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Don Reeve Profile 

Don Reeve is the perfect advert for growing your own food.
A spritely 77 years old and infectiously chirpy, heís one of those priceless people who DO suffer fools gladly.
Even if youíre from a generation of people who donít know one end of a seed packet from another, let alone the best variety of lettuce to plant in clay soil, heís more than happy to help. In fact, spend a morning with him and all the mysteries and myths about garden and allotment growing suddenly become clear.
ďItís much easier than you might think,Ē he says, ďand you can expect a very high success rate, even if youíre a novice. Iíve got to know a lot over the years, but beginners will be surprised how much they can achieve if they put their minds to it. Itís easy.Ē
Don was in the right place at the right time to get the perfect grounding in all things horticultural. His grandparentsí generation didnít so much have green fingers as green blood, and coming from a rural Surrey community where kids were expected to find work in nearby nurseries, gardening was an important part of the curriculum.
Then came the war, which focused everybodyís skills still further, and when his father - a rose nurseryman by trade - was called away to do factory work instead, the responsibility for the family plot passed to Don, even though he was still a schoolboy.
When he moved to Swindon and had his own family, most of the food on their table still came from their own garden. Growing food was a way of life and then a necessity - but it has always been a pleasure.
It never lost its appeal. Don still has his grandfatherís hoe, which must be over a hundred years old, and still uses it every day. It started off 10 inches wide and has worn down to eight, and itís had numerous handles over the years - the current one being a retired broom handle.
His fork has survived from his childhood, but his spade is much newer - being a mere 40 years old - and heís still kicking himself that a pair of secateurs got lost in the front garden recently, necessitating the buying of a new one.
Heís almost ashamed to tell you that he splashed out on a new trowel recently. He clearly doesnít approve of such extravagance.
Don is a stalwart of Swindonís gardening community and a great ambassador for the allotment movement, although he doesnít actually own an allotment himself.
His garden in Okus is big enough to grow all he and his wife need, plus a bit extra, but he can often be found manning the allotment associationís shop at Pinehurst, while his wife Mary, who takes over when the crops need harvesting and cooking, is the secretary of the society.
They have both noted a steady increase in the number of people bitten by the gardening bug, and are pleased that younger people are coming back to the fold too. As Don put it, ďItís a growing industry!Ē
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