Chalford gardener Penny Johnson shares the joys of organic gardening

A FEW hours ago I went into my garden and picked some sugar snap peas for dinner. Shortly afterwards they were in the pot then onto the plate. Delicious!

I have been growing vegetables organically for over 50 years and my family have enjoyed eating fresh healthy produce. They have also benefitted from the joy of going into the garden and seeing the mixed planting of vegetables and flowers and the wildlife that make up a healthy ecosystem.

We live in difficult times. Covid-19 has turned people’s lives upside down and caused a lot of stress and heartache.

But we face a far more troubling situation, that of climate chaos. We now have to tackle this emergency urgently by cutting our dependency on fossil fuels to protect this precious planet that is our home. And this can be done in a way that also improves how we live.

Commercial food production and transport use large quantities of fossil fuel.

It will be necessary in the future to grow food sustainably and locally. It is something a lot of us can do now to lower our carbon footprint.

Vegetables can be grown even in small spaces. Herbs are often grown in kitchens. Tomatoes or beans can grow in pots hanging from the ceiling by a sunny window. Shelves in a bright place can grow lettuces, spinach, carrots, and radish, and pots on window sills can grow micro-greens. It’s fun experimenting.

A balcony or even a roof (check these are strong enough to support wet pots) can grow useful crops of vegetables or small fruit bushes. A garden or allotment gives you the advantage of being able to grow more crops and larger fruit trees.

Gardening organically creates a sustainable balanced system giving plants optimum growing conditions and the chance for wildlife to flourish and biodiversity to thrive. Not to mention the feel-good factor and sense of achievement for the gardener. Why not give it a go?!

Penny Johnson