A GRANDAD who became a social media sensation has written his own book about gardening.

Last May, Gerald Stratford tweeted a picture of himself with some rocket potatoes he had grown, and from there it shot off.

He only joined Twitter in February of last year, but has since gained 285,000 followers, with his posts regularly attracting thousands of retweets and likes.

Now, the Milton-under-Wychwood resident has penned his own book, Big Veg, due to be released later this year.

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“I’ve always wanted to write a book and I’ve had various articles about fishing in magazines, but nothing major,” he said.

“The book was a spur of the moment thing and I was lucky enough to get a publisher interested.

“It’s not a how to do it book, it’s about how I do my garden and grow big vegetables.

“There’s bits about what we do with our vegetables, and recipes too.”

However, Mr Stratford said the main aim of the book is to inspire more people to get into gardening, particularly the younger generation.

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“I’m trying to get more people involved in gardening and grow their own, instead of buying from supermarkets all the time,” he said.

“I’m trying to inspire a new generation of gardeners, and I just want people to read the book and go pick up a fork and get into gardening.

“There’s a multitude of stuff that totally blows you away if you’re a novice.

“I was lucky, I had parents who were keen gardeners and helped me.

“We also had garden classes while I was at school, and these days, they don’t exist.”

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Mr Stratford also revealed that Big Veg was not his first attempt at writing a book.

“At one stage several years ago, I was writing a book about fishing, but it faded away with time,” he said.

“This book really got to me though.

“Technology wasn’t around to help first time round but has helped with this book.

“It’s so much easier, you can even write it on your phone if you want.”

For Cassington-born Mr Stratford, the last year has been something of a whirlwind, seeing him gain social media stardom.

Gerald Stratford went viral on Twitter with pictures from his garden. Picture: Gerald Stratford Twitter

Gerald Stratford went viral on Twitter with pictures from his garden. Picture: Gerald Stratford Twitter

He said: “It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions, I’m just a retired, 72-year-old going about his business and doing gardening – and then it all exploded.

“I used social media to talk about my garden and when it took off on Twitter, more and more people wanted to talk to me about gardening and life in general.

“If I can make somebody happy, that makes me happy.

“We live in a dark world with Covid-19 and we need positivity in our lives.

“There’s too much negativity and then along comes happy Gerald with a smiling face and people took to that.”

The book is not the only adventure Mr Stratford has been on recently, having starred in a photoshoot for Gucci’s sustainable collection.

“I’m no model or actor but I really enjoyed it,” he said.

Big Veg can be pre-ordered via Amazon and Waterstones, ahead of its release on September 2.