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Hundreds of new growers celebrate

Hundreds of new growers celebrate

Garden Organic invited families mentored by Master Gardeners to five special celebration events this spring to start the growing season.

Nearly 500 registered ‘households’ came to meet each other and Master Gardeners over lunch and tea at local events in north and south London, Warwickshire, Norfolk and Lincolnshire.

These busy socials followed feedback from households and our volunteers for occasions to share their food growing enthusiasm with the wider network.

We’re now planning more ways for supported food growers. There are over 3,300 people who are regularly mentored to grow food by a Master Gardener at home and in shared spaces.

What happened? Please click through to local stories:

24 March 2012: Warwickshire Household celebration!

6 May 2012: Norfolk households celebrate their growing success

10 March 2012: North Londoners celebrate all things edible

11 March 2012: South Londoners gather on mass to share enthusiasm and tips

1st April 2012: Celebrations in Lincolnshire are no joke!

Something to smile about! Click here to visit our Flickr photo collection

Get involved with the Master Gardeners Programme

Find out more about the UK’s leading organic growing charity, Garden Organic

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Have your say – 2013 Organic Gardening Catalogue

Have your say – 2013 Organic Gardening Catalogue

Please tell us your views  and favourite seeds/products for the 2013 The Organic Gardening Catalogue.

Planning is underway for the next edition of this popular catalogue and Garden Organic are delighted to invite Master Gardeners, mentored households and communities to have their say to help fellow growers next year.

We love to have feedback from gardeners who have used seeds and products from the catalogue. Is there a variety you have grown, or product you have used, that has been particularly successful (or not?).

Are there things that you think we should include in the 2013 catalogue?

Click image to visit website

Please send your feedback to Pauline Pears:

Post: Garden Organic, Ryton Gardens Coventry, CV8 3LG

Email: pmpears@gardenorganic.org.uk, with 2012 catalogue in the subject line.

If you can supply an appropriate photo that would be even better.

It’s a bit early in the season for feedback on this year’s growing; comments later in the year are also welcome.

Further thoughts

The Organic Gardening Catalogue is the official catalogue of Garden Organic and a joint venture with Chase Organics in Hersham, Surrey, UK who have been suppliers to organic gardeners for over 80 years.

Fans of Grow Your Own magazine, which has a readership of around 143,000, have voted the Organic Gardening Catalogue as ‘The Best Mail Order Gardening Company’.

You don’t have to be a Garden Organic member to order from the Organic Gardening Catalogue, however, Garden Organic members receive a 10% discount on all goods. Click here for membership details.

Each purchase from the catalogue supports the charitable work of Garden Organic, so remember every order counts.

Click here for further details

Click here to visit the Organic Gardening Catalogue

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London 2012 launch Local Leaders with Master Gardeners

London 2012 launch Local Leaders with Master Gardeners

Garden Organic’s Ryton Gardens hosted London 2012’s ‘Local Leader’ West Midlands launch on the 3rd April 2012 with our 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…

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

Local Master Gardeners!

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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May: grow your own tips

May: grow your own tips

Crops are confused this month. We’ve had a mild winter, sunny March, and wet April so far.

But May is the time for catching up with sowing seeds and planting out your favourite fruit and veg.

Remember there’s still time to prepare quick growing harvest for your ‘Big Jubilee Lunch’ on the 3rd June 2012.

Also crops for shared salads and BBQs for London 2012 celebrations… Please click here to read how Master Gardeners are getting involved with the Games.

Seeds to sow in May

Sow these cold-hardy crops direct into your soil – or for more comfort if a little cold and wet, sow seeds in pots and trays instead. Tuck these away indoors or in a sheltered sunny corner to transplant later.

The following links open PDF growing instructions by Garden Organic:

Annual Spinach, Beetroot, Sprouting Broccoli, Pea, Radish, Rocket, Salad Onion, Pot MarigoldParsnip, LettuceCarrotCelery, Cauliflower, Kale, Kohl Rabi, (deep breath), Leaf Beet, Turnip, Swede, Spring and Summer Salad, and others…

You can also transplant energetic plants started off in March and April, moving them to their final growing space outdoors. This works well with Brussels Sprouts, Leek, Cauliflower, Calabrese, Summer Cabbage, and Sprouting Broccoli. Don’t worry if you haven’t sown these crops yet! There’s still time to sow and get large plants for transplanting in June or early July instead.

Nearly frost free…

There’s a collective horticultural rush during May. The South of England should be frost-free by the end of the month and soon after for the North and exposed sites.

So, now is the time to sow your cold-tender crops that like to be kept warm, such as Pumpkin and Squashes, Sweetcorn, Courgette and Marrow, French Bean, and Runner Bean. Start off these plants indoors on a clean, warm windowsill or in a greenhouse or polytunnel. Then plant outside after the last frost.

