The Organic Gardening Podcast

The Organic Gardening Podcast

By Garden Organic

Inspiration to help you garden the organic way, with advice, tips and interviews from the UK's leading organic gardening organisation, Garden Organic. Hosted by Fiona Taylor and Chris Collins.


S4 Ep7: July - Ditch the plastic this Plastic Free July with Sally Nex

What do bed sheets, hessian and bacteria have in common? They might help us reduce the amount of plastic we use in our veg plots!  Award-winning author, gardener, peat- and plastic-free advocate Sally Nex shares fascinating advice for reducing, reusing and recycling the 500 million pots, seed trays, and other bits of plastic we get through in our gardens every year in the UK. “When we chip a pot and it goes directly into our soil, it's going to stay there for the next 400 years,” says Sally. “Experiments have shown that earthworms, which are living in soils high in microplastics, lose weight and soil biodiversity is a fraction of what it is in clean soils.” Also in this episode… Chris and Fiona chat about the delay in germination and plant growth due to the cool start to the summer – and reassure that it’s not too late to sow now. From the postbag, Anton advises on using organic slug pellets, and the team mull over what creature might be creating ‘strawberry piles’!
01/07/241h 5m

S4 Ep6: June - How to be water wise with Jo Osbourn and Sally Morgan

We’ve got a double bill this month to help you save more water in your garden over the summer. We’re joined by Jo Osborn from the charity Waterwise – who tells us that in England alone, we face a potential water deficit of close to 5,000 million litres of water every day by 2050. She shares how crucial it’s we conserve more of it in our homes and gardens. And climate change gardening guru Sally Morgan talks rainwater and grey water harvesting. She reveals ways to water plants more effectively, and the importance of soil health. “No dig is important because we don't want to disturb the fungi in the soil,” she says. “Most plants have a relationship with the mycorrhizal that extends beneath the plant – and it’s this fungus network that does the watering for them, finding water in the soil.” Also in this episode… We'll be answering your questions about how to deal with box hedge moth, what to do about allotment-loving ants, and how to tackle chilies that are not hot.
03/06/241h 2m

S4 Ep5: May - A trip down memory lane to Barnsdale with Nick Hamilton

In this month’s Organic Gardening Podcast, Chris Collins chats to Nick Hamilton – son of organic gardening pioneer Geoff Hamilton – and finds out more about his gardening journey and life at his beloved Barnsdale Gardens. We’ve always had a close relationship with the gardens and Nick, a former Garden Organic trustee, and shared many planting schemes and plant cuttings over the years. Our ‘Paradise Garden’ (now part of Coventry University), with its pergolas and pond, was built to commemorate Nick’s father and TV gardener Geoff.  More than 25 years ago, Nick had what seemed like an impossible task – taking over a collection of 30 or so organic gardens designed for television and turning them into a visitor attraction aimed at inspiring people to grow organically. In 2023, Barnsdale marked its 40th anniversary.  “I don't have any problem with people referring to me as the son of Geoff as I'm very proud to be his son. The gardens are his legacy…and still rolling on today,” says Nick. “I want to continue to show organic gardening is not complicated or difficult - it's easy! And because you're working in tandem with nature, nature helps you along the way.” Also in this episode… Chris and Fiona chat about our Every Garden Matters research paper – showing small steps in any size garden can have a positive impact on biodiversity. And from the postbag, we tackle how to safely dispose of laurel debris and old garden pesticides, and discuss whether we should feed birds all year round.

S4 Ep4: April - How to grow pulses with Josiah Meldrum

Chris Collins chats to Josiah Meldrum, co-founder and owner of Hodemedods, about growing beans and pulses in the UK climate. Josiah explains how Hodemedods works with British farmers to supply pulses, such as lentils and chickpeas, in as sustainable way as possible and often using organic methods. He shares some varieties that can grow well in our gardens and how they grow more unusual crops such as chickpeas and lentils. He also shows how easy it is for British gardeners to overlook the multiple uses of beans. “People miss a trick in the UK when it comes to runner beans. We tend to think of them as something you harvest green, but the rest of the world don't do that: they also dry them,” says Josiah.  “In Poland, they've got a fantastic tradition of growing and harvesting these delicious white runner bean seeds…and in Greece, you'll have giant ‘Gigantes’. I would encourage everyone to save beans and eat them. The scarlet runners and the white seeded beans are absolutely delicious!” Also in this episode… Anton reveals how to grow ‘green chickpeas’, and whether it’s worth growing a crop of lentils. From the postbag, he discusses how to deal with moss on vegetable plots, and Chris and Fiona chat about the effects of the wet and windy spring. Many thanks to our sponsor Andermatt Garden, which offers high quality environmentally-sustainable products for the home and garden at
01/04/241h 2m

S4 Ep3: March - The ultimate guide to composting with David Garrett

To celebrate Food Waste Action Week (18-24 March), Chris Collins and David Garrett join Fiona to bust the myths around composting. If you want to know how, why and what to compost this is a must-listen. David, our head of knowledge transfer at Garden Organic, shares the reasons he loves compost, and talks through the different composting systems at our organic demonstration garden, and how to use them. “We're producing kitchen waste at home so why not process it ourselves and produce compost? It's a circular economy in our own homes,” says David. “We're taking ownership of the waste and not relying on someone else to deal with it for us.” Also in this episode… Chris and Fiona chat about what to sow and plant now and how to care for winter ponds. 
05/03/2455m 0s

