A resident from at a supported living service for learning disabled adults in St Austell so impressed country show judges with his home-grown pumpkin that he walked away with first place. 

Trevean resident Malcolm, 52, took top honours at the recent Treverbyn Produce, Preserves and Pasty Show.  

Malcolm began growing his own fruit and vegetables in 2020, having helped his parents grow potatoes in their back garden and developed his skills while working as a volunteer in Treverbyn Community Hall’s greenspace and greenhouse. 

Three years on, he is a pro, his green-fingered prowess helping him produce an array of fruit and veg produce, including the prize-winning pumpkin. 

Tegan Martin, Malcolm’s support worker with learning disability charity Hft, said: “The Treverbyn team was so impressed with Malcolm’s pumpkin, they suggested he entered it into their show - and he won first prize! 

“He has not stopped smiling since, and his certificate has been framed and hung on his bedroom wall.” 

Malcolm is very serious about his garden and, at the start of this year, invested in a poly-tunnel to take his gardening to the next level. This addition has made a massive difference and he’s found himself overrun with one particular fruit.  

Malcolm's pumpkin
(Malcolm's pumpkin)

“The easiest thing this year was growing tomatoes – I have heaps!,” he said. “The thing is, how is one person going to eat all those tomatoes?” 

Malcolm has also donated some of his tomatoes to the community larder at Treverbyn Hall. 

Harvests aside, for Malcolm, the process of growing is just as important as the final crop, offering a mindful opportunity to get into the elements. 

 “Fruit and veg is nice and fresh when you grow it yourself,” he said. 

“I like to eat it and use it in my cooking. 

“It is also relaxing being in the garden. It gives me something to focus on.” 

Malcolm would love to inspire others to have a go at growing their own produce and shares his tips for getting started. It’s fun to start from seed, but you could begin with ready-started plants,” he said. “You have to be patient and water them every day. 

“You could just start with some different veg, maybe one or two, and add more when you have more experience. And with a raised bed, you have got to keep up with the weeding.”