Thursday 17 Apr 2014
The BBC today announced that it is extending its popular and highly successful Dig In campaign for a second year, with expert advice and information encouraging novice gardeners – young and old – to discover the simple pleasure of growing and cooking their own vegetables, starting this spring.
Whether people have a garden, an allotment or a simple yoghurt pot on a windowsill, the BBC is calling on first-timers to learn how to cultivate their own vegetables, providing easy-to-understand information and expert encouragement every step of the way with a special BBC Learning campaign.
Throughout the growing season, the dedicated Dig In website, and a national Dig In tour, will help growers to nurture and harvest their plants successfully.
The impact of last year's campaign was impressive, with 75% of those asked saying the seed starter pack motivated them to take part in Dig In, and 87% saying that they have now created a permanent vegetable patch (BBC commissioned research).
The Dig In website, at bbc.co.uk/digin, will have a shed-full of information for each of the five selected vegetables with advice about sowing, growing and harvesting, providing regular updates to ensure support throughout the summer.
This year's Dig In vegetables are basil, salad leaves, carrots, courgettes and French beans.
Planting can start as early as March, with tasty recipe inspiration coming later in the year from top chef Nigel Slater.
Alys Fowler's new Edible Garden series on BBC Two will feature ideas for growing your own vegetables and Gardeners' World will feature weekly updates from its Dig In garden, offering advice and tips to growers.
Alys says: "Growing your own dinner, whether it's a side salad, a whole meal or just some fresh herbs, is satisfying, inspiring and tastes divine. You can start sowing from March and continue right through to September, particularly with salads.
"You don't need a lot of space or even soil as so much can be grown in containers. And with some free seeds there is no excuse not to have a go and taste something truly special – a home-grown meal."
CBeebies and the Green Balloon Club will also be encouraging younger viewers to get out and get planting, too.
Seed-starter packs will be available for families who want to start growing their own vegetables for the first time from the CBeebies website – look out for details coming soon of when these will be available.
Each pack will contain five packets of Dig In seeds, a handy pocket-sized guide to growing your own veg and a Dig In sticker sheet. Adults should go to the Grown-ups section of the CBeebies website to complete the application form.
Jelly, from Green Balloon Club, says: "This is going to be fun. Let's get digging and grow our own dinners. You don't need a garden – a yoghurt pot will do to get started with growing and getting green, like me!"
The Dig In tour is scheduled to start this April and runs through the growing season until June – check the Dig In website for venue details coming soon.
The tour will offer tips and advice to first-time growers and allow more experienced gardeners to share their knowledge. The events will include demonstrations, potting activities, seed giveaways and entertainment, as well as a "veg doctor", who will be on hand to answer any growing queries.
BBC Learning is also committed to providing teaching resources to schools, running events in libraries and, this year, has forged a special link with The Scout Association and its 500,000 members in a bid to encourage even more young people to take part.
Dawn Carter, an experienced Scout Leader in the South East of England, says: "Getting involved with the BBC Dig In campaign is a practical way for Scouts to earn their smallholder badge.
"The free seeds and practical information on how to care for the plants, provided by Dig In, is a real help to Scout Leaders in planning an activity session with the girls and boys. The Dig in campaign has made it easy for us to have an exciting and educational gardening adventure."
The Dig In campaign is a BBC Learning initiative. A limited number of seed starter packs will be available soon, aimed at first-time growers via the website, bbc.co.uk/digin, and locations for the Dig In tour will be confirmed in due course.
About BBC Learning
• The BBC is committed to education and personal development. Dig In is one of the many unique and varied offerings from BBC Learning. For more information on all the learning programmes offered for adults, teachers, parents and students, visit bbc.co.uk/learning.
• BBC Learning also delivers campaigns that aim to inspire and empower individuals to take action – action that changes their lives, benefits communities and helps to transform society.
• The Edible Garden is scheduled for transmission on BBC Two in March/April 2010.
About the five vegetables
• French Bean
"Blue Lake" – a climbing French bean. A traditional favourite which is very productive. The beans can be eaten whole as French beans or allowed to ripen to haricot-style beans. They have a climbing habit so can be used where ground space is limited. They have attractive flowers and are low maintenance once established. Sow April to June.
"Black Beauty". A very productive plant, which is good for growing in a container. It is easy to maintain and will provide a good crop in the summer. This is a favourite of organic growers as it attracts very few pests. Sow April to June.
"Royal Chantenay Red". A very conical carrot with a sweet taste which is particularly good in heavy soils and containers. They pull easily and store well. Sow April to early August.
• Salad leaves
"Lobjoits, Green Cos, Red Salad Bowl Oakleaf Cocade, Red Chard, Spinach and Mizuana". These leaves combine crispy, spicy and tender flavours together. This is a cut-and-come-again mixture ideal for containers – and will look good too. Sow March to September.
"Sweet Genovese". An excellent windowsill herb which can also be grown outside in sheltered spots. It has plenty of kitchen uses and a lovely fragrance. It is easy to maintain. Sow March to August.
About the seed giveaway
• A limited number of seed starter packs will be available on a first-come, first-served basis aimed at families new to gardening via the CBeebies and Dig In website and during the Dig In tour. Check the Dig In website for details of availability.
• Last year 250,000 seed starter packs were distributed, 90% of those asked saying that Dig In is the sort of thing the BBC should be doing.
• The Dig In website, at bbc.co.uk/digin, was a very popular feature of the campaign last year with unique weekly users peaking at 120,000.
About The Scout Association
• The Dig In campaign provides programme material to enable Scouts to work towards their Smallholder Badge or Environment Partnership Award.
• Adventure is at the core of Scouting, and the Association passionately believes in helping their members fulfil their full physical, intellectual social and spiritual potentials by working in teams, learning by doing and thinking for themselves.
About the research
• Research source: Nunwood Research commissioned by the BBC. November 2009. Research sample 800 recipients of Dig In seed pack.
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