Robert Milne


Join Robert Milne at 12.00pm Sunday in the ‘Get Growing Tent’ for

Organic Vegetable Gardening in a Changing Climate

Can gardeners adapt to climate change? Who knows? It depends how much the climate changes!

There are four possibilities: warmer and drier, warmer and wetter, cooler and drier, cooler and wetter. We could get all four in one  year, certainly over a period of years. Fortunately, long range forecasts are improving, but will increasing instability cancel that out?

I suggest three strategies.

1. increase the diversity of crops, suited to a wide range of conditions so that, whatever the weather, some crops will do well and you’ll have something to eat.
2. Be flexible and quick to react, if a crop is not doing well, by clearing it away and sowing something else.
3. When buying seeds, buy extra of fast-growing crops suitable for a range of conditions.

The lay out of the garden is also important. You can optimise conditions with regard to the garden’s orientation, neighbouring buildings, walls, trees and hedges.

I’ve grown vegetables in gardens (nine sites plus two allotments) every year since 1977. I was self-sufficient for over 20 years, and worked as a professional kitchen gardener for 8 years. I’ve also worked with schools on gardening projects. In 2006 I graduated with a degree in soil science. I’ve worked with growers in Scotland, Norway and Iceland. Since the mid 90s I’ve campaigned for food gardening to be brought into the school curriculum – without success, it must be said.