S4 Ep2: February - The wonders of wetlands with Simon Rose from the WWT

Our CEO Fiona Taylor visits Slimbridge to chat to Simon Rose from the  Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) about ways to create similar habitats in your growing space.  With 75 per cent of wetlands in the UK lost in the last 300 years, Fiona explores the importance of urban bluescapes and bogs as a homes for wildlife. “Wetlands are really rich in wildlife – in fact 40 per cent of the world's species are reliant in some way on wetlands,” says Simon, who is Head of Experience Development at the WWT, which is based at Slimbridge Wetlands Centre in Gloucestershire. “But they also help prevent flooding and reduce carbon emissions. Wetlands are actually faster than rainforests at locking up carbon.” Simon and Fiona discuss ways you can mimic these diverse habitats in your own growing space. “Whenever you introduce water into the garden it's one of the best biodiversity boosters, and that could be anything from a bucket to half a barrel. Dig a hole, fill it with water, put some rocks and some plants in it and I guarantee that within weeks you’ll attract wildlife,” says Simon. “The sediment that settles on the bottom of a pond is another opportunity for carbon sequestration, even in a back garden setting.” Also in this episode… Chris Collins and Fiona chat about jobs you can be getting with this month, and Anton Rosenfeld delves into the postbag to help answer your questions. This month, they chew over using woodchip as a mulch, how to tackle rats, and ways to save money in the garden.
02/02/2457m 29s

S4 Ep1: January 2024 - An interview with the Seed Detective

Join Fiona Taylor as she chats to Adam Alexander, aka the Seed Detective. Adam is a volunteer Seed Guardian for Garden Organic's Heritage Seed Library, and self-confessed seed nut! Adam shares stories of his travels around the world, and why seed saving and sharing is so important. For information on the Heritage Seed Library and how to get involved, visit For information on Adam Alexander, visit
01/01/2448m 31s

S3 Ep12: December - Bring back the butterflies

Our guest this month is Anthony McCluskey from Butterfly Conservation, who shares some fascinating advice about how to support butterflies and caterpillars in your growing space. We chat to Butterfly Conservation’s urban butterfly project officer about the importance of attracting more butterflies and nighttime pollinators such as moths. And he provides some brilliant advice on things you can plant and do in your garden to help support pollinator populations. “Recent studies show more than 80 per cent of our UK butterfly species are in decline and a lot of our moths are in decline too,” says Anthony, who is based in Stirling. “If you want to boost butterfly numbers locally, you need to pack your garden with ‘caterpillar plants’.” Also in this episode… Chris, Emma and Fiona take time to reflect on their successes and failures this year, and Emma answers questions from the postbag including how to plant wildlife-friendly hedges, tackle leek moth and improve soil in greenhouses.
01/12/2354m 9s

S3 Ep11: November - How the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is tackling climate change

In this month’s podcast, Chris hops across the border to visit the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh to learn more about its conservation work. He chats to Kirsty Wilson, herbaceous supervisor at the botanic gardens, to discover more about its 350-year-old living collection of plants and its research projects. Kirsty, a presenter on BBC Scotland’s Beechgrove Garden, explains the steps the garden is taking to help fight climate change, including preserving struggling plants, using green and clean technology and biocontrols for pests.  “We're doing a lot of work conserving Scottish native flora, as well as plants that are dying out in the rest of the world,” says Kirsty. “It’s important to understand biodiversity and plant life – and the species that are struggling - so we can protect them…and raise awareness with governments.” Also in this episode… Chris and Fiona discuss the benefits of not being too tidy in the garden, and planting whips for hedging. From the postbag, we offer advice on what to do after tomato blight, ways to tackle invasive weeds and allium leaf miner.
15/11/2348m 25s

S3 Ep10: October - Pam The Jam shares her preserving secrets

In this month’s podcast, we chat to Pam ‘The Jam’ Corbin about making seasonal jams and chutneys from homegrown produce. As the UK's leading expert on preserving, Pam shares some of her best-kept preserving secrets in October’s Organic Gardening Podcast. Pam cemented her reputation as a preserving expert at Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s River Cottage. And in her latest book, Pam the Jam: The Book of Preserves, she provides detailed instructions for making more than 100 of her favourite recipes from classic pickles to savoury jams. Fiona caught up with her at her home in the West Country to take a tour of her pretty garden, and find out why she loves to make the most of delicious garden fruit and vegetables. Also in this episode… Chris Collins and Anton discuss creating the right conditions for healthy grapevines, friendly ways to tackle box moth caterpillars, and box alternatives, and how to avoid plum tree rot.
10/10/2348m 58s

