Christine Walkden talks about simple ways to grow your own – in the UK’s driest county.

Over two hundred people from all over Essex came to hear Christine Walkden talk at Writtle College on Thursday, 16th February.  The event, organised by the RCCE’s Edible Essex project, and sponsored by Essex & Suffolk Water, was both entertaining and extremely informative.  She began with outlining how to get the most from small spaces, by, for example,  intercropping and succession planting, and went on to explain how to improve soil to help retain moisture and how to water efficiently.

The talk focused on the fact that Essex is the driest county in the UK and how, according to Christine, we would very soon need to change the way we garden. She discussed simple water saving techniques, such as collecting rain water, improving soil structure and using mulches, and gave the audience some handy hints and tips.

Christine has been a horticulturist since the age of ten when she first obtained an allotment and started growing vegetables and flowers, which she sold to her school teachers and local residents. Now an author, lecturer and broadcaster, presenting on various radio and TV programmes, she is currently the resident gardening expert for BBC 1’s ‘The One Show’.

Christine also talked about her own garden, which is relatively small, and how hard she had to work (and still has to) to improve the soil structure, before she became self-sufficient in fruit and vegetables.

What was very evident to all who attended the evening was Christine's commitment and passion as a horticulturalist to inspire others to take up the trowel and start growing.  The evening drew to a close with Christine taking questions from the audience and signing her new book.

An Edible Essex leaflet entitled “Simple Ways to Grow Your Own – in the UK’s driest county” was produced to accompany the event.  If you would like a copy, or more information about Edible Essex, please contact Sophie Blythe