a number of spare, surplus or unwanted tools were donated to the project as well as a new rotovator from well-known Weston grower, David Ginn.

Some tools similar to those donated
Raised bed preparation

Work finally got underway when around sixty public office students from North Herts College came to help with clearing the site of weeds and undergrowth. After that, a team of volunteers from Tesco came to build the first dozen raised beds. Although the beds are only 6″ (15cm) deep and only suitable for salad or shallow rooted crops they still had to be filled with 10 tons of imported fenland soil using wheelbarrows and shovels.

In October a group of 10 -12 of the less-able students from North Herts College visited to make a start on planting and seed sowing, although this is not the best time of year to start, they used some of the beds for things like autumn sown onions, broad beans and garlic, winter greens and winter salad crops.

A bed of winter onions
Packets of Kings Seeds

Meanwhile, funding has been boosted by two significant donations; Baldock Rotary Club have given £250 and Balstock, the local annual music festival, have made Green Shoots a friend and given £720 from their charitable funds. This money will be used to buy the materials needed for future expansion including; adding more, deeper raised beds and building tunnels or cages for fruit growing. Kings Seeds have also donated a whole load of seeds for sowing next season.

It is hoped that Green Shoots will become a much bigger project that, over time, will be self-sufficient with produce being sold in a little farm shop or back to Tapps at the market rate for use in the tea room. If you fancy volunteering some of your time to give practical help and assistance or if you would like to make a donation of any sort then please give Graham a call on 01462 896302 to arrange a visit.

Produce for sale
Graham Tapp receiving his award from Baldock Rotarians

For his efforts in establishing and developing the Green Shoots project, Graham has been awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship by the Rotary Club of Baldock. The Paul Harris Award is a worldwide form of recognition of outstanding service and is generally awarded to Rotarians for their service to and achievements in the Rotary organisation. This award is, however, also granted outside Rotary members to individuals such as Graham, whose efforts and commitment have brought real value and benefit within the community.

Graham has also been given a Community Volunteer Award by NHDC in part for his work on Green Shoots.

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