Govt initiative ‘could help gardeners’

A new publication from the Department for Communities and Local Government has offered advice on how to access less conventional areas of land and green space in order to grow vegetables.

Writing in an article for the Guardian, professional gardener and writer Alys Fowler welcomed the development.

She praised the notion of effectively creating more land that can be used for growing – underlining her view that the ambition is to be applauded, despite the challenges that are involved.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles said the practical advice published by his department could really help to lay the seeds for more garden growing all over the country.

He added that this will make more land available and allow communities to really thrive as a result.

Furthermore, he drew attention to the tips that encourage planters to look beyond the confines of their allotment in order to take advantage of more unconventional spaces.

Ms Fowler said this appears to suggest that if any land is unused or derelict, it can be transformed into a thriving space with the use of a few handy garden tools.

"The guide is both ambitious and surprisingly progressive," she remarked, adding: "It suggests the development of mixed-used gardens, playgrounds for the young, plots for mum and dad, tree houses and a sculpture or two."

"It likes the idea of ponds and trees for wildlife and is keen to see people eating in those spaces," she continued, concluding: "Gosh, it's going to be fun."

However, Ms Fowler expressed concern that not a lot of research has been made available to the public in terms of how to grow from seed in contaminated areas.

She suggested that turning to raised beds could be one solution, but emphasised the fact that turning a weed-strewn area into good soil is a very physically challenging exercise.

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