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Find us on Facebook

Find us on Facebook

Garden Organic has launched exciting Facebook pages for every Master Gardener network.

Please visit your nearest page and ‘like’ us today for the latest growing tips and local events. There are case studies, news articles, and links with other growing groups.

We love keeping in touch with our enthusiastic volunteers and the householders they mentor to grow food, as well as workplaces, schools, event organisers, partners, and community groups. See you there! Many thanks.

County networks

Warwickshire Master Gardeners or visit website
Norfolk Master Gardeners or visit website
Lincolnshire Master Gardeners or visit website

London networks

North London Master Gardeners or visit website
South London Master Gardeners or visit website

There’s more!

Garden Organic Facebook or visit website
Photo collection by Garden Organic
Click here to visit Flickr to see wonderful images of new food growers with their volunteer mentors


Master Gardeners Forum
Join the discussion – new forum launching September 2012.
Look out for web links coming soon.

We welcome your ideas

Please click here to get in touch with Garden Organic’s Master Gardener team

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Have your say this September

Have your say this September

Garden Organic has sent out exciting questionnaires this week to the Warwickshire Master Gardeners and the lovely people they mentor to grow their own food.

We’re working with Coventry University to monitor and evaluate the health, social and environmental impacts of the programme.

It’s very exciting with intriguing questions – and already intriguing findings from our autumn 2011 and spring 12 research. We’re announcing the findings in  few weeks…

Look out for your questionnaire in the post if:

  • you’re a householder registered by your Master Gardener between May 2011 and October 2011
  • a Master Gardener trained in autumn 2011.

We’re planning interviews and discussion groups during September and October 2012.

Alona and Susan planting apple trees in Mayow Park

Find out more -
Research overview and the pilot findings with Coventry University.

Get involved -
Register for your 12 months free growing advice or become a Master Gardener

Read latest news and case studies

Who’s who?

Master Gardeners Volunteers recruited, trained, and supported by Garden Organicto mentor registered ‘householders’ – individuals, couples and families wanting to start growing food or grow more at home and on communal land.
Garden OrganicWe’re the UK’s leading organic growing charity, dedicated to promoting organic gardening in homes, communities and schools.
Coventry UniversityResearchers in the health, environmental and social impact of local food systems at the Applied Research Centre in Sustainable Regeneration (SURGE) and the Centre for Agroecology and Food Security (CAFS).


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Brunswick Healthy living centre – allotmenteers visit Ryton! Part One

Brunswick Healthy living centre – allotmenteers visit Ryton! Part One

What a lovely day for a garden visit! Master Gardener Sue Wensley bought some of the people she mentors along to Ryton for a visit on a very sunny July day.  Sue supports a weekly allotment group growing their own through the Brunswick Healthy living Centre in Leamington. They have an accessible allotment at Whitnash allotments, with raised beds, and now a shed too!

Darren, one of the allotment group members, not only helps on the allotment, digging, weeding and planting veg, but also helps out in the centre’s cafe, which make good use of the resulting produce! The harvest is sold at low cost to local people who use the centre,  a fantastic advertisment for the great taste of home grown spuds!!

The group meet every wednesday and have carried on throughout the rain this year,  and their harvests have already included broad beans, peas and potatoes!

The Whitnash allotment site at Dobson lane is also now the proud owner of a brand new compost toilet with full disabled access.

The visit to Ryton was really useful to get more ideas for the allotment, see a variety of crops being grown in different ways and to inpsire a home-made wormery!

Read part two

Darren investigates the display compost bins at Ryton

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Rugby Festival of Culture 12th July Food Fayre

Rugby Festival of Culture 12th July Food Fayre

Rugby has had a Festival of Culture before but this was the very first Food Fayre. This included some of the regular stall holders from the monthly Farmers Market with some other local restaurants. It consisted of about 15 stalls which included John & Sandy Young manning a Master Gardening stall from 10 am to 4 pm.

There were cooking demonstrations throughout the day with a slot for master gardeners with Philip Turvil giving a great presentation on Growing Your Own Vegetables.

The day was a great day with us talking to over 50 people about vegetable growing and we signed on 2 new householders. There was a strong flow of visitors throughout the day only slightly tailing off after 2:30.

The day just flew past and we did not realise where 6 hours had gone. Great when you are having fun with lots of people to talk to. We also had the opportunity to promote Garden Organic at Ryton as a place to visit. If it’s on again in 2013 it is a must for our diary.

John & Sandy Young

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Garden Organic thanks volunteers at National Masters Conference

Garden Organic thanks volunteers at National Masters Conference

Garden Organic welcomed over 160 enthusiastic volunteers to the National Masters Conference at Ryton Gardens on the 30 June 2012.

