Best of all he tells you in explicit detail how to turn a lawn into potatoes by spreading cardboard round the dripline of a handy tree and covering it in compost. Put the potatoes in, follow up with beans over the winter and bodge in some rasp canes the following autumn and your on your way to your very own forest garden.
She was a farmer’s wife in essex and ran a 4.5 acre Market Garden in the 1950s. She is of course not reluctant at all but she revels in how to garden with nature instead of against it. How to do less and accomplish more. She would probably never have heard of the principle of least action – but the whole book could be a sermon on it. There’s more wisdom in its 120 pages than in most of the other books in my study.
One of the things that’s quite obvious from reading as many gardening books is that they are generally quite weak in telling you about the underlying science of how plants behave. So we’ve created a little course that we’ll roll out throughout the year interspersed with seasonal advice and tips
Quick review of the really useful Know and Grow Vegetables volume 2 by Bleasdale and Salter
If you really want to know how plants operate you owe it to yourself to get hold of these books. I used them extensively as reference books in putting this site together and I know enough about the science to really appreciate what they did in making this great body of knowledge accessible.
What really struck me watching Geoff at work was how aligned he was with Permaculture ideas even though they weren’t at all widespread when he made the series in 1990. Making use of every available scrap of space by going into the third dimension is one of the key principles of permaculture and its really nice to get some practical tips about how to do it, bearing in mind how much space squashes and courgettes take up if you let them trail.
This is the English artisan’s answer to the concept of a potager. Although Geoff can do formal knot gardens too as he set out a formal herb garden in episode four.
Part of the reason I think he’s such a great role model is that he has a complete, integrated vision of what he’s trying to produce. Then he goes about realising it in a workmanlike way marrying craft with vision in a way that’s very English. You can see George Stephenson constructing railway engines in the same kind of way.
For those of you too young to remember, Geoff Hamilton used to front BBC’s Gardener’s World before Alan Titchmarsh. He was always very strong on organic growing techniques and had a really practical nuts and bolts approach to doing the job right. As a Christmas Present for her majesty I invested in the BBC’s Geoff… Read More »