June 19th, 2013

Getting our hands dirty

Posted by Ellie Michell

Here at Barefoot, we love getting out and about around Cornwall and meeting new people. We also love salad and vegetables. So when given the opportunity to combine these things, we jumped at the chance.

After working with community interest company People and Gardens to create their new website, we were invited to visit the site near St Austell.

The project was launched by Ken and Lorraine Radford in 1997 to help people with learning disabilities or mental health issues. People and Gardens believe that gardening as part of a community helps develop work and social skills.


One rainy Wednesday morning, we all popped on our wellies and made a trip to Watering Lane Nursery which is home to the project.

Approaching the giant green house, we were very excited to get inside, get stuck in and put our green fingers to good use. We were also a little relieved that it was inside, since three out of four of us had neglected to bring a coat.

We were met by the earthy smell of fresh produce, row after row of luscious green leaves and the lulling sound of the rain on the rooftop.

Founder of the organisation, Ken Radford, introduced us to Sean, who regularly attends the group at Watering Lane Nursery. Sean, who has Down’s syndrome, put down his broom to greet us and made us feel very welcome.


The group grow produce to supply the Eden Project as well as vegetables and salad for their fortnightly veg bags which are delivered to the St Austell area.

After a quick cup of tea, we were allocated our jobs for the morning. Kate was responsible for the radishes; picking, cleaning and bundling them up all ready for the next batch of veg bags.

Jim and Ellie were allocated to the preparation of salad leaves, while I got my hands dirty topping up the plant pots with soil to receive the next generation of salad.

Not the most experienced of gardeners, I had a few teething problems, but Sean and James were more than happy to help me along the way.


After a morning of helping out and chatting away, Lorraine treated us to our very own tour of the whole site. We had a sneak peak of the tomatoes that are going to make up the very first batch of the sauce from the Cornish Ketchup Co.

A big thank you goes to Ken, Lorraine and everybody and People and Gardens for welcoming us to Watering Lane Nursery and showing us their amazing work first-hand.

We have worked alongside Liminal Design on a new website for People and Gardens, take a look at www.peopleandgardens.co.uk. You can also keep up to date with the nursery on their Twitter and Facebook page.

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