Master Gardeners, Master Composters, and other wonderful champions came from across the UK to celebrate the ways they help people grow their own food and get composting.

Garden Organic’s Chief Executive Myles Bremner thanked every volunteer for their energetic and innovative outreach supporting people in their community.

We’re already thinking about next year’s conference on the 21st September 2013! Please click here to get in touch with your ideas. In the meantime, this is what delegates said:

Very good choice of workshops. Too many good ones to pick!

Very efficient organisation. Lovely happy atmosphere.

Impressive control of weather!

Boosted my self-esteem in the role. Really inspirational

Thank you for the most brilliant and supportive day of education, resources and camaraderie.

Our huge thank to everyone involved in putting together this busy day – all the speakers, sponsors, technicians, workshop guides, organisers, and of course – volunteers from Garden Organic programmes and beyond.

Polly has her new book signed by BBC Blue Peter Gardener, Chris Collins

Preserving tips - every volunteer with a jar of long-lasting courgettes...

Garden Organic's Chief Executive Myles Bremner thanks the volunteers


Sun during outdoor fruit pruning workshop

Rain during our tea break!

Our official conference cakes! Olympic themed

Volunteers celebrate their graduation.

Please click here to see more conference photos (links to our Flickr set)

Story by Philip Turvil

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Keep your plate full with succession sowing

Keep your plate full with succession sowing

Some vegetables are too eager. They race for maturity, but deteriorate if not picked, leaving you to eat a season’s quota of your favourite crop in one go.

Just too many radish.

The trick is staggering harvest times by sowing seeds little and often in ‘succession’.

You can keep your plate evenly full by growing young plants to replace those that have just vanished into the kitchen.

Crops suited to succession sowing:

Busy sowing

Impatient crops that have an ideal maturity and don’t store well. These chaps will sulk if not harvested, usually producing seeds or losing tenderness, so are best sown regularly.

For example (links open Garden Organic PDFs): Annual Spinach, Broad Bean, Leaf Beet, Calabrese, Carrot, Cabbage, Kohl Rabi, Lettuce, Pea, Radish, Rocket, Salad Onion, Turnip, Swede, Summer Salads, and Seed Sprouts.

Crops less is need of succession sowing:

Generous crops that can’t resist yielding for long periods, such as tomatoes and runner beans. These crops are best sown once. Likewise crops that like to culminate their season at about the same time every year, such as pumpkins and squashes.

Weather can ruin the best laid horticultural plans

A hot or cold spell can excite or depress crops sown at different times, letting them catch up with one another. So, a couple of useful tips to help buffer the effects of surprise weather:

  • Rather than follow a rigid sowing schedule – with new carrots every third Sunday, wait for the earlier sowing to grow merrily before sowing again.
  • Pick crops early, munching young plants as ‘thinnings’, leaving alternate plants to grow larger.
  • Speed up slower specimens by covering with a cloche or horticultural fleece for a couple of weeks. This will get them growing!

Going further

Succession sowing can continue for several months depending on the crop and, more and more, clever new varieties. Have a look at the Organic Gardening Catalogue.

Don’t feel obliged to grow young plants next to old so they compete in rows, or entertain large bare spaces with the promise of late season sowings… So long as there are crops of different age around your growing space, then local tableware will be pleased.

Just after the thrill of eating own-grown produce, is experimenting with different veg at different harvest times. I find succession sowing, with the many caveats, one of most exciting of all horticultural delights.

Did you know that Garden Organic publishes a wondrous array of growing tips?

Click here to discover unusual crops (opens ‘Sowing New Seed’ project website)

Step by step growing activities…

Become a Garden Organic member…

What to do in the garden in June and July

Lively growing blogs by volunteer Master Gardeners:
Warwickshire, North London, South London, Norfolk, and Lincolnshire

Article by Philip Turvil

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Warwickshire welcomes 18 new Master Gardeners

Warwickshire welcomes 18 new Master Gardeners

We’re delighted to introduce new volunteers to Garden Organic’s lively network of Warwickshire Master Gardeners after training at the end of April 2012.

The two-day event was jam-packed with learning about the volunteer role,  sprucing up knowledge about the principles of organic horticulture, and getting to know each other.

The Master Gardeners are ready and eager to help people grow their own food – individuals, couples, families, workplaces, schools, community gardens, allotments, and bus station queues! Everyone has different ambitions…

Click here to find your nearest Master Gardener

Other ways to get involved…

Experienced Master Gardener Keith shares his top tips with new volunteers

Tools of the trade!

