Grow your own, with advice from expert gardeners

Homebase manager Steve Slater, right, with master gardener Heidi Haxeltine and South Kesteven District Council estates manager Jason Hall
Homebase manager Steve Slater, right, with master gardener Heidi Haxeltine and South Kesteven District Council estates manager Jason Hall
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PEOPLE are being urged to grow their own food – and Stamford now has three master gardeners to help them on their way.

The master gardeners, Heidi Haxeltine, Maggie Magennis and Peter Godley,have been trained to each offer 10 households in Stamford free support and advice as they learn how to grow their own fruit and vegetables.

The master gardener scheme is managed by charity Garden Organic and funded by the Health and Wellbeing Fund, which is a joint partnership between NHS Lincolnshire and Lincolnshire County Council.

It is also backed by South Kesteven District Council.

Heidi, who is secretary of the newly-created Stamford Community Garden in Uffington Road, was recommended to get involved in the scheme by the district council, which have helped set up the community garden.

The aim of the garden is to provide a place for people to learn how to grow their own fruit and vegetables, which they can put into practice at home, and the master gardeners scheme builds on this idea.

Maggie is a member of Stamford Transition Towns, a group which encourages people in the town to become more sustainable, and Peter is a gardener at Burghley House.

Heidi said: “We are hoping to get a lot of interest from people.

“It’s not a gardening service, it is about helping people to grow their own food and we sign a commitment to help them for a year.”

People who are interested in having a mentor can either receive advice at the community garden when it is finished in the spring or in their own homes.

Heidi added: “People probably think it’s a terrible time to launch a scheme because it is getting colder but actually it’s a fantastic time to start think about what you want to do and grow so you’re ready to go in spring.”

Meanwhile, the community garden has been boosted by a £700 donation from Homebase on the Stamford Retail Park in Ryhall Road.

Homebase’s charity of the year is the Teenage Cancer Trust and the three stores across the chain which raised the most money for the charity were then given some additional money to allocate locally.

Store manager Steve Slater said: “The community garden seemed like a very worthy cause.”

The community garden will be made up of a range of example areas showcasing the different types of gardens people can have depending on what space they have available and the Homebase money will go towards building the example gardens when the site is cleared.

This week retired builder Vic Couzens and contractors Viola were at the community garden pulling trees from the site.

Chairman of the community gardens Tim Crofts said: “It is exciting to see the project moving forward and we are grateful for the help of local businesses.”

For more information visit lincolnshire.mastergardeners.org.uk or to register an interest in being mentored by the master gardeners e-mail please email@heidihaxeltine. co.uk.