Gardening is one of Britain's favourite hobbies. Gardeners exercise more, eat better, have lower stress levels and create something beautiful. With an amazing £850,000 awarded by players, the Edible Gardening Project is one of the many ways the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is helping people take those first steps into a lifelong passion.
Thanks to players' support, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh hold weekly 'Meet the Gardener' sessions, where anyone is able to drop-in to meet the team of enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteers and ask questions about growing fruit and vegetables.
The Edible Gardening Project also hosts bigger weekend events. During this year's National Gardening Week, which takes place 11th to 17th April, why not celebrate by popping along to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh's free Spring Festival on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th April? From 1pm to 4pm each day, there will be fun activities for children, gardening information for adults and a chance to explore the productive area of the garden with the Edible Gardening Team.
Funding from players is also committed to supporting a wide range of community groups in learning new skills. Half a dozen regular groups – often people who are disadvantaged or socially excluded – visit on a weekly basis to work alongside the community gardeners, learning how to plant, maintain and harvest crops. Each group looks after their own plot and discovers the delights of growing food in the beautiful surroundings of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.
For those further away from Edinburgh, who are keen to learn to garden, players of People's Postcode Lottery have funded the publication of Growing Your Own Vegetables, which you can purchase here. This handy guide focuses on growing in the British climate. Another source of information for getting started with growing your own fruit and vegetables is the Edible Gardening Project blog, which is updated regularly with seasonal tips and recipes.
According to Jenny Foulkes, the Edible Gardening Project Manager, "Growing your own food is hugely satisfying; it's great for physical and mental health, good for your diet and can be very sociable. Whether connecting with the Edible Gardening Project in the Botanics or online, thanks to players' support there's space for everyone to learn how to grow something to eat from scratch."
National Gardening Week celebrates a hobby that connects people with the outdoors and plants, encourages them to get their hands in the soil and to experience the satisfaction of growing. Why not give it a go today?