S3 Ep9: September - Sustainability in action in Wales

In this month’s podcast, Fiona chats to environmentalist Jane Davidson – our new Vice President - about the impact of climate change on her life and her gardening. In a fascinating discussion for our September Organic Gardening Podcast, the former Welsh Government minister shares her organic gardening trials and triumphs in North Pembrokeshire, and the importance of the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act, which she spearheaded. “We’ve lost 70 per cent of species in my lifetime…and we’re likely to exceed the crucial 1.5 degrees this year - and that's a massive wake-up call,” says Jane, who is Chair of Wales Net Zero 2035. “I'm absolutely passionate about the idea that if we teach young children about the value of nature, then we actually breed habits that can sustain forevermore. Also in this episode Fiona and Chris discuss the effect of this year’s changeable weather on their gardens and crops, looking at what’s done well and what hasn’t.  Chris shares insights into tomato blight, and how to bring a pop of autumn colour into your planting schemes. And from the postbag, Anton discusses harvesting carrots and parsnips and autumn seed sowing.
14/09/2359m 37s

S3 Ep8: The gluts and the glory!

This month’s delicious Organic Gardening Podcast offers 50-minutes of organic gardening advice and growing stories from our experts at the height of the harvest. The August garden might be bursting at the seams but now’s a great time to be planning for next year. Chris and Fiona chat about growing potatoes for a Christmas crop and planting for the hunger gap in early spring. And discuss protecting your soil over autumn and winter with green manures. Also in this episode Fiona finds out more about gardening in Scotland with our new Vice President Pam Whittle CBE – including her tireless work as president of The Royal Caledonian Horticulture Society and why accessibility to gardening is key to public health. “Finding spaces where human beings and nature can coexist is crucial,” says Pam. “And, for me, it’s all about sharing knowledge, not just showing. People learn better when they can do it for themselves.” From the postbag, Emma and Chris chew over your gardening questions including what causes tomato leaf curl and how to regrow supermarket herbs. And you can discover more about a little weed called nipplewort.
04/08/2355m 29s

Unpruned - Jack Wallington: A Greener Life

In this unpruned episode of the Organic Gardening Podcast, Sarah Brown sits down for a chat with ecological grower and garden designer Jack Wallington about his book, A Greener Life.  Whether you're a seasoned gardener seeking to deepen your understanding of sustainable practices or a beginner eager to embark on a greener gardening journey, prepare to be inspired as Jack imparts his wisdom, revealing his secrets to a more sustainable and fulfilling gardening experience. From incorporating ecological principles into your garden design to nurturing biodiversity "A Greener Life" aims to empower you to create a garden that not only flourishes but also contributes positively to the environment. You can follow Jack Wallington on Instagram: @JackWallingtonNature
17/07/2330m 14s

S3 Ep7: July - Climate change ready gardening

 In this month’s podcast, our Head Gardener Emma O’Neill gives us a backstage tour of her brilliant Backyard Biodiversity show garden at Gardeners’ World Live – and the take aways to use in your own garden. Emma talks to Fiona about the climate-change focus of the silver award-winning garden, which gave gardeners inspiring ideas to help their garden better withstand drought and flooding.  She shares the benefits of permeable paths and gravel gardens for absorbing run off. And growing a short flowering lawn – with beneficial plants - for attracting insects. Fiona and Emma also discuss how low hedges of lavender and herbs can function as pollinator corridors, and which wildlife habitats can be slotted into a small garden. Also in this episode Chris Collins and Fiona share tips on conserving water, the importance of nurturing your soil and your front garden.    And from the postbag, you can learn how to use nematodes, prevent blossom end rot and when to harvest your garlic. 
05/07/2353m 5s

S3 Ep6: June - How to build a community garden

In this month’s podcast, Chris Collins chats to the ‘Banksy of Veg’ - food and gardening activist Sara Venn – about the importance of community gardening. The founder of Incredible Edible Bristol talks us through her journey into gardening and how she realised eco-friendly, organic gardening was the right route. “I learnt there's an awful lot of horticulture that isn't very good for the planet,” she says. “There's an awful lot of horticulture that's quite posh…and there’s a lot that suggests it’s regenerative but is actually just about shifting people out of the way.” Over the last decade, Sara has worked with more than 60 communities to create local, cost-effective gardens that give people access to nature, food and wellbeing. And she shares lots of advice for communities thinking about starting an eco-friendly garden in their neighbourhood. “Let's grow more food!” she says. “Let's make food available to anybody that needs it. But let’s also looks at who we share the planet with. We can't survive without pollinators, however much we think we can. Our garden space is bigger than the space the National Parks cover, so imagine if everybody was gardening.”
15/06/2349m 25s

S3 Ep5: May - The critical value of gardens to wildlife survival

Our gardens and growing spaces have never been more important as biodiversity declines. Listen to our fascinating conversation with wildlife gardening pioneer Chris Baines as he discusses the “wildlife revolution” in our gardens and the sea-change in attitudes towards incorporating nature-friendly habitats and techniques. “Gardens made a big, positive difference [to wildlife] once people started to see them as a place where they could enjoy and encourage wildlife, rather than a place that they needed to keep wildlife out,” says Chris, who suggests creating ‘service stations’ in your garden to influence bird and insect survival. “The past 60-70 years have been a disaster for wildlife. The one saving grace in the UK has been gardens. Gardens have got better for wildlife, while the wider countryside has got worse. There’s a real growing up of the idea that we can’t just stand back and watch everything disappear, we have to intervene.”
05/05/2356m 58s

