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Teenager launches vegetable-garden business

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Growing success: teenager Zayne Sinclair runs Sinclair's Seed Sowing (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

Teenager Zayne Sinclair has a lot on his plate. The 17-year-old is a full-time student at The Berkeley Institute, has a part-time job, and this summer, started his own gardening business, Sinclair’s Seed Sowing. For a small fee, he will come to your house and create and maintain a garden for you. “You really don’t need a lot of space to start growing things,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you have a small patio. You could use pots or a box garden. All you need is some imagination, and that’s what I’m here for.”Mr Sinclair always loved helping his father, Courtney Sinclair in the family vegetable plot, but he took it granted until the Covid-19 pandemic hit earlier this year. Suddenly, his family were relying heavily on the food they grew.“We had a lot of food at home — kale, broccoli, carrots, onions,” he said. “It wasn’t until a crisis happened and we needed food that I took it seriously. It really saved us a lot of money in those hard times. It really inspired me.”And as an added bonus he lost 53lbs over the course of four months, eating home-grown vegetables. “I’d always thought about starting my own gardening business,” he said. “When the coronavirus happened I really started thinking about that more.”He believes that everyone should have access to fresh food. “If everyone had a vegetable and herb garden it would really ease up their pockets,” he said. In July and August, he took part in the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation’s eight-week student entrepreneurship programme. “The most important tip I got from that programme was to just take action,” he said. “If you have an idea then you should always just work towards it. Just see it through. One of the biggest things that can work against you is procrastination. I am glad I started Sinclair’s Seed Sowing because it has grown.”It didn’t take much financial investment to get Sinclair’s Seed Sowing off the ground.“It is not like I was selling a product,” he said. “I was giving a service. I had the tools and I had the idea. I just needed to get my first clients.” He signed on his first three customers during the first week he graduated from the BEDC programme. “My mother got me my first client,” he said. “Then things started to spread through word of mouth. My second client was an old teacher of mine. I think right now everyone is into greenery and healthy living.”A lot of the people who contacted him said they had been wanting to start a garden for a while but didn’t know how, or didn’t have the time.“People want to be self-reliant and want a happy garden experience,” he said. “Most of my clients are women and they like herbs to use in their tea, vegetables to use in their soups, or they need thyme to put in their fishcakes or codfish and potatoes. One of my clients is the wife of a chef. They want a garden to grow vegetables to use in their everyday dishes.”Mr Sinclair thinks he got the farming bug from his father. “He is from Jamaica, but he has been in Bermuda for longer than I have been alive,” Mr Sinclair said. “He used to do a lot of farming in Jamaica. There farming is done on a much larger scale. There is more room to do it than in Bermuda. I usually go to Jamaica with my father every year, but I wasn’t able to this year, because of Covid-19.”So far, Mr Sinclair’s biggest challenge has been his age. “I’m in school,” he said. “I also work a part-time job at Scoops. So the only time I have to do this is on Sundays. But when you are passionate and really want to do something, you will find a way.”Because he is under 18, he is often reliant on his father to take him and his equipment around to job sites.“I am now saving up to buy a van for when I turn 18,” Mr Sinclair said. After high school his plan is to study architecture and masonry. “I would like to do yard renovations,” he said. He and his father are currently building a pond for one Sinclair’s Seed Sowing client. Mr Sinclair loves to watch the vegetables and herbs come alive in his gardens. “When I see what I have grown, it is very grounding,” he said with a smile. “It is beautiful to see something grow and then you eat it. Obviously, plants don’t grow overnight. It is about three months for a lot of things to grow. Sometimes it is quicker.”But he said one thing he didn’t take into account when he started his business was hurricanes. “I didn’t even think about that,” he said. But before Hurricane Paulette, last month, he took all of the vegetables he’d planted for clients out of their gardens, potted them, then replanted them after the storm. So far some vegetables have come back really well, while others are struggling to find their place again.“Plants are versatile,” he said. “They’ll come back. I’m glad I moved them because things were a mess after Hurricane Paulette. I don’t think they would have survived all that wind.”He said now is a great time of year to plant a garden.“September through April you get a lot of lettuce, kale, carrots, broccoli, peppers, thyme, chives, parsnips,” he said. “A lot of leafy plants grow now. In the summer you get more squash, watermelon and corn.”Mr Sinclair said Bermuda has the perfect climate to grow all vegetables. • For more information about Sinclair’s Seed Sowing see Facebook @sinclairseedsowing or on Instagram @sinclair_seedsowing, call 517-7828 or e-mail sinclair.seedsowing@gmail.com

Growing success: Zayne Sinclair, of Sinclair’s Seed Sowing, has a passion for green things (Photograph supplied)