Grow Your Own fruit and veg

Grow your own fruit and vegetables

Want to grow your own fruit and veg but need a hand to get started? There's lots of free advice and equipment on offer with the Freegle/PACT Grow Your Own campaign. Or, if you're an experienced grower with knowledge, kit or surplus produce that could be passed on to others, Grow Your Own is the perfect way to do it – and you might even pick up some stuff you need along the way. See what's on offer...

Free equipment

You can use the Freegle website to post a free 'wanted' ad to ask for something you need to help you get growing. The local Penrith & Eden District Freegle group has a special 'Grow Your Own' category for gardening items. It's free to use, and everything offered on it is free. If you have things you no longer need, Freegle is a great way to find a new home for them. All sorts of gardening things change hands on Freegle – from compost and plant pots to seed potaties and garden shredders. To use Freegle, simply join the local group online and start posting your own 'offered' or 'wanted' notices. It's easy to keep an eye on what's being offered or asked for in Eden thanks to the daily round-up email, which is optional and can includes non-gardening items, too. Phone Chris on 01931 713240 if you need any help - or would like him to post an offer on your behalf.

Free advice

See for yourself with Visiting Edible Gardens

Removing turf to make a veg bed You can't beat being shown how to grow fruit and veg, and that's where the Visiting Edible Gardens (VEG) programme comes in. These free events give you the chance to visit a garden or veg patch in Eden, and see for yourself how you could grow your own food in containers or on your lawn, however small.

There's a VEG event each month in 2014 until winter, and the programme got going on Sunday 23 March with a visit to a lawn in Penrith that's being transformed into a veg patch. Have a look at how it went. Why not put a date in your diary for some of the future VEG events.

Bring and take events

Freegle Give and Take event Freegle and PACT also run 'bring and take' events throughout the year in various parts of Eden, where you can drop in and pick up free seeds, plants and tools – or pass on any you don't need. Keep an eye on the PACT events calendar for future dates.

Seeds of knowledge

Naomi demonstrates cardboard tube for runner bean seeds We've got lots of tips for you from local experts in food growing, and you can even submit your own questions online.

  • Naomi van der Velden, a plant ecologist and lecturer at University of Cumbria, explains how to go from lawn to veg patch

We're also pulling together great advice and videos here on the Grow Your Own pages to help you.

About Grow Your Own

Asparagus kale seeds The Grow Your Own campaign started in February 2013, to help people in Eden to grow more food. Since then, on average one person every day has taken part – whether by offering or taking items on Freegle, getting free seeds sent out to them, or coming to Grow Your Own events.

It all began after Freegle UK received funding under the Sustain Eden programme, which is run by Penrith-based charity Cumbria Action for Sustainability. Sustain Eden is funded by the Big Lottery's Communities Living Sustainably Fund.

The Grow Your Own project will run for three years in total, and we're aiming to have 500 people in Eden district exchanging locally-grown food stuffs by the end of the campaign.

Read about what we've done in our year one report.

Sustain Eden project Cumbria Action for Sustainability Project funded by the Big Lottery Communities Living Sustainably fund