S3 Ep4: April – A deep dive in to the cut flower industry

In this Cut Flower Special of The Organic Gardening Podcast, Sarah Brown chats with Jo Wright from Flowers from the Farm and Debbie Scott, from East Lothian Flower Farm, as they share their experience of growing cut flowers organically, offering valuable insights into the benefits of supporting local flower growers. “Growing organic flowers made complete sense as we think about what we do very carefully," says Jo. "Cut flowers are a luxury, and we think the onus is much greater on the growers of a luxury crop, to protect the environment. We cannot be wasting resources on something that is primarily decorative." Our CEO Fiona Taylor catches up with our Head of Horticulture, Chris Collins, and shares top tips for ensuring seedlings thrive and flourish. They also discuss getting the most out of your local garden centre, so you can make more informed choices.  “You do need to be wise about what you’re buying. It’s a question of walking around and seeing what’s native and getting the best out of your shop, getting your money’s worth and supporting biodiversity,” says Chris.
13/04/231h 20m

S3 Ep3: March - No sprays and no dig on a visit to Kew

The first day of spring is here and we’re starting to sow the seeds of the gardening year. Chris Collins pays a visit to Richard Wilford at Kew Gardens where he talks about tackling pests and reducing digging. “Our tolerance of pests has changed,” says Richard. “You’ve just got to accept the fact you’re going getting some aphids sometimes, and not get your sprayer out every time you see one. Allow the garden ecosystem to do what it needs to do…and then you won’t need to worry about pest outbreaks because they’re naturally controlled.” He talks about his plans for a new Carbon Garden at Kew that will demonstrate which plants can cope with climate change and offset it, and what you can do in your own garden. “The soil is the most important thing in a garden…and the health of the plants is so much better when you’re not disturbing the soil. It acts as a great big carbon sink,” Richard adds. Chris also catches up with Garden Organic’s head gardener Emma O’Neill about what she’s doing in our organic demonstration garden this month. They discuss successional sowing - and how important a sowing timetable is for planning vegetables all year round, and share details of their favourite flowers. “Growing organically is not just about food production but also about incorporating ornamentals,” says Emma. “The more diversity you’ve got in your garden, the more beneficial stuff you’re going to get in including more pollinators.”
16/03/2351m 23s

S3 Ep2: February - We’re dreaming of a colourful summer garden!

Spring is just around the corner and our Organic Gardening Podcast team are sharing their excitement at the gardening year ahead. Our head of horticulture Chris Collins chats to Fiona about his love of hardy annual flowers. He discusses how to prepare ahead and get the ground ready, and what to sow for a fabulous display in the summer. At his allotment, he’s making new plants from old by lifting and dividing herbaceous perennials. And Sarah Brown chats to Jack Wallington about his move from London to an exposed hillside smallholding in Yorkshire. The ecological grower, garden designer and author of A Greener Life, shares the challenges and joys of gardening in a new location. The focus of his new garden follows the same sustainable principles of his London garden and allotment, with nature at its heart. “We’re not here to control the garden, it’s the other way around – we’re here to help everything else thrive,” he says. “But you can do something really good for the world by producing a home for insects or growing your own food, so you reduce transport miles and packaging. Organic gardening is core to all of that – better for you and the planet.”
07/02/2356m 52s

S3 Ep1: January - Even garden pests deserve a meal! How to grow with nature, not against it.

 “Everyone deserves a meal” is one of the mottos of organic gardener Sarah Mead as she tackles garden pests – and is the thread running through this month’s podcast. Fiona takes a tour of Sarah’s beautiful, Soil Association-certified organic garden at Yeo Valley dairy farm in Blagdon, and find out how she works alongside wildlife rather than trying to eradicate pests. “It’s critical to leave things alone so you don’t break the food chain because once you’ve done that you’ve lost the battle,” says Sarah, who uses sacrificial plants, companion planting and copper tape to help manage whitefly, slugs and other challenges in the six-and-a-half-acre garden. “Organic gardening is all about being hands off. It’s less work in the long run: less digging, less mowing, less spraying. It can be done on a large scale or a small one. Just start by apply one principle and keep going.”  To mark Veganuary, Fiona and Chris also discuss veganic gardening, and moving away from animal-based ingredients in the garden. They touch on the value of plant-based diets that encourage us to grow and eat more vegetables, which are great for our health and for biodiversity. And they also share their love of feeding the birds in winter - and look forward to Big Garden Birdwatch at the end of this month.
09/01/2357m 45s

S2 Ep49: December - Trials, triumphs and the power of produce preservation

Preservation of produce, soil and seeds are some of the topics covered in this month’s podcast. Chris Collins and Fiona Taylor share their experience of storing vegetables such as cabbage and beans over winter, and using up fallen apples.  And our lead horticulturalist for the Heritage Seed Library, Marcin Salnikow, helps answer your postbag questions. This month we look at how and when to prune a wildlife-friendly native hedge and share advice on plants for pond edges. Fiona also meets chef and passionate organic advocate Sophie Grigson. Having written more than 20 cookbooks, Sophie has always been a vegetable enthusiast and now she lives in Italy, she’s discovering new and interesting varieties. This includes a tasty broccoli called Cimi di Rapa and 60 local varieties of cherry tomato. You can try out two of her delicious recipes below. Thanks to our sponsors The Organic Gardening Catalogue, visit to take advantage of their Autumn Bliss raspberry offer. 
02/12/2254m 53s