You can also move crops started off earlier in the year destined for a summer inside a greenhouse or polytunnel, moving your lovely Aubergine, Cucumber, Okra, Pepper, and Tomato. Although if growing these sensitive crops outdoors during summer, wait until after the last frost before transplanting.

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 May

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

Article by Philip Turvil

Posted in Edible flower, Featured, Fruit, Growing tips, Vegetables0 Comments

Become a Local Leader with London 2012

Become a Local Leader with London 2012

Garden Organic is inviting our networks of volunteer Master Gardeners and Master Composters to become ‘Local Leaders’ for the Games.

As the UK’s leading organic growing charity, we use innovation and inspiration to get more people growing in the most sustainable way.

We’re engaging 1,000 of our local champions to celebrate the Games with their community. Some of our volunteers mentor a street’s worth of neighbours, while others transform landscapes in schools, shared gardens and housing estates.

Master Gardener project manager, Philip Turvil, has signed up as a Local Leader: “I’m excited by communities growing and sharing their tasty veg to celebrate the Games. From snug windowsills to shared gardens and allotments, there’s a space for London 2012 coloured veg to harvest for family events and communal feasts.”

Get involved today

  1. Click here to tell us your idea for tempting your community
  2. Sign up here to become a ‘Local Leader’ with Garden for the Games
    Free email registration with top-tips and updates from http://www.london2012.com/localleaders
  3. Get in touch to share your photo stories from households and shared food growing.

Read Local Leader case studies

Tips for Local Leaders on how they might ‘Garden for the Games’

Grow edible golden marigolds
Perfect for when the Olympic Torch Relay comes to your street or town.
Add yellow chard, golden lettuce, or tasty pot marigolds (links open PDFs)

Grow a champions’ feast for a London 2012 party
Swap seeds and plants with friends, family and communities to grow and share varieties with just the right colours…

Grow flowers!
Plant in team colours to support your athletes or teams training in your area. Plant your own Olympic Rings or Paralympic Agitos in your garden

Grow a colourful wildflower meadow
Small strip in your garden or a large patch in a community area – which doubles as a haven for bees and other wildlife, like the golden meadows around the Olympic Stadium

Share moments
Support a communal event or invite your mentored households for a cup of tea, salad, or BBQ!
How about a carrot-relay or ‘onion and spoon race’…
18 May – 27 July: line the streets as the flame is coming to a town near you.
27 July: show-time with the opening ceremony
4 August: record breaking weekend with ‘Super Saturday’
9 September: celebrate the summer with the last day of the games.

The Master Gardener and Master Composter programmes are grant funded managed by Garden Organic. Participation for all involved is free. Please click here to contact Philip Turvil with questions.

The ‘Local Leaders’ programme invites people across the UK to create their own Games celebrations. Please visit  http://www.london2012.com/localleaders for details and the Local Leader charter.
Local Leaders imagery on this webpage courtesy of London 2012. All rights reserved.

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Celebration as programme extended by six months

Celebration as programme extended by six months

Another 80 volunteers will support hundreds more people in the UK to grow their own food thanks to a six month extension of the Master Gardener programme.

This is thanks to the ongoing support from the Big Lottery Fund’s Local Food scheme, together with Sheepdrove Trust and our local authority partners. The current programme will now run from September 2009 to February 2013.

The programme team at Garden Organic, the UK’s leading organic growing charity, are delighted to announce the following plans to make the most of this special opportunity.

What this extension means: please click links for details

Find out what’s happening near you:

Plus Lincolnshire training, funding by the NHS supported ‘Health and Wellbeing Fund’.

Visit Garden Organic’s Master Composter networks near you

Find out more about Garden Organic

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Master Gardeners help 30,000 people grow food

Master Gardeners help 30,000 people grow food

Garden Organic’s Master Gardeners have excelled themselves in helping communities grow their own food.

Our autumn/winter reports reports have revealed the latest achievements of the volunteer networks in Warwickshire, Norfolk and London.

Thanks to our partners: local authorities, Sheepdrove Trust, and Big Lottery fund’s Local Food scheme.

Thanks to our team: Kate, Kate, Fiona, and Gabbie. Together with all the keen folk at Garden Organic.

Just the facts – May 2010 to Nov 2011

  • 9,051 recorded volunteer hours helping people grow fruit and veg.
  • 85% (263) of trained Master Gardeners out and about in their community. Thank you.
  • Nearly 250 more households this quarter, totalling 1,134 mentored. Includes 2,532 residents growing food; 816 under 16.
  • Another 5,650 conversations, totalling 27,395 people helped.
  • 69 new community groups/events supported, totalling 355.

