Man turns garden into huge allotment and gives away thousands of fruit and veg to strangers

A man turned his garden into a huge allotment - growing thousands of fruits and vegetables for needy strangers after learning on YouTube.

Christopher Jones, 35, was out of work during lockdown due to being a self-employed security guard when he decided to turn his attention to gardening.

The dad-of-one set up 25 beds to grow vegetables in the 120ft by 21ft garden of his rented home.

In 2020 alone, he grew 55kg of potatoes, 9kg of strawberries, 15kg of carrots, 15 trays of lettuce and seven pumpkins.

Despite money being tight, Christopher was determined to support struggling households in his local area.

He estimates eating his own produce saved him "hundreds of pounds" on his own groceries in the pandemic.

But most of his produce would be posted for free on Facebook for struggling people to collect as they required it.

The more time passed, the better gardener Christopher became too and he grew more and more different types of fresh food.

Christopher, from Halton, said: "It was a difficult time for a lot of people. It was about people who were struggling, living off reduced salaries, and people with kids.

"I had a woman come with two small kids, they took everything they could get, they were struggling.

"Every time something was ready she came and got a load of it because her children weren't getting free school meals."

Christopher had little gardening experience at the beginning - starting with just a couple of small plants. He watched YouTube videos to learn how to take care of a garden and grow edible produce.

Within a year he was growing everything from potatoes, parsnips and pumpkins to sweetcorn, spinach and sprouts.

Apart from small portions he kept aside for his own meals, it was all given away for free.

Sometimes people would collect from his home or other nearby locations, such as by postboxes.

Not only was he able to help his local community but he inspired others to start gardening themselves.

Christopher realised it could help with their physical and mental health as well as save money.

He said: "Gardening really helps, a lot of people struggled with their mental health in lockdown.

"I was trying to also get the message out that gardening can help, to stimulate your mind and body.

"I was putting together little pots of compost with seeds and giving them away so people could have a go at growing for themselves too."

Christopher has since restored his garden to its former state - but he isn't downing his gardening tools altogether.

He recently took on a proper allotment so he can continue to grow food to donate to people who need it.

He added: "My aim is to get people out there to go ‘you know what? I can save a few pounds and grow my own food, and do it organically'."

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