S2 Ep48: November - taking a worm's eye view of autumn

We get up close to our soil in this month’s Organic Gardening Podcast with a fascinating discussion about protecting soil over winter, warming up wormeries and creating veganic compost.  Fiona joins Chris Collins to share details of her trip to a new compost demonstration site in Cumbria. And discusses how she looks after her wormery in winter to protect her worms and make the most of her vermicompost. And we learn how ‘spraing’ can affect potato tubers. Dr Anton Rosenfeld pays a visit to Becca Stevenson, head grower at the certified organic Five Acres Community Farm, in Ryton, to find out what’s involved in a community supported agricultural (CSA) farm. Becca shows Anton how CSA farms allow communities to buy shares in what they produce to get local produce on to local plates, cut down on food waste and increase community engagement with food growing. She talks about the challenges of pests and diseases and getting through the hungry gap with bundles of stored and preserved produce. Thanks to our sponsors The Organic Gardening Catalogue, visit to take advantage of their Autumn Bliss raspberry offer.
02/11/2252m 22s

S2 Ep47: October - rampant squashes, late colour and bumper chilli harvests; autumn has definitely arrived.

Chris and Fiona discuss the highlights of the season, and what’s keeping them busy on the plot, including planting bulbs, looking after dahlias and sowing microgreens for indoor crops. Fiona shares her tips for making and using chilli oil, including a rather strange combination of peanut butter and chilli oil on toast – if you’ve tried it let us know your verdict!  Chris chats to Stephanie Slater, Founder and CEO of charity School Food Matters. We hear Stephanie’s inspiration behind setting up the charity, the fantastic outcomes they’ve already achieved, and what they plan for the future to connect school children to the food they eat. “I have the easiest Chief Exec job around, I go to people and I say: Is it a good idea to serve children fabulous tasty nutritious food, yes or no? Is it a good idea that we expose children to the joys of outdoor learning and learning to grow their own food and become skilled individuals and skilled adults? There aren't many people who are going to say no." Finally, Anton and Chris answer listener questions, including splitting tomatoes, green manures for No Dig growers and organic options for playing field maintenance. Thanks to our sponsors The Organic Gardening Catalogue, visit to take advantage of their listener offer of a heated propagator for just £11.99.
01/10/2258m 42s

S2 Ep46: Organic September - How to plan, plant and nurture your garden after the heatwave

Shoes filled with dust, salads shrivelling, and a bad case of watering can elbow - it’s certainly been one of the most challenging summers for gardeners!  In this month’s Organic Gardening Podcast, Garden Organic Chief Executive Fiona Taylor is joined by Head of Organic Horticulture Chris Collins and Head Gardener Emma O’Neill as they look ahead to spring and ­share tips for weatherproofing your garden.  The takeaway messages are: embrace the imperfect, don’t be put off if things fail – and just give it a go! The team talk about the importance of learning about your local conditions, rather than relying on what it says on the seed packet. And building resilience from the ground up by nurturing the soil and choosing a diverse range of plants. The team will show you how to plan ahead with tips for seed collecting and bulb planting. Including Chris’s ‘bulb trifle’ method! And to mark Organic September, you can find out why the team chose to go into organic horticulture. And learn what they wished they’d know before they started – all the while busting the myth that organic gardening takes more effort and money.
02/09/2238m 17s

S2 Ep45: August - Organic Allotment Special with Rekha Mistry

This month sees the return of the National Allotment Week, an initiative let by the National Allotment Society, so we’ve got an allotment special for you. Chris updates Fiona on how his Mediterranean veg are growing down on his allotment – turns out his gamble on hot weather has paid off! The runner beans are not doing so well unfortunately. Chris also shares his experience as an allotment holder, balancing the demands of his London allotment with his busy work life. And of course no discussion on his allotment would be the same without mention of his nemesis – horsetail! Fiona is treated to a tour around the allotment of Rekha Mistry - garden journalist, passionate organic grower, seed saver and volunteer Seed Guardian for our Heritage Seed Library.  Rekha’s inspirational allotment is bursting with life and produce, including Texas Wild tomato, pea bean, Cyprus climbing French bean and Mother’s Six Week been from the Heritage Seed Library collection. Rekha explains how she cultivates such a biodiverse haven on her allotment and shares her solution to overcoming flooding, which happens regularly on her plot/. Finally, Chris and Anton answer listeners’ questions on how to deal with a new allotment that may have been treated with pesticides, where to start with a new plot that has no water supply and what to sow in August.
01/08/2252m 47s

S2 Ep44: July - time to take it easy?

