The latest gardener to join our network of PlantGrow Champions is Derek, also known as @fiveminutegardener on Instagram. We’re delighted Derek is helping us to build our community of organic, chemical-free gardeners, and show them how they can grow nutritious and delicious foods.
Derek is a relative newcomer to the gardening world, unlike some of his fellow champions, Derek’s love of gardening was sparked a little differently. While he would sometimes cut the neighbours’ lawns when he was growing up, his only motivation was wanting a little more pocket money.
Instead, Derek discovered the joy of gardening as an adult while he pursued a career as an accountant.
“I didn’t really get into gardening until I bought my first house. Before this, I never had a space to call my own, so I didn’t really appreciate the joy that gardening could bring to my life. Gardening became my source of stress relief from work, with the added bonus of food at the end of the process!”
Growing interesting, nutritious foods is what Derek loves most about gardening. He believes you can enhance the flavour and health benefits of your produce by carefully selecting the varieties of the plants you put in the ground.
He seeks out heritage varieties of vegetables to bring diversity to his allotment. Among the more exotic of these is the ‘Mummy Pea’, an ancient vegetable that is said to have laid dormant until the 19th Century where it was discovered in an ancient Egyptian tomb.
“My favourite part of gardening is growing food that I can’t buy in my local shops!”
Growing his produce organically is important to Derek. However, as a relative latecomer to gardening, he’s sometimes had to learn best practices the hard way.
“In my first year with an allotment, I tired myself out trying to dig out new beds!”
After learning from this experience, Derek now suggests a much less taxing approach to growing organically than shovelling up your garden.
“Just clear the worst of the perennial weeds and place a thick layer of cardboard on top with plenty of organic material – don’t worry, the worms will find their way in. Now I understand soil more, I know that it should be full of life underground which not only supports our plants to grow, but also feeds off carbon that the plants sequester. So, by growing organically I can reduce my impact on climate change.”
Derek promotes using organic and peat-free products, like PlantGrow, to help do your bit in the fight against climate change.
“They’re small changes you can make in your gardening that can support a healthy ecosystem and reverse climate change… yep, reverse climate change rather than just being carbon neutral! Over the last two years I have bought a few bulk bags of PlantGrow to act as organic material to fill raised homemade trugs for my son, the ‘One Minute Gardener.’ This year we have built a 2.4m squared raised bed for cut flowers to fill our house with colour and for my son to hand some out to brighten up people’s day as he did last year.”
Why we’re championing Derek
We’re championing Derek because of his commitment to growing sustainable produce. We know gardening is a great way to relieve stress and doing it in a sustainable and eco-friendly way is even better! We’d love to support Derek as he helps people grow wonderful foods, and encourages them to use 100% natural, chemical-free products along the way.