The Organic Gardening Podcast

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. read less
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Episodes

S4 Ep5: A trip down memory lane to Barnsdale
01-05-2024
S4 Ep5: A trip down memory lane to Barnsdale
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 Ep2: February - The wonders of wetlands
02-02-2024
S4 Ep2: February - The wonders of wetlands
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.
S3 Ep3: March - No sprays and no dig on a visit to Kew
16-03-2023
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.”