One day, I will be the organ grinder – Part One

I have always had an affinity with organics.

Commercial pressures in my previous life prevented me from adopting the organic way of gardening (and indeed life), though no doubt this may be seen as an excuse.

But it is a fact of life that while on a personal level the whole concept of organic gardening is, among all its other benefits, extremely cost effective, in the commercial world it is still a prohibitively expensive option.

In the landscaping business, if I had tendered for a job offering natural hard landscaping materials and organically grown plants – not to mention non-chemical soil improvers and peat-free soil conditioners – I would, quite simply, never have worked.

But these days, working on my own as a “freelance” gardener, I have the opportunity to persuade my regular clients to allow me to exercise the organic option. And this approach is generally well received.

Now, if you thought that all this was leading up to C in the P’s Complete Guide to Organic Gardening in one article, you do both the subject, and me, a disservice.

I, myself, am on a learning curve. But as I learn, I will share my thoughts and experiences with you.

I have recently subscribed to the HDRA, and I wish I had done so years ago.

“The HDRA is an international membership organisation that researches, promotes and advises on organic gardening, commercial horticulture, farming and food.” (© HDRA)

The HDRA (formerly Henry Doubleday Research Association) is a registered charity working at the forefront of all aspects of organic growing. With over 30,000 members, it is Europe’s biggest organic membership organisation, and pioneers research into all aspects of organic horticulture and agriculture.

Among many other things, HDRA operates a Third World Support Group, funding research and advisory work across the tropics, promoting the organic practices beneficial (indeed essential) for small-scale farmers. The antidote, in fact, to the short-term, ultimately destructive practices advocated by the agro-chemical industry, which have already been seen to exacerbate the famine and misery which they purported to eradicate.*

If you would like to learn more about the HDRA, go to

*You can read more about this sort of thing in Clarkie’s earlier article, Never Underestimate Number Twos.

Read Part Two

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About Mike Clark

Mike discovered the joys of horticulture when, as a small child, he overheard a neighbour say she'd dropped a sixpence in the tattie patch. He has been digging ever since, with the tenacity of a true Scot, hoping one day to find a fiver. Despite now running his own landscape gardening business, Mike claims to be permanently broke, due in part to his quest for fame resulting in writing gardening columns for free. He likes trees, Jack Russells, and 12 year old Glen Ord, but not necessarily in that order. Gifts of any of these can be sent c/o, but he would like to point out that the third item is by far the easiest and cheapest to post. One of the highlights of his life was winning a toilet brush in a raffle. He persevered with it for ages, but he's back on the paper now... Mike approaches gardening and writing with exactly the same formula. Throw in plenty of manure, and something good will eventually spring up.

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