Greener gardening and community growing

Have fun outdoors and help your community get even greener by cutting waste. Gardening and growing your own veg doesn’t have to be expensive. There are lots of ways to get more from your plot – big or small – from making your own compost to thrifty green gardening ideas.

Grow your own fruit and veg

Community growing projects offer a great way of bringing people together, building relationships, skills and confidence, boosting health and well-being, as well as providing produce or improving biodiversity or simply a pleasant social space. Whatever the objective of the community growing project, it can benefit from composting and thrifty gardening ideas. It’s fun for all ages, and there are lots of ways to inspire young gardeners.

Somerset Community Food has helpful online resources to support projects to access healthy, sustainable and affordable food. This includes starting community growing projects and inspiring Somerset examples, allotments and how to get access to land.

Growing food for communities and ways to ensure surplus food doesn’t go to waste – see Somerset Community Food’s get set grow scheme and Incredible Edible Network covered in our food pages.

Promote composting in your community

Compost Champion at eventAn easy way to promote composting is to help people find the helpful information about composting and compost bin offers on our website. You can do this in your club newsletter or website if you have one, or on social media such as Facebook.  Word of mouth works well too. Leaflets can be provided where appropriate (see below).

Holding an event? Get in touch with Carymoor Environmental Trust to request promotional leaflets, check availability of ready-made display or activities, and Compost Champion volunteers. (Limited to events which support Somerset communities).

Somerset’s Compost Champions scheme is run by Carymoor Environmental Trust on behalf of Somerset Waste Partnership. There is a network of over 70 Compost Champions who kindly volunteer their time to attend community events, give talks and promote composting in a variety of ways.

Compost Champions training activityJoin the network of Compost Champions. Share your passion for composting and your expertise to help others make great compost. Volunteers receive a day’s training covering a range of composting methods, helpful resources and access to display materials to help championing the cause in their community.

If you need composting advice, support for promotional event, or would like to become a Compost Champion, please contact Rupert Farthing by phone on 01963 350143 or by email at rupert.farthing@carymoor.org.uk.

Thrifty gardening ideas

Make use of local seed and plant swaps to get more variety in your garden, allotment, or community garden. You could even start your own swap event if there isn’t one local to you.

The idea is simple – pass on surplus seeds and plant cuttings and a chance to get something new from others. It’s a great way to connect with other gardening enthusiasts, pick up tips on different plant varieties and it’s thrifty too. Try getting together with other local gardening clubs or community groups, having a stall at a village fair or simply having a swap event at your local club, your office, or even your front yard.

Thrifty gardening, reusing household items

Reuse household items around the garden, such as yoghurt pots and punnets for seedlings, plastic bottle cloches, old lollipop sticks or strips from plastic tubs for plant labels, and CD bird-scarers, for thrifty alternatives. If you are looking for something a bit different, why not try creating unusual planters or bird feeders or check out the plastic bottle greenhouse.

Sharing tools is another way of saving money, and particularly useful for more expensive tools or less frequently used tools, like hedge trimmers or shredders.

Check out Share – a library of things in Frome which hosts a wide range of items members can borrow for a small charge, or online sites which support sharing or giving away items.

You could set up your own sharing networks in your neighbourhood, allotment, or club. One simple way is to use a community notice board to list items which can be borrowed and a contact number.

Inspiring young gardeners

Carymoor Environmental Trust provides classroom activities both in schools and at Carymoor Environmental Centre, for a variety of cross-curricular topics covering waste and recycling, materials, sustainability, natural and recycled crafts and much more. Composting is covered in a range of fun activities and talks such as Wigglebert Worm and friends (Key Stage 1) and Compost Critters (Key Stage 2)  as well as broader Reduce Reuse Recycle activities and talks.

Looking for simple activities for children? There are some ideas on our gardening activities page to get you started.

Click here to go to Community Waste Action main page and other ways to help your community