Growers Hub

Roots help Venturers Academy in Hartcliffe turn their growing area around

Written by
Ed Morrison
June 24, 2024

Venturer’s Academy reached out to us asking for some help to turn around their growing area that had become overgrown with weeds and needed some TLC. Here at Roots, we believe It’s so important to support communities outside of Roots locations and spread the magic of growing to those who need it!

the space before hand...

That’s why we set up our Good Vibes Projects, to provide guidance, help and garden space support. Growing has not been officially on our school's curriculums since 1945 so we jump at the chance to help a school in need.

Over a day we managed to turn around all of their raised beds, with a thorough weeding, compost top up and planted fresh plug plants for the kids and young adults to enjoy over the coming months and into the tail end of the growing season.

We planted, peas, climbing beans, courgette, squash, strawberries, raspberries and tomatoes and set up sensory area with a sale surrounded by wooden barrels that were planted full of great smelling and edible herbs. It was fantastic to have the children join us for some of the day and we felt just how passionate they were about getting this growing area back up and running so they could feel the benefits of interacting with nature and tasting their own grown food!

their raised beds afterwards!
a shaded spot to relax surrounded by herbs and flowers..
their fruit bushes, pond and to do list!

After a long day of hard graft from the Roots HQ team we were able to take a step back and check out the amazing transformation we had created for the school. It’s so lush that our small team are able to get out there and create a wider impact outside of our growing communities.

It was amazing to be invited back the following week for a super special day where Venturer’s Academy had been nominated as one of the top 10 schools in the world for overcoming diversity! Their headteacher Tristan was amazing at talking about the children's successes and how they set the kids up for success after mainstream education didn’t work for them.


There was amazing singing, dancing and some incredible baked treats provided by the sixth form students. We gave a tour of the growing space to governors, councillors and even well-known actress Nimmy Marsh.

We had some heart warming feedback from the sixth form students on their new growing space and will continue to provide support over the growing season and into next year to make sure they have bountiful harvests! Over the next few years we hope to help towards Venturers Academy’s vision to turn space into a functioning kitchen garden to accompany a kitchen where their children and young adults can continue their training. This would help more of their students get into paid work in the local community as well as give them a safe space to learn, be creative and be inspired!

1) No digging needed! Your Back Will Thank You

Yes, it’s true. You’ll be picking bountiful harvests without needing to dig, turn or fork the earth! Your back will thank you because digging takes about 2 x times longer than No dig. Beds are made by covering your growing ground in cardboard and placing nutrient rich compost on top - giving you a surface that’s ready to plant straight away!

2) Less weeding 

Weeds get suppressed by the layer of cardboard and compost, they then die off because of no sunlight! If soil stays undisturbed then weeds and their seeds are more likely to stay locked into the ground instead of sprouting when disturbed on a traditionally dug allotment.

3) Feeding the soil creates healthier plants

By building yearly layers of organic matter and not disturbing the soil’s ecosystem, you will increase the amount of good microbial activity. Good microbes help plants access nutrients and water, so the healthier your soil - the healthier your plants! 

4) You’ll do less watering!

No dig beds retain moisture better because you’re introducing organic matter, not taking it away. By keeping the soil’s ecosystem in-tact and encouraging bacteria, fungi and worms to do their thing will create better layers of soil that save water for when your plants need it - instead of bare dug ground that leaks moisture! Water is a precious resource and no dig helps us make the most of every drop!

5) Higher Yields Are Scientifically proven!

No dig has been proven to produce significantly higher yields by Charles Dowding over the last 9 years at his Homeacres Farm. He has been weighing the results of identically planted dug vs no dig beds and over that time the results are 100’s of kg’s greater.

6) Reduce Single-Use Plastic! <3 The Planet!

Every harvest throughout the seasons means you’ll be totally cutting out vast amounts of single use plastic that is used in supermarket produce! The supply chains we rely on use way too much making no dig a great way to start reducing personal consumption of single use plastic.

7) Experience Less pests & diseases

The result of great soil health by the no-dig method helps good bacteria, insects and animals thrive! Using natural methods of pest control we can learn to work with nature instead of against it - a single teaspoon of healthy rich soil can contain up to 1 billion bacteria!.

8) You’ll help fungal networks and they’ll help your plants grow

Fungi are a super important part of running a productive healthy patch. When soil is full of life and undisturbed there will be miles and miles of fungal networks beneath your feet trading nutrients with each other and your plants.

9) Save time and be 40% more productive by no dig!

When you don’t need to spend hours and hours digging, turning and prepping the soil for planting, you’ll be able to spend it doing the fun creative side of gardening - planning, planting, pruning your patch to create your own edible zen garden.

As a bonus you will also feel the mental and physical boost of growing your own

Gardening and feeding yourself with incredibly fresh nutrient dense food has amazing positive side effects for both people and the planet. As time goes by you’ll feel closer and more at one with nature.