Thursday 25 December 2014

Big crops from small spaces

Published 09/07/2013 | 05:00

Mark's work shows that you don't need a garden or allotment to grow lots of food

Mark Ridsdill Smith is founder of Vertical Veg, an enterprise that inspires and supports food-growing in containers and tiny urban spaces.

Mark's work shows that you don't need a garden or allotment to grow lots of food.

Vertical Veg runs workshops and online courses that demystify container-growing and help you grow successfully and productively in small spaces.

Mark is a speaker at the launch of GIY in the UK in Birmingham on July 20.

Where do you GIY?

In containers in a concrete backyard in Newcastle. Previously on a balcony and windowsills in London.

Why do you GIY?

So many reasons. But primarily because I love bringing greenery, fresh food and nature into the heart of the city.

What do you grow?

High-value, high-taste crops – many of which look great, too.

Your favourite veg to eat / grow?

33 varieties of salad.

Your least favourite veg to eat /grow?

Root crops – unsatisfyingly small yields from containers.

Your favourite GIYing moment each year (and why)

Too many to choose, really – but few things beat watching the first seedlings emerge each year.

Your most useful gardening tool (and why)

My hands – because it's the only tool I use for 90pc of my growing.

What do you know now about GIYing that you didn't know last year?

Being reminded again how hard it is to grow strong, healthy crops without very much sun.

My finest hour in the veg patch was when ...

I grew £900 (€1,050) worth of food on my London balcony and windowsills in one year.

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