Updated: Oct 28, 2022
It's a busy time in our Community Wildlife and Vegetable Garden this autumn with an abundance of seasonal produce. So, we thought now was the perfect time to introduce you to Shelly who has worked with us at Green Farm as our Vegetable Garden Manager for over a year.
The Community Wildlife and Vegetable Garden is more than just a space to grow. It's also a space where, through our charity The Pearce Coggan Foundation, we provide educational experiences and work placements for local children and offer volunteering opportunities for people who are seeking to manage mental health issues, reduce stress or spend more time outdoors. It's a very special place and we are extremely lucky to have Shelly as part of the team. So let's get to know Shelly some more:
What do you do at Green Farm?
I grow food using a no-dig and organic method for Green Farm with the help of our wonderful volunteers and dedicated community service team.
What did you do before you came to Green Farm?
I worked for an environmental education centre running a kitchen garden teaching children and families about nature-friendly gardening and healthy eating.
I also worked for The National Trust in three local properties where I welcomed and looked after hundreds of visitors alongside volunteers.
I'm also a qualified teacher and have spent the last 15 years in outdoor education with an emphasis on growing plants and understanding nature.
What do you love most about Green Farm?
It's the people that make the difference, the team and volunteers. Everyone at Green Farm is so passionate about making Green Farm a beautiful place to be.
What do you love most about your role as Garden Vegetable Manager?
It's got to be growing food in a sustainable way and passing on my love of growing to others. I still get excited when seeds germinate and grow even though I have been gardening all my life.
Another benefit is being able to eat and sample the vegetables as I work, all part of quality control, of course, I love checking that everything tastes exceptional.
What is your passion and what do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
I'm extremely passionate about sustainability. When I am not working I enjoy foraging and walking, learning languages and reading, oh and more gardening!
Could you share your top tips for growing vegetables?
Oh yes, my top tip is to keep trying! There are so many factors that affect whether a plant will grow. If it doesn't work the first time just have another go because next time it might just grow. Also, don't be afraid to grow new things. I try to grow at least three new plants a year.
I always follow the 'right plant, right place' advice. I will always research where a plant will be happy before trying to grow it, although saying that sometimes plants will surprise you and grow in the most unlikely places!
You might have seen Shelly's feature in our latest newsletter, where she shared her tips and advice on gardening and how to grow great tasty vegetables. You can sign up to receive our newsletter here or if you are local to us in Kent, why not visit in person to one of our Community Pop-Up events, every Thursday at 10am at Green Farm?