July is here and it's time to take your foot of the gas a little. But not too much - there's still plenty to do! Chris updates Fiona on his allotment and shares his approach to planting, influenced by years of working in parks. They also touch on the different summer growing conditions in Chris’s London home compared to his training days in Scotland. As Chris and Fiona both pack their bags for a holiday, they discuss essential preparation to keep everything, including houseplants, ticking over for their return. Sarah returns to talk to Garden Organic’s Director of Horticultural Science, Dr. Bruce Pearce. Bruce tells us about organic growing in the wider sense, focusing on what organic means and why organic farming is so essential for a healthy future. Sarah and Bruce discuss the challenges of buying organic food when household budgets are stretched and share some useful tips on how to prioritise at the checkout. Lastly Anton and Chris answer a question from someone struggling with peat-free compost, and share their experiences of growing perennial brassicas. We're delighted to have The Organic Gardening Catalogue as our official podcast sponsor for 2022. Whether you’re looking for information, ready to take your first step into organic gardening, or planning your next veg plot or flower bed The Organic Gardening Catalogue is the right place for you! They offer a complete range of organic gardening products, including seeds and plants, pest deterrents, feeds, compost, equipment plus much more. Garden Organic members can also take advantage of a 10% discount with any purchase from the catalogue. For this month's special offer on an amazing range of pots and plants go to
01/07/2251m 21s

S2 Ep43: June – can we convince you to love your slugs…?!

It’s June – time to start seeing the fruits of our labour as all those seedlings get planted-out. Chris and Fiona compare notes on their most challenging weed – horsetail for Chris, bindweed for Fiona – and share tips to keep on top of them without reaching for weedkiller. We’re also joined by slug expert Imogen Cavadino, who shares her passion for these less-than-popular gastropods with Sarah. Finally we answer questions on durable lawns, what to do with excessive grass clippings and planning to grow throughout autumn and winter. Here are links to more information on some of the topics covered: Growing Winter Veg workshop Tasks for June Organic weed management Making your own plant feeds Organic slug and snail controls Lawn care The Organic Gardening Catalogue If you want to join Garden Organic for more advice please click here, or donate to support our work and help us carry on with projects like our podcast here.
01/06/2257m 52s

S2 Ep42: May – Marvellous May has finally arrived!

Join new presenter, Garden Organic CEO Fiona Taylor, as she shares her love of May with Chris. Plus Chris takes a trip to the beautiful Mumbles on the Gower Peninsula to meet Gardeners World presenter and long-time Garden Organic member, Sue Kent, who shows him round her inspirational tiered organic garden.

S2 Ep41: April - it's that exciting time again. Join us as we get outside for Springtime growing.

We discuss success with seedlings, growing salads on a patio, and should we call slugs pests?  Plus a visit to a very special healing garden. 
31/03/2250m 4s

S2 Ep40: Unpruned - can you recognise your favourite garden bird songs?

Have you always wanted to tell your blackbird from your thrush? Join Sarah as she listens and learns how to identify our favourite garden bird song.
20/03/2216m 19s

S2 Ep39: March - the beauty of birdsong, plus how to get ready for the growing season

It's ready, get set, but not quite 'grow'.  Here's how to get started in the race towards spring.  Plus Sarah discovers the magic behind our songster garden birds.
01/03/2247m 22s

S2 Ep38: Unpruned: a private tour of Debs Goodenough's garden

Chris visits the private garden of Prince Charles' former Head Gardener, Debs Goodenough.
18/02/2226m 37s

S2 Ep37: February - successful seed sowing plus Debs Goodenough, gardener to Prince Charles.

Step by step to successful seed sowing. And we hear from former Head Gardener and organic grower, Debs Goodenough.
01/02/2248m 51s

S2 Ep36: Unpruned: discovering creatures in your soil

We look at the wildlife in your soil.  How much do you know about earthworms and moles?
16/01/2222m 10s

S2 Ep35: January - the secret of good soil.

Discover what makes good soil. It's the secret of successful growing!
01/01/2229m 49s

S2 Ep34: December: how to grow the perfect Brussel sprout, plus Helen Browning's organic farm

Join us, as we visit Browning's organic farm, and share ideas for Xmas gardening presents.
03/12/2152m 26s

S2 Ep33: November - climate change gardening plus the wonderful world of bees

How can gardeners can mitigate climate change? And looking at bees with new eyes, with specialist Jean Vernon.
01/11/2156m 42s

S2 Ep32: Unpruned interview - George Anderson in his garden

Join Chris and George as they stroll around George's much loved Edinburgh garden, full of rare varieties.  
15/10/2118m 48s

S2 Ep31: October - joyful autumn tasks plus George Anderson, doyen of Scottish gardening

As autumn sets in there's plenty to do.  Plus a lifetime of gardening with the irrepressible George Anderson, and what to do with all those green tomatoes!
30/09/2146m 3s

S2 Ep30: September - Dave Goulson talks about Silent Earth: an insect apocalypse.

What can we gardeners do to prevent insect disaster?  Plus tips on storing your harvest, bare root planting and celebrating Organic September.

S2 Ep29: Nematodes and others - our practical guide to bio controls and stimulants

Following last week's look at biocontrols and stimulants, we now get practical.  How can gardeners use them?  And should we?
08/08/2135m 21s

S2 Ep28: August - bio controls and stimulants, what are they?

Sit back and join us for an in-depth discussion on this fascinating subject.
31/07/2137m 32s

S2 Ep27: July - how green is your garden centre? Plus summer weed control, and other inspiring organic growing advice.

