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Adam with parsnips 1
In the world of growing vegetables, parsnips have something of a reputation for being tricky and stubborn customers.

Their seeds, for example, just won’t be hurried when it comes to germination, so if you’re impatient you might get on better with the runner bean which lives up to its name and doesn’t hang about.

However, at Thrive Reading, client gardener Adam, who is autistic, has the parsnip magic touch and has been cited by Horticultural Therapist Michele as our resident champion for this root vegetable.

What’s all the more impressive is this is Adam’s first year growing veg outdoors. He’s clearly relishing being responsible for his own 1.5m x 1.5m plot where he’s been showcasing his parsnip growing proficiency.

Undoubtedly, good soil is key, but Adam also puts his success down to doing his research on seed varieties. He spent a lot of time reading and weighing up which one would be best and went for F1 Gladiator: `It’s one of the best varieties,’ said Adam, and to illustrate the point he holds up some newly uprooted specimens.

It’s a joy to see someone like Adam have so much enthusiasm for his plot and the horticultural and therapeutic benefits it gives him.

Thrive Horticultural Therapist Michele

`Adam has done a great job,’ said Michele. `He’s worked really hard and choosing which seeds to plant has proved an excellent way of engaging Adam in making decisions, which hasn’t always been something that comes easily as he finds it hard to focus for long periods of time.

`Having his own veg patch is helping Adam on different levels and it’s so encouraging to see his enthusiasm for his gardening. Researching his vegetables has given him confidence to show his knowledge about them to others.

`It’s a joy to see someone like Adam have so much enthusiasm for his plot and the horticultural and therapeutic benefits it gives him.’

Buoyed by his success, Adam is already thinking about this year’s crops. Standby for some bumper garlic and onions!

How gardening can help us develop new skills

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