If you’d like to grow organic fruit and vegetables but need a little help to get you started, here are ten of the best organic and permaculture gardening blogs to bookmark. These experienced growers regularly share their knowhow, expertly easing you through the transition to chemical-free gardening. Read on for a wealth of top tips to help you change the way you grow.
No Dig Home
If slugs are munching holes in your vegetables, your mulch could be to blame, says Stephanie Hafferty of No Dig Home. She says mulching your veg beds with wood chips, hay, straw, or grass clippings creates a “cosy home” for slimy pests. An organic no dig practitioner for over 14 years, and a gardener for over 30 years, she mostly mulches with compost: “Here in our damp, temperate climate compost works well because it does not provide a habitat for slugs, snails and woodlice.”
No dig is low maintenance, productive, and is better for the soil than digging methods, says Stephanie. It’s also climate friendly, locking carbon in the soil. A great option for people with little time to spare, find answers to all your questions about no-dig over at her blog, along with books, recipes, videos and more.
Steve’s Seaside Life
Field beans, says Steve Richards at Steve’s Seaside Life, are the perfect winter crop. You can harvest the green tops to eat from December right through to May. Then, simply cut the plants down, leaving the roots to rot in the soil so that the nitrogen they contain will create perfect growing conditions for your brassicas.
“We grow almost all (99%) of the veg that we eat,” says Steve. Cultivating an allotment and a productive garden, this former engineer has documented his journey to self-sufficiency so that you can follow in his wake. If you’re keen to get started growing your own tasty organic produce, start with Steve’s all year round vegetable sowing and planting guide.
Adam Yn Yr Ardd
“All you need is a trough or pot of peat-free compost, a packet of seeds and 3 weeks waiting time,” says Welsh gardener Adam Jones over at Adam Yn Yr Ardd. Speaking about growing fresh spinach leaves in containers, he shows that even if your growing space is limited to a yard, balcony, or windowsill, there are still organic crops you can plant for the table.
Inspired by his grandad’s love of gardening, Adam has been growing his own vegetables and flowers since the age of three. Now he shares his knowledge via his blog, school gardening workshops, presenting on Welsh TV and radio and holding gardening training sessions and consultancy. Interested to find out more about taking hard and softwood cuttings? Check out Adam’s video for full details in Welsh with English subtitles.
Looking for a natural way to deter pests from munching your crops year after year? Take a leaf out of Karen’s book and make a crop rotation plan. In her helpful Insta post, this @welliesandwaffles gardener explains that rotating crops “helps reduce pests, as their favourite crop they have gravitated towards will not be there”.
With over a decade of experience, Karen’s Instagram page and YouTube channel are full of organic growing tips from her Lancashire-based kitchen garden. Want to save money? Try her method of re-growing your food waste from scraps, rather than composting them. Have a go with lettuce, cabbages, spring onions and more!
“Of all the types of compost, homemade is the most variable and interesting,” says no dig expert Charles Dowding. This, he explains, is because it varies in content through the seasons, potentially providing a wider range of nutrients than composts made from a single source material. If you’d like to make your own compost, we highly recommend that you take a look at this page of Charles’s website: Compost – Using and Making.
Renowned no-dig organic gardener, Charles provides a resource for gardeners that’s second to none. There are so many reasons to give this method a try, he explains. “No dig saves space so it can work in any size garden. Whether you’re an experienced gardener or new to growing, I can guide you through every step of the way.” See his FAQ page for more information.
The Enduring Gardener
Including sage, tarragon, coriander, mint, rosemary and thyme, a visit to The Enduring Gardener is incomplete without checking out how to enjoy your own homegrown herbs every day of the year. A fantastic resource for anyone interested in growing herbs for culinary and/or medicinal uses, you’ll find all your favourites here, plus lots of options for sun and shade.
The Enduring Gardener features the gardening blogs of Stephanie Donaldson and Daniel Carruthers. For sixteen years, Stephanie was the gardens editor of Country Living magazine, and in addition to writing lots of gardening books, she’s a very hands-on gardener. Have you always wanted to grow asparagus at home? Daniel guides you through the process.
The Climate Change Garden
Brassicas normally follow legumes in the planting cycle, says Kim at The Climate Change Garden. But why wait for the beans to finish before putting your kale in? By planting your greens next to your beans, the slower growing brassicas will get a kick start from the supply of nitrogen which legumes fix in the soil. For more excellent companion and sacrificial planting ideas, make sure you take a moment to peruse this excellent blog.
Sally Morgan, editor at Organic Farming Magazine, and Kim Stoddart, who has written about climate change gardening for The Guardian, started their blog because they “realised there was a pressing need for a definitive ‘how to garden’ guide around the increasingly challenging growing conditions as a result of climate change.” For the low-down on coping with drought conditions and gardening through a hosepipe ban, this is your go-to source.
Over at @sally.nex, organic gardener Sally tries to avoid ordering anything in builders’ dumpy bags because they’re unrecyclable. But if you do end up with a stash of them, she says they make great leaf mould bins. “Fill to the top with leaves, pack well down, make sure they’re damp then tie up the top and leave somewhere out of the way for a year (mulch-quality leafmould) or two (for leaf mould you can use in homemade potting compost).”
An award-winning writer, gardener, and mentor, Sally grows sustainable organic food in Somerset. This Instagram account is a treasure-trove of lovely images along with plenty of useful information. Did you know, for example, that daylilies are edible? Sally says: “pick the buds while still closed for a crisp tasty lettuce-like salad ingredient.”
Fancy a challenge? Jackie at Reclaiming Paradise is celebrating her 60th birthday by attempting to grow 60 different vegetables, fruits, herbs, or edible weeds and flowers. Could you do it? So far, having grown everything from winter lettuce to autumn-fruiting raspberries, she’s on target to reach her goal. Here’s someone who knows how to garden!
In fact, Jackie has been gardening for over 25 years, and posts on all sorts of related topics. An excellent source of information and advice, make sure you also take a look at her recipes including delights like rhubarb cake, and courgette pickle. Afterall, what’s the point of growing all that lovely organic food if you don’t make the most of it?
My Home Farm
If you’re looking for ideas of what to grow, head over to My Home Farm where Mars and Kirsten share the wide variety of seeds they’ve been sowing this year. From Kale ‘Nero di Toscana’ (which Mars loves to add to curries) to squash, pumpkins and peas, they’re growing popular favourites along with some more unusual crops. It’s been a challenging growing season so far, Mars says, but there’s plenty of good produce coming through.
My Home Farm documents Mars and Kirsten’s journey from stressed-out city execs to rural homesteaders trying to be as self-sufficient and eco-friendly as possible. There’s something for everyone here, even if you’re gardening in minimal space. Check out their guide to making a pond bowl for wildlife, for example – a simple way to create a natural haven for aquatic creatures no matter how small your garden.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our pick of ten of the top organic gardening blogs from across the web. Have we missed one of your favourites? Please drop us a line to let us know.