02 The Great Big Earth Dig

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Great Big Earth Dig

This little idea developed when a group of neighbours, friends and relatives decided on a long cold night that it was about time to start growing our own fruit and veg. We had spoke about it before, but that was it. We decided to go for it and put our name down on the waiting list for our local allotment. Meantime after being inspired by HRH the Prince of Wales’ Dimbleby lecture, back in July 2009, I wrote a letter to Clarence House, 10 Downing street and the Mayor of London about developing a day to reconnect people back to the planet. I received an encouraging reply letter from Clarence House just before Christmas, which inspired me further. We also luckily managed to get a disused allotment plot. It was over 120 feet by 20 feet by 20 feet high of brambles trees etc, more of a jungle! which we slowly began clearing in the snow in January. We managed to get most of it cleared by March. Our first great BIG Earth Dig then began,in which we created five raised beds ready for planting. One of the more experienced growers started creating a crop rotation plan. The rest were ready to work after the rallying cry of get out of bed, get your boots on and Dig for Sustainability. We also made some mock posters up for encouragement. Over the year we’ve all had our own jobs from weeding, planting, watering and not forgetting picking. Our children have been involved at every stage. Most of us being complete beginners – we dived straight in.

Growing strawberries, raspberries, cabbage, kale, brussel sprouts, tomatoes, rocket, corn, courgettes, potatoes, beans, onions, peas, sugar snap and not forgetting a pumpkin…..It’s been a year of hard work, but wow the amount of produce we’ve shared is staggering. We have had some great roast dinners, and the taste is unbelievable,and all totally organic. You can not beat growing you own. Getting back amongst nature has been the best part of it. Our children and all of us have now seem to of reconnected back to the cycles of nature. This enthusiasm has even spread to our work places, growing small amounts of fruit and veg in corners here and there.

This was only our first year,but how rewarding. We hope to inspire others to join in there own way, in growing their own.  We are on twitter @shyman33.  Alan Titchmarsh talks about how helping his grandfather on his allotment over 50 years ago when a child, encouraged his love for growing. I must thank my Grandad (a merchant navy sailor in WW II) for planting a little seed in my imagination when I was a young child, while pulling up spuds,picking beans and digging in his veggie patch. Which has now emerged in me, to be past on to my children. Just may be Dig for Victory some how has been brought back to life after over 70 years,into the 21st century. In these concerning times let’s get digging and have some fun!

RECONNECTION

Here’s a little idea to connect the youngsters and elders to nature..

Become a Interconnected EARTH HERO

Through informal nature clubs,with family,friends and neighbours

Five Sections including:-

VEGETABLE GARDENING

WILDLIFE SPOTTING

SKYWATCHER

SEASONS

ENVIRONMENT

Simon Jakeman