Behind the numbers: case studies

We’re training another 80 Master Gardeners in spring 2012.
Please click here to get involved…

We trained 85 new volunteers during in autumn 2011.
Please click here to find out how…

NEWS! Lincolnshire network makes an impact

Our Lincolnshire programme has grown hugely since beginning in March 2011 thanks to co-ordinator Rick Aron and – now six local authority partners with the Health and Wellbeing Fund/NHS.

  • 51 lovely volunteers reporting an amazing 400 hours.
  • 41 households with over 100 residents focused on new community gardens.
  • Over 1,500 food growing conversations

The future

We’ve put together new proposals for creating local, tailored Master Gardener networks for new funding and operational partners. We’re trialling these at the moment…

Click here to read more about future areas.

With many thanks,

Philip Turvil

Project Manager,
Master Gardener Programme, Garden Organic

Posted in Case studies, Featured, News0 Comments

Pruning master classes

Pruning master classes

We swapped seeds for secateurs this autumn with fruit pruning workshops in every programme area. Diverse training from October to December…

Volunteers had practical demonstrations in how to prune fruit bushes, trees and canes. Then had a go with secateurs and loppers at ‘donated’ orchards in Warwickshire, London, Norfolk and Lincolnshire.

As always, our training was designed for Master Gardeners to swap tips together – as an enthusiastic network, and get ideas to inspire and help their community grow their own food.

Huge thanks to all our trainers and venues. Thoroughly appreciated.

More in-service training days are coming up in 2012. See the latest dates here

Please click through to local stories to find out more…

London – Master Gardener fruit tree pruning

Warwickshire – Fruit delights for Master Gardeners

Lincolnshire – A visit to Woodlands Organic Farm

Norfolk – Workshop on Apple Pests & Diseases

Click here to open Garden Organic’s free  fruit growing literature.

Posted in Case studies, Featured0 Comments

‘Gardening goes viral’ – Kitchen Garden article

‘Gardening goes viral’ – Kitchen Garden article


We’re delighted to feature in the December edition of Kitchen Garden magazine.

The three-page article captures the enthusiasm of Garden Organic’s Master Gardeners helping people grow food in London and county networks.

Journalist and grower Helen Babbs showcased her day with volunteers at a Master Gardener training day earlier in the year – which included fig rolls…

Please click here to read Kitchen Garden’s article (link opens Helen’s website)

Special thanks to Kitchen Garden’s editor, Steve Ott and his team for the trouble taken putting together this lovely feature. Please click here for more content from their December edition…

Click here to visit Kitchen Garden’s website – leading magazine for GYO advice

Click here for more news from Master Gardeners..

Posted in Case studies, Featured0 Comments

Thank you: 22,000 conversations, 900 mentored

Thank you: 22,000 conversations, 900 mentored

Latest reports reveal achievements of 192 wonderful volunteers as we conclude our  second year.

We’re delighted and grateful for how well Master Gardeners networks have come together to help people grow their own food in Warwickshire, Norfolk and London.

Ongoing thanks to our partners: local authorities, Sheepdrove Trust, and Big Lottery fund’s Local Food  scheme.

Ongoing thanks to our dedicated and cheery team: Kate, Kate, Fiona, and Gabbie. Together with all the keen folk at Garden Organic (…and Sarah with her new baby-Master-Gardener, Eliza).

Just the facts – May 2010 to August 2011

  • 7,219 recorded volunteer hours helping people grow fruit and veg
  • 85% of trained Master Gardeners out and about in their community. Delighted.
  • 899 households mentored to grow food since May 2010. Includes 2061 residents; 700 under 16. Splendid.
  • 21,745 community conversations since May 2010. This is 10% above our three-year target.
  • 286 local events and community groups supported by Master Gardeners. Lovely lovely.
  • 40,000 hits on five Master Gardeners websites.

Case studies

Celebrating veg!

More Master Gardeners just trained….

We’ve just trained 85 new volunteers during four weekends in September and October 2011, so there are now 277 Master Gardeners as part of our Local Food programme.

Please click here to read the local stories.


Where next?

Our Lincolnshire programme has grown hugely since beginning in March 2011 thanks to co-ordinator Rick Aron and local authority partners with the NHS. There are now 53 county Master Gardeners supporting households and exciting new community gardens.

Please click here to read case studies.


The future

We’ve put together new proposals for creating local, tailored Master Gardener networks for new funding and operational partners. We’re trialling these at the moment…

Click here to read more about future areas.

With many thanks,

Philip Turvil

Project Manager,
Master Gardener Programme

Master Gardener Carol with the pupils of Belfry School, displaying their veg art.

Master Gardeners graduate, with Hidcote Head Gardener, Glyn Jones and Sarah Mallison.

Posted in Featured, News0 Comments

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We’re creating a model to establish custom networks of volunteer Master Gardeners in more UK areas. More information available here.

Photos on flickr