There’s an old saying that ‘the answer lies in the soil’. During WW2 people were encouraged to ‘dig for Victory’; during the Year of Lockdowns people headed for their gardens for something to do, to keep fit, to stay sane. Certainly, many have found solace in a small patch of garden or even
a few window boxes. Some have discovered a new passion for growing plants or even producing their own food. Along the way, not all will have been ‘plain digging’ – there’s a lot to learn. Community gardeners Anna Locke and Amanda Jobson got together to create Green Shoots, a project designed to support new gardeners. The idea was to create a series of gardening courses for local people. 

Anna Locke and Amanda Jobson filming ‘Green Shoots’ videos
PICTURE: Scott Griffiths

Originally the tuition was intended to take place outdoors at the Speckled Wood Community Garden in Ore Village. Lockdowns and restrictions made that impossible, but not to be defeated, the team decided to film a series of free-to-view mini videos. Two have already gone live. 

The first is all about growing from seed, the cheapest way to produce plants. Anna demonstrates techniques of sowing and germinating different types of seed in trays.

I was particularly interested in a course aimed at turning an urban garden into a ‘Thriving Edible Oasis’

 The second video is about the art of pruning fruit trees. In this case, it’s an old crab apple tree getting spruced up for Spring. These videos and more are available from the link below. And if we get inspired there is plenty more, ‘permaculture online’ also offers in-depth courses for more experienced gardeners. Having just moved house and garden, I was particularly interested in a course aimed at turning an urban garden into a ‘Thriving Edible Oasis’. So, whether your cabbages are wilting, your tomato seeds failing to germinate, or you want to know how to support bees and other pollinators, it may be worth seeing what’s on offer.

For more information visit

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