Can garden retail become more sustainable?  Plus your July jobs in the garden.
02/07/2156m 9s

S2 Ep26: Healing herbs from the garden - how they work

Can elderberry cure a virus? How does lemon balm make you calm? We chat with Viridian Nutrition to find out more, in this tiny goody bag episode.
19/06/2113m 59s

S2 Ep25: June - join us for a private view of Garden Organic's new demonstration gardens

Chris enjoys a tour of the new organic demonstration gardens at Ryton; plus growing jobs galore in the busy month of June.
31/05/2147m 51s

S2 Ep24: Frances Tophill on Rewilding Your Garden

Join us as Frances talks to Sarah about rewilding, and why you should bring the wild into your growing space.
15/05/2128m 27s

S2 Ep23: May - a glorious growing month, plus special guest 'Love Your Garden' Frances Tophill

Chris and Sarah share gardening tasks in May, and we meet the private side of TV gardener Frances Tophill.
30/04/2147m 44s

S2 Ep22: Unpruned interview - Dr Ian Bedford on garden insects

Ian is one of the country's top entomologists. He tells us the startling facts about insect decline, and how gardeners can help.
10/04/2138m 7s

S2 Ep21: April - the start of an exciting new growing season! Plus extraordinary facts about garden insects, with Dr Ian Bedford.

We celebrate getting outside with Spring growing advice. And Chris meets Dr Ian Bedford to discuss how we can help stop the devastation of garden insects.
31/03/2149m 55s

S2 Ep20: March - simple ways to make seed sowing successful. Plus Mark Lane, an inspirational garden designer.

We show how to make every seed-sowing successful.  Mark shares with us his design secrets and his plans to put 'ability' into 'disability'.
28/02/2148m 3s

S2 Ep19: February - feeling good during winter lockdown, plus Danny Clarke, The Instant Gardener

We share our tips to lift you from lockdown gloom and Chris meets Danny Clarke, a ray of welcome sunshine. 
31/01/2152m 38s

S2 Ep18: January - planning for your growing year, plus lockdown gardening.

How to plan this year's veg patch. We also hear from two growers new to gardening during lockdown.
02/01/2151m 39s

S2 Ep17: December - the best of bare root planting, and gardening inspiration from Don Murray, Garden Organic's new Director of Horticulture

Join Chris and Sarah in our award winning podcast for tips and advice on organic growing.
01/12/2048m 16s

S2 Ep16: Unpruned interview - Tony Kirkham, Head of Arboriculture at Kew

Join us for the full interview with Tony, his life in trees, and special planting and tree care advice.
15/11/2039m 27s

S2 Ep15: November - the joy of trees with Tony Kirkham at Kew, plus this month's jobs preparing for winter.

Organic growing tips from your favourite gardening podcasters - Chris Collins and Sarah Brown. Nominated as 2020 gardening podcast of the year.
01/11/2046m 13s

S2 Ep14: October - the joys of autumn tasks and we get serious about pesticides.

Practical organic gardening advice - from making leafmould, to saving seeds and planting bulbs. Plus a serious look at the dangers of pesticides.
30/09/2053m 14s

S2 Ep13: September - Chris talks to garden historian, Caroline Holmes, & we share tips for new growers to keep the interest through the autumn

This month, Chris and Hannah, Sarah’s colleague and presenter for this episode, chat about September in the organic garden, and take time to reflect on the successes and failures of the year and so far. We also talk all things houseplants, including how valuable they are as therapeutic greenery for those with little or no outside space.  Chris enjoys an enthusiastic chat with garden historian and GO ambassador, Caroline Holmes, who shares her passion for gardens through history, and in particularly Monet’s garden. Chris and Caroline also get very excited about dung! Finally, Anton and Chris answer questions from members covering the challenge of bare soil, seed saving and whether woodlice are friends or foes.
01/09/2053m 52s

S2 Ep12: August - our summer special includes a chat with Mark Diacono, of Otter Farm and River Cottage fame.

Chris meets Mark Diacono, and the two old friends chat about the joys and frustrations of working with tv crews, how to grow pecan nuts, and Mark's delicious new cookbook Sour
31/07/2033m 45s

S2 Ep11: Unpruned interview - Jekka McVicar, Queen of Herbs

Join Chris as he and Jekka walk around her herb farm. This is for real herb lovers - with over 70 different sorts of thyme, other exotic delights, and how Jekka grows her healthy plants.
17/07/2027m 54s

S2 Ep10: July - we have the Queen of Herbs, Jekka McVicar, plus summer fruit and how to keep that veg coming!

Join us for a summer gardening tasks and the best organic tips on how to manage your plot. Plus Chris spends time with Jekka McVicar, the glorious doyen of herb growing.
30/06/2049m 38s

S2 Ep9: Unpruned interview - Stephanie Hafferty on the organic home and garden

Join writer and grower Steph Hafferty, as we explore ideas of how to use plants in the home and kitchen. Based on her book The No Dig Organic Home and Garden.
19/06/2029m 37s

S2 Ep8: June - watering, managing summer pests, and loving your weeds. Garden designer Jack Wallington joins us.

