The more I know about gardening, the more I want to know. Gardening courses are a wonderful way to increase your knowledge and as the growing season starts, there’s a plethora to book onto. Locally to me in North London, King Henry’s Walk Garden has a whole series of great courses and talks running throughout the year.
Last night I went to hear Mark Ridsdill-Smith, of Vertical Veg, talk about growing food in small spaces. All were wowed by the image above and Mark was very generous in sharing his extensive knowledge with all who came to the event. More photos inspired us all to experiment with growing some unusual veg such as Wasabi (as in the beans) for their tasty leaves and flowers, and herbs such as Vietnamese Coriander, Lovage and Sorrel which you’d be hard pressed to buy in the shops.
Mark discussed why you don’t see every balcony and windowsill in urban areas overflowing with tasty produce, and what barriers might stop others from also ‘growing their own’. Probably a combination of not enough time, not being aware what can be grown in such small areas, knowledge of where to start when growing food and also the cost of buying pots, soil and seeds. A really interesting debate and he concluded that beginning with small quick projects might be a good way to encourage others to have a go.
If you sign up to Mark’s Vertical Veg blog, he’ll send you free monthly newsletter full of growing tips and also a his ‘Art of growing food leaflet’ which lists ten very useful steps to enable you to grow your own. If you fancy something more hands-on, Mark will be back at King Henry’s Walk on 21-22 April, for a full on weekend course on ‘everything you need to know about designing and maintaining a highly productive vegetable garden in containers on your balcony, patio and window sills.’ For a very reasonable £95.00, and cuttings to take away to start you off, this should be a very informative and enjoyable weekend.
Staying in London, The Garden Museum in Lambeth, now lists a whole heap of events, talks, exhibitions and workshops, and I’m very excited to have booked to hear Joy Larkcom, queen of veg growing, talk on June 13th.
And another more hands-on course in London is the Seed2seed monthly foundation course in urban food growing at Food from the Sky on the rooftop of Budgens in Crouch End. Starting next week with a free taster course on March 17th 2012, 2-4pm, the course continues on the third Saturday of each month from 10-3pm and takes you right the way through the growing season up until November, with a comprehensive study programme aimed at beginners and those with some gardening knowledge too.
A little further afield, The Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival, running from 24th March-1st April, has six, one hour talks from garden writers talking about their new books (and many other talks from non-gardening authors too!). Above is Laetitia Maklouf who will be talking about ’Sweetpeas for Summer: How to create a Garden in A Year’ on March 28th and other talks include: Sararh Raven on wildflowers, Sunday 25th March (which sadly I’ll have to miss due to eating cake at our next ‘Cake Sunday’), Toby Musgrove on heritage fruit and Veg, Jennifer Potter on the History of Roses, Val Bourne on colour in the garden and Andy Hamilton on making wine and beer from fruit veg and foraged plants. All talks last for an hour and cost £10. Certainly worth finding out which talks and courses could inspire and enlighten you throughout 2012.