Our How To Grow course is open!!

Our online course is now open for sign ups once again. The course will begin on June 1st

This course will be six weeks, with an expectation of 3-4 hours of work per week, which will include a webinar, an online Q&A session along with written materials and resources to give a basic, but thorough, understanding of the building blocks of any garden, from large through to a tiny balcony or even windowsill growing. The cost of the course will again be £75.00 . However, we do have an opportunity to fund 2 places for people from the BAME community which we are very pleased to announce. If you are interested in this offer send an email to info@ediblebristol.org.uk and we will get back to you. These places will be on a first come, first served basis, and there will be more opportunities for communities less seen in horticulture to access both online and in real life courses coming up very soon.

We will begin with the importance of building a healthy soil, and go through seasonal seed sowing, propagation, composting, peat and disease, seasonal growing and how as gardeners and growers we can help to regenerate the planet through our growing techniques. We will focus on organic and ecologically sound techniques and the importance of working with nature, rather than against. this course will look at the building blocks we need to grow a garden so is entirely appropriate for both foo and flower growers, and although we will focus on veg there will be ornamental examples in each section.

How To Grow will be taught by Sara Venn, our founder who has many years experience including a degree in horticulture and many years experience of growing with ornamentals and food.

This course will run throughout the year with a small break of a week or two between so this isn’t your only chance to take part.

How to sign up is in the document below. Please fill in the form and return it to info@ediblebristol.org.uk

The Plastic Conundrum

There has been a lot of talk about plastics in the garden media and we thought it might be a good idea to try to unpack the issue a bit, with a slant on Bristol and how you might be able to review your plastic use in your garden, on your plot or in your community space.

The first thing we would like to say to everyone is that gardening is not a reason to consume and as a hobby, whether you’re growing food or ornamentals the list of things that are really necessary is quite short. A good hand trowel, a fork, a pair of secateurs and a watering can are probably all you really need, although there are obviously things that as you do more will make your life easier like loppers and hoes. But there certainly isn’t any need for what we like to call at Edible HQ, plastic tat. Plastic gnomes, wind chimes, grass, plastic box balls and the like just aren’t important and we can live without. When buying tools look out for those with wooden handles, or search through second hand shops, keep an eye on internet marketplaces or see if relatives have extras they don’t need, or that need a wee bit of maintenance/mending. Often older, “vintage” tools last for years and are great family hand downs.

And that brings us onto the inevitable question of plastic plant pots. Unfortunately at the moment plastic is the best thing for nurseries to grow plants in and whereas hopefully there are people looking at alternatives at the moment the focus seems to be on creating recyclable pots that are different colours to black and so more easily recognisable to recycling plants as recyclable. However, this still relies on the local authority, in our case Bristol Waste, having the necessary equipment to recycle them, and in Bristol, like in many places, this is not possible. But before we all jump down Bristol Waste’s throat, lets look at plastic pots and how they actually can be recycled within the gardening community.

We all, as gardeners, buy plants and 99.9% of those will be grown in plastic. However, many of us also grow a lot of plants from seed and this is the ideal opportunity to recycle pots within your own garden, especially if you struggle with keeping slugs off your seedlings. Pot them on into 9cm or even 1ltr sized pots and grow them on until they are larger and they are far mor likely to withstand slug attack. For us here in Bristol this is necessary as those pesky slugs love our clay and I am yet to find a space that isn’t home to many a mollusc. However, that’s not all we can do.

Many of you will have seen the Edible Culture nursery in Faversham, Kent, on Gardeners World a couple of weeks ago, and their promise to not let plastic off their site but rather continually recycle their pots by taking the pot off the plant and replacing it with what they call a posipot at point of sale. This is a brilliant idea but of course their plastic pots return to production on site, whereas many a garden centre buys in their plants and probably isn’t aware of where the pots actually came from in the first place. However, as consumers isn’t it our right to demand better from the places where we buy our plants and ask that they take back plastic? They could offer a customer collection point that then people could also take from and they also could, in some places, find out where they could return plastic to in order to make sure the plastic remains in the gardening system as it were. The majority of small independent nurseries and garden centres will start to do this we think, once they know there is consumer demand for change, however, inevitably there will be push back from larger, more supermarket like places, whose stock all comes from central distribution warehouses and who will struggle with this. Making decisions about who you support when buying plants can be difficult but if you find your local independent garden centre or nursery we are sure they will soon enough be on it.

Of course there is also the opportunity to give pots away. Schools, early year centres, youth groups and community gardens may all take pots at certain points in the year and be really grateful for them as they are expensive to buy and surely no one wants to buy more plastic if they can avoid it.

Of course there are alternatives.Coir pots, pots made of bamboo, pots and seedling trays made of cardboard pulp and even made with newspaper are available and can be made. You can also start seedlings in yoghurt pots as long as you put drainage holes in, or loo roll holders which are ideal for beans and peas, and we would encourage everyone to see what works for them as there are alternatives the home grower can use that would never work on a nursery!!

