How to grow organic fruit and vegetables

Get organic vegetable gardening and grow organic food

Growing your own organic food using organic gardening techniques is an individual action all of us can take to build a sustainable food culture. There are 300,000 acres of prime growing land in domestic gardens or allotments in the UK, with 80% of households having access to a garden. And even if you don't have a garden many popular fruits and vegetables will grow in pots or window boxes. At the moment though less than a third of gardens in this country are used to grow anything to eat.

Growing organic vegetables and fruit has many benefits. Because you can eat your harvest almost immediately your fruit and vegetables lose less nutrients, meaning they are healthier for you and your family. Food miles are non-existent, saving on the damaging greenhouse gas emissions associated with our modern food chains. With anything you don't need composted, waste is more or less eliminated. And by managing your garden using organic principles you can encourage bio-diversity, meaning you're helping improve your local environment.

If you've no experience, the thought of growing your own vegetables can be intimidating. To help get you started, organic gardener Phillipa Pearson has put together this month-by-month guide to key tasks on your veg plot. And Soil Association members can get regular advice in our membership magazine Living Earth.

Gardening blogs

Good news for bees from Aldi – who would have thought?

Marianne Landzettel: From January 1st the German budget supermarket chain Aldi requires its fruit and vegetable growers to no longer use eight pesticides containing neonicotinoids as they are known to be dangerous to bees. OK, there are a few caveats: only in Aldi supermarkets in the south and west of Germany and in all branches in Switzerland can you be sure fruit and veg from German or Swiss growers have been produced without neonics. And potatoes remain exempt. But from aubergines to zucchinis that still leaves a lot of produce that will be grown without danger to bees.

05 February 2016 | 2 Comments | Recommended by 4

What is healthy soil and how do I know if I've got it?

Ben Raskin: If you have ever done any gardening or farming you will have a sense of what a good soil structure is, or perhaps an understanding of a fertile soil, but what do we really mean when we talk about soil HEALTH. Even the professionals don't have a single definition though this one from the FAO is pretty good: "the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living system, within ecosystem and land-use boundaries, to sustain biological productivity, promote the quality of air and water environments, and maintain plant, animal, and human health".

26 January 2016 | 5 Comments | Recommended by 1

Child gardening

Gardening courses
Apple Grafting Workshop
27 February

Winterbourne Medieval Barn, Church Lane, Winterbourne BS36 1SE

Introduction to garden permaculture
19 March

Commonwork, Bore Place, Chiddingstone, Edenbridge, Kent. TN8 7AR 

Apple Tree Grafting
20 March

Bridge Farm, Snitterby Carr, Gainsborough, DN21 4UU

Organic Vegetable Growing for beginners
23 March

 Waltham Place Farm, Church Hill, White Waltham, Berks, SL6 3JH