How to water well, summer seed sowing, and dealing with summer pests the organic way. Jack Wallington joins us to talk about his book Wild About Weeds.
31/05/2055m 18s

S2 Ep7: Unpruned interview - Charles Dowding on No Dig

A chance to hear the full interview with Dowding, when we explore No Dig, how plants get their nutrients, and how to get started yourself.
15/05/2039m 55s

S2 Ep6: May - No Dig with Charles Dowding, plus more tips on lockdown gardening

We discuss No Dig, as well as organic slug pellets, making compost and dealing with aphids. And we're here to help with your garden during lockdown.
30/04/201h 7m

S2 Ep5: Unpruned interview - Catherine Dawson on peat-free potting composts

Catherine is Technical Director at Melcourt. For over 20 years she has researched and refined their excellent peat-free growing mixes.  We learn the secrets behind what goes in the bag.
02/04/2051m 4s

S2 Ep4: April - gardening during lockdown. Spring seed sowing, and potting composts.

A lockdown special, with tips to help you make the veg garden productive. Plus everything you need to know about potting composts.
31/03/2051m 26s

S2 Ep3: March - with Joe Swift; how to sow seeds; getting ready for Spring.

A bumper episode with a seed sowing masterclass and interview with Gardeners' World presenter, Joe Swift.
01/03/2052m 42s

S2 Ep2: February - enjoyable winter tasks plus a look at agroforestry with Ben Raskin, Soil Association

A month for frost protection, winter pruning, planning your planting and clearing the allotment. We explore how trees can help farmers and your own plot.
01/02/2040m 46s

S2 Ep1: January - we celebrate Veganuary, by going vegan in your garden. Plus planning for the year ahead, and enjoyable cold weather tasks.

How to go vegan in your garden with writer Matthew Appleby.  Chris and Sarah also share ideas for the new growing season ahead, and get you inspired for those cold weather jobs.
01/01/2046m 38s

S1 Ep14: December - the world of houseplants plus a greener Christmas

Jane Perrone joins us to discuss the huge popularity of houseplants, with tips and advice. Can you have a greener Christmas? Plus top gardening books of 2019.
01/12/1944m 28s

S1 Ep12: November - bringing wildlife into your plot, with Kate Bradbury.

How to share your plot with wildlife, plus making a pond, protecting your plants from frost, and deciding what's safe to put on the compost heap.
01/11/1939m 49s

S1 Ep11: 'Unpruned' interview - Lucy Start, aka 'Shegrowsveg'

Lucy Start - best known as @shegrowsveg - has over 45000 followers on Instagram, where she aims to challenge the orthodox gardening advice, making growing more accessible to a wider audience.  She is also ambassador - on social media - for the Heritage Seed Library.
07/10/1917m 12s

S1 Ep10: October - autumn tasks and seed saving

A bumper harvest of Autumn tasks, plus the fun of saving your own seed.  We take a special visit to the Heritage Seed Library
01/10/1946m 51s

S1 Ep9: September - picking and storing, plus sowing nature's green manures

Time to enjoy your harvest and start autumn sowing. We have expert advice on blight and other diseases, and Chris meets plantsman Adam Alexander. 
02/09/1944m 12s

S1 Ep8: August - organic food. Is it really better for you?

We know organic food tastes better, but is it really better for you?  Chris and Sarah examine the evidence, speaking with chefs and scientists with up to date research and recipe tips.
01/08/1932m 51s

S1 Ep7: 'Unpruned' interview - Professor Tim Lang

Garden Organic’s President, Professor Tim Lang talks about food policy. We discuss food security, obesity and malnutrition - and the vital role food policy has in our health, society, economy and environment. Prof Lang is Head of City, University London’s Centre for Food policy, and has advised governments around the world on food matters.
01/08/1937m 2s

S1 Ep5: July - gentle summer maintenance, plus climate change gardening

Summer is here!  Chris and Sarah help you to enjoy summer tasks in your organic growing area.  We also discuss climate change gardening, and the best plants for bees.
30/06/1937m 23s

S1 Ep4: June - watering, pests and diseases, and healthy growing

The lovely month of June is for flowers, strawberries, and managing your watering.  We are joined by an expert on pests and diseases to discuss how to deal with aphids and problems in the greenhouse.  We hear about Garden Organic’s inspiring work around the country – from food banks in Southwark to school children in Worcestershire.  And there’s everything you wanted to know about nematodes.  
03/06/1947m 34s

S1 Ep3: May - sowing outside, dealing with weeds, and No Dig

As the weather warms we prepare the ground for sowing outside. Weeds - love them and manage them, and we discuss the No Dig technique. Hear also how a large online seed and plant merchant is embedding organic principles into the business - and how they research the perfect tasting tomato, and breed plants for the future.
02/05/1950m 41s

S1 Ep2: April - slugs, seeds and seedlings

Spring is here. We get excited about seed sowing, the perfect plant comfrey, and we discuss slugs and slug pellets. Listen also to the inspiring work of an organic gardener working behind prison walls, helping offenders with substance abuse.
04/04/1932m 8s

S1 Ep1: March - Why organic?

We explore why organic is important, and give advice for your own organic growing journey.
01/03/1929m 19s
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