Meet our panel of experts for edible gardening and food growing advice, an afternoon in the style of Gardeners’ Question Time. Our esteemed panel members and associate in ‘dictionary
corner’ will be announced on the Cultivate Festival Website.
Join us beforehand for a talk on preparing the ground for planting and take part in a fun seed swap activity.
2.30pm Preparing the Ground
Julian Beere draws on his 12 years experience as an allotment gardener and member of a local crop sharing scheme to present a talk and discussion about preparing your growing sites for
this summer’s fruit and vegetable crops and planning your planting. And there’s more than tips to take away – take home strawberry plants to start your own strawberry bed.
3.30pm Tea and seed swap
Just can’t seem to grow that perfect tomato? Looking for a more exciting salad green? Join OrganicLea growers and volunteers for a light-hearted and interactive seed swapping experience. Bring along your own surplus seeds to swap. Tea and biscuits served by The
Vintage Sisters Travelling Tearooms.
4pm Gardeners’ Q&A
Our horticultural experts answer your questions about growing produce and give their own Topical Tips. The Gardeners’ Q&A audio will be broadcast live and the key topics raised will be shared via live Twitter updates – so do ‘tweet in’ your questions before or during the event if you can’t be there in person. Please see our website to book or for details on how to listen in.
The seed of horticulture was sown for James when he was very young, helping his parents in and around their own garden. He remembers being incredibly proud taking huge marrows to the church harvest festival as a youngster.
He studied Landscape management at Reading University and took on jobs at nurseries and with landscape contractors while still studying. As part of his course he spent six months working in the trials area at RHS Harlow Carr and some time working on rhubarb farm in West Yorkshire.
After university he worked for several award winning landscaping firms before starting up his own gardening business in 2007. In 2011 he started work at Capel Manor College as a horticultural researcher, growing and testing new varieties of vegetables, fruits, flowers and bulbs and writing up the results of my trials for the horticultural press.
For the last 10 years he’s kept an allotment in Finchley where he grows fruit, vegetables and cut flowers and recently moved into a flat with its own patio garden, so he’s currently enjoying finding out what he can grow to eat in a much smaller space.
Helen is a gardener at Copped Hall, a historic mansion and gardens near Epping, that is being restored from total dereliction. She’s responsible for the restoration and reinstatement of the 450ft long herbaceous border. She’s given many workshops on most aspects of gardening and growing organically and given illustrated talks on the restoration of the Copped Hall Gardens since it was saved by the Copped Hall Trust.
A former borough Allotment Officer Helen has many years experience of growing all types of fruit and vegetables, especially heritage varieties, on her own four allotments.
Retired from environmental health work, David now enjoys allotment gardening. He grows as many varieties of fruit and vegetables as he can reasonably cram in, using them to make good things to eat and drink. Cooking is a joy too and he loves making interesting drinks such as fruit infusions and wine and cider made from grapes and apples grown on the allotment.
David’s the site representative for the Pimp Hall allotment site in Chingford and is a partner in the Pimp Hall Bees Project. They currently keep two producing hives on the allotment site and hope to add two more this year. It’s chickens next.
Ru has been an organic gardener in a community setting for the last 20 years. He is the Plants & Production Worker at OrganicLea’s Hawkwood Plant Nursery in Chingford, and teaches the Level 2 Gardening courses for Waltham Forest Adult Learning Service. His specialist area is organic production of fruit and vegetables.
Dictionary Corner: Phil Mason, Transition Leytonstone