Finally a word about the recyclable pots. We have seen some and they were ever so flimsy and when we bought a couple of 9cm ones split when we removed the plants from them to plant out, so we are really disappointed that they seem to be single use and then straight to recycling even though we can’t recycle them in Bristol. We hope that the garden centres around the city know that it’s pointless buying plants in them as they can’t be recycled but we have seen some. We believe the larger sized recyclable pots are better quality and less single use like but we have yet to see them. So our thoughts for now are to look after any that you do buy and that they will last you forever if you do. Our Sara reckons the pots we grow in are at least 10 years old as she saved them from a skip at a nursery she ran years ago.

Lots of folk have also commented on compost bags and what can be done with those. We keep ours and use them as recyclable waste carriers in the gardens where we don’t have a compost heap. However, the good news is that our new, favourite compost, made in the Lake District by Dalefoot Compost from sheeps wool and bracken that would otherwise be waste products, comes in really thick carrier bags that can be turned inside out and used for growing potatoes or lining raised beds or hanging baskets and used year on year. Whilst of course that’s not ideal they are definitely not single use which is a good start for change. However, if we all create our own compost the amount we will need to buy in will be far reduced and when talking sustainable gardens we think the first thing every garden needs is a compost heap/bin. At the moment we are involved with an exiting project with UWE, looking at how we can help support good composting-more on that soon.

What we hope is that soon there will be legislation about all this and a date set for when plastic needs to be removed from the gardening industry and that there is political will both nationally and locally to ensure that happens.

Avonmouth GardenAlong…….

This will be the first of our events in Avonmouth, making the metre square beds that we are going to support our growers to grow in!!

We still have a few spaces left for people to join in so if you’d like to grow some food in your garden this season, coming along to a fun event once mer month and learning as you go, why not drop us an email or give us a call. All you need to take part is a BS11 postcode.

Email is sara@ediblebristolorguk.wpcomstaging.com or call 07786 194805.

For more info take a look here

All About Compost!!

Ever wondered how to make successful compost bins from recycled pallets?

Or how to make compost successfully in your back garden or your community project?

Come along to this great workshop where our pallet expert, Luke and our composting expert, Sara, will work with you to create great compost bins for the gardens at Hartcliffe City Farm, which will enable you to to take these hands on, practical skills back into your garden and your community. You’ll learn about siting, making and using the bins and there will be the opportunity to talk about compost teas and feeds too!!

To book your place just click on the link!!


All about Compost!!

Ever wondered how to make successful compost bins from recycled pallets?

Or how to make compost successfully in your back garden or your community project?

Come along to this great workshop where our pallet expert, Luke and our composting expert, Sara, will work with you to create great compost bins for the gardens at Hartcliffe City Farm, which will enable you to to take these hands on, practical skills back into your garden and your community. You’ll learn about siting, making and using the bins and there will be the opportunity to talk about compost teas and feeds too!!

To book your place just click on the link!!


An Evening with Chris Collins…

imagesWe are thrilled to announce that we have Chris Collins, of Garden Organic and Blue Peter, coming to talk about his adventures through horticulture with us. The link to the event write for tickets is below…

The event will be held at the Station Kitchen on 26th July, and tickets are going fast so do get booking!!

We look forward to seeing you there…..




Ross’s Incredible Story

Incredible Edible and Me
It’s been almost a year since I met Sara Venn and the amazing folks at Incredible Edible Bristol and it’s one of the best things to have happened to me over the past few years.

At the time of meeting I’d had a pretty rough couple of months. I’d lost my job, my relationship and ended up with nowhere to live. During this time something inside of me had changed, something fairly fundamental, it felt like something was missing – but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was. Turned out what was missing was gardening, and volunteering.

I’d found somewhere to live but I was still feeling a little blue. I decided I needed a hobby. A hobby that would keep me active, teach me new skills and allow me to meet new people. So, on a whim, I took over an allotment plot. I’m still not a hundred percent why. I’d never grown anything up to this point. The plot was overgrown and overrun with weeds. I had no money. I was woefully out of my depth. So I applied to go on Monty Don’s Big Dreams, Small Spaces telly show, as you do. My reasoning being, you may as well go hard or go home. But the above problems would become even more apparent on TV, and I knew that Monty’s visits would be fleeting. I needed a proper mentor. So I contacted Sara at incredible Edible. I asked, she said yes. The job got done – and done well.

Since then I have tried to attend an Incredible Edible work party weekly at least – work and weather permitting. I am always amazed at the general awesomeness of all the other volunteers. At how easy everyone is to get on with. The knowledge that is shared. The creativity. And ultimately, the passion everyone has and just gets on with the job required and to a very high standard. The spaces that have been transformed, especially at Bristol’s Bear Pit, has been nothing short of, well, incredible. I’m especially looking forward to spending a bit of time at the Incredible Edible garden at RHS Malvern.

Then there is the act of growing itself. Why didn’t someone tell me how rewarding it was? Sometimes it involves a workout worthy of any trip to the gym. Sometimes it’s an exercise in gentle reflection, or mindfulness. The results of my own attempts at growing have been mixed at best, but when it goes right, you get a real sense of achievement. Then there’s the research and planning element. It ticks a lot of boxes.

When I took over the allotment I had no idea if I’d enjoy it or keep it going, but thanks to the gang at Incredible Edible I think I’ve found something to fill that missing part of me. I’ve learnt so much and had such an enjoyable time volunteering over the past year that I don’t think I’ll ever stop.