Getting to know each other

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Warwickshire Master Gardeners support London 2012 launch

Warwickshire Master Gardeners support London 2012 launch

Garden Organic’s Ryton Gardens hosted London 2012’s ‘Local Leader’ West Midlands launch on the 3rd April 2012 with our Warwickshire Master Gardeners and Master Composters.

Our volunteers joined fellow community champions who have signed up free as Local Leaders to help people and communities create their own Game celebrations.

Top of the list is ‘Garden for the Games’! People are getting together to grow gold flowers to welcome the Olympic torch, or harvest London 2012 coloured veg for shared salads and BBQs during the opening and closing ceremonies.

More details…

London 2012 Mascot!

Cardinal Wiseman Catholic School and President Kennedy School joined the launch to plant red, white and blue flowering plants for a patriotic windowbox display. Keen students also shared their ideas for planting displays inspired by the Olympic Ring or Paralympic logos.

Already 8,500 people have signed up as Local Leaders around the UK to help celebrate the Games locally.

Huge thanks to London 2012, the Ryton Garden’s team, and all the wonderfully enthusiastic volunteers that led the West Midlands launch of this exciting campaign.

Special thanks also to Smith’s Nurseries where Mick Smith kindly donated bedding plants for our windowbox displays.

Read more…

Local Master Gardeners!

President Kennedy School celebrate!

Community volunteers gather to plant London 2012 themed plants

Red, white and blue flowers donated by Smith's Nurseries

BBC Midlands Today film for their evening broadcast…

Smile! West Midlands London 2012 chair David Moorcroft, pupils from Cardinal Wiseman Catholic School and President Kennedy School, and Philip Turvil

BBC Coventry and Warwickshire radio's, Keith Wedgbury interviews Local Leader and Master Gardener project manager, Philip Turvil

Extract from growing advice available from London 2012's Local Leader website

See more photos…

Local press coverage

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Household celebration!

Household celebration!

Last Saturday saw an exciting get together of Master Gardeners and some of the households that they support. It was a glorious day for relaxing in the gardens here at Ryton!

Families from across the county came to enjoy a delicious lunch, supplied by Change Kitchen. There were sowing and potting activities in the Get Set Grow tent  and an appearance from the Green Man!

The Master Gardener lunch was followed by a quick hello from the Master Gardener team, and an inspiring food growing talk from organic expert Pauline Pears. The audience also provided some interesting questions for the panel, including subjects such as shady gardens and container growing.

It was great to celebrate the programme with all the participants who are so enthusiastic about growing fruit and veg.  Here’s to a successful growing season in 2012!

Sowing seeds at Get Set Grow

Green Man

The Green Man at Get Set Grow

Rosie with the households she supports

Doreen with her freshly potted plants!

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Volunteers excel at national Edible Garden Show

Volunteers excel at national Edible Garden Show

Garden Organic’s Master Gardeners hosted three exciting days of food growing advice at the national ‘Edible Garden Show’.

Over 13,000 visitors came to Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire at the UK’s only national event for grow your own fruit and vegetables and home produce.

Warwickshire co-ordinator Kate Newman said: “It was really lively event! The Master Gardeners spoke to hundreds of visitors, helping them pot up lettuce and rocket plug plants in peat-free organic compost. With a mix of experienced and new growers, the Garden Organic stand was busy with growing questions and discussions.”

Kate continued: “The daily sessions held in ‘The Potting Shed’ were enjoyed by all, and people had a good go making a paper pot and sowing seeds. Master Gardeners, as always, had a great enthusiasm to talk about growing veg and a big thank you to them for being involved.”

Master Gardener Karen Webb said: “We had a wonderful time! Massive thanks to the team for setting up a space to be proud of. I spoke to so many people I lost count!”

There were 24 lovely Master Gardeners as well as 12 delightful Master Composters. Even London and Lincolnshire Master Gardeners popped by to say hello, including husband and wife team Ian and Julie Cheverall and the charming Jim Barnes.

Diane and Milo potting with MG Rosemary

Find your nearest Master Gardener

Fancy becoming a Master Gardener?

Join the UK’s leading organic growing charity, Garden Organic

Visit the Edible Garden Show’s website

Read Philip Turvil’s show blog

Special thanks to Garden Organic’s Mark W, Mark H, Charlotte, David, Gaynor, Andy, Bob, Pauline, and many other fine folk from Ryton.

Master Gardeners Andy, Tom, Carla and Christine with keen growers at the Garden Organic stall

Grow Your Own, anyone? Shot from inside the first of two huge halls

Warwickshire Master Gardener co-ordinator Kate Newman in full flow! She's looking for more Master Gardeners...

Master Composter co-ordinator David (right) chatting compost, of course, as well as Garden Organic membership

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