‘We want people to get their hands dirty...’

An example of on of the square foot gardens in the Serpentine Community Garden in Buxton.
An example of on of the square foot gardens in the Serpentine Community Garden in Buxton.

The Serpentine Community Garden in Buxton is to launch a new project to encourage families to get their hands dirty.

‘Square foot gardening’ is about dividing an area into small plots, sowing quick growing crops, harvesting and then sowing anew.

Ann Holloway of the Serpentine Communtiy Garden.

Ann Holloway of the Serpentine Communtiy Garden.

Organiser Ann Holloway, 57, says it is a great way of helping children to become involved and aware of the growing cycle and having some produce to take home to eat.

She said: “The square foot project is for families and people who don’t have access to outdoor growing space.

“We want to reach out to people in Buxton and get them involved and ultimately to get more people down on site.”

The project launches on March 19 and will run until the end of October.

Ann says the focus is mainly educational - but there is a social side to it as well.

“We want to encourage people to learn about growing, harvesting and cooking so children can understand where their food comes from,” she explained.

“But we want to make the site a bit of a social hub as well, where people can exchange ideas about what grows in the Buxton area.”

Ann admits she has never sown vegetables in her garden but says the project has two expert food growers on board to help the budding farmers choose the right crops for the capricious Buxton climate.

“Even if people have never picked up a trowel it doesn’t matter,” says Ann. “We won’t do it for you, but we will help.”

The project has been going for three years and Ann has been there for the last year and a half.

The first year was spent clearing the site which was a former plant nursery for the nearby Pavilion Gardens.

They have now had two growing seasons and have recently started supplying salad and vegetables to a local cafe.

Ann, who is from Chapel-en-le-Frith, says she understands the therapeutic value of growing as a result of her background in counselling.

“Seeing how people can come out of themselves and their keenness to learn and get stuck in is fantastic,” she says.

“It ends up being a bit addictive.”

‘Square foot gardening’

The Serpentine Community Garden is offering five families or individuals the opportunity to adopt and use six square foot blocks to learn about growing food.

Every Sunday morning from 10am-noon will be ‘Square Foot Sunday’ when members of the Serpentine team will be on site to help sow, plant, weed and harvest their patches.

The garden - which is just off the Serpentine walks in the Pavilion Gardens - is a Community Interest Company whose aim is help people in Buxton and the surrounding areas develop and enhance their horticultural skills and knowledge.

Applications for a plot will remain open until Friday March 3.

If you are interested, send an email to serpentinecommunityfarm@gmail.com or message the group on Facebook at www.facebook.com/serpentineprojectbuxton with a couple of lines saying why you would like to join the scheme (Tel: Janine on 07752 368358).