Talking to James Wong at Seedy Sunday!

This weekend I was lucky enough to meet James Wong, author, ethnobotanist and TV presenter after his talk at Seedy Sunday! Seedy Sunday is an event which is held once a year in Brighton to facilitate seed swapping. There are great talks, lots of interesting stalls, a bit of singing, some yummy food and a section where you can swap seeds!

I went along with my husband and my youngest son. We took along a few packets of broccoli and artichoke seeds to swap and came home with some black cherry tomato seeds, some broad beans, chilli seeds and runner beans! Really looking forward to seeing how they turn out – any and all tips on how to grow them welcomed in the comments below

We learned how to sew seeds properly during a great talk by Steve Bustin: ‘Are you a first time seed-sower? An introduction to basic sowing and growing for the absolute beginner’. Tips included:

  • Only half fill your container with compost
  • Compact the soil down before planting/ watering
  • Put your seed in to the depth required by the particular variety and plant larger seeds on their sides rather than flat.
  • Water the seeds from the bottom rather than the top as by watering from the top you may move the seed from the perfect height/ angle
  • Toilet rolls make good, free seed planters!
We also signed up for more info about the potato mile, which is a project in the area which aims to replicate the Mile of Potatoes grown in Brighton by the Land Army Girls during the war..’ They ‘…need 5,280 plants to make a mile’.  So if you live in the Brighton and Hove area and are growing potatoes this year sign up here!  Even you aren’t in the area it is worth having a look at the site as it provides useful information on growing and harvesting potatoes.
Towards the end of the event we went to see James Wong’s talk.  I wish I had read his book/ heard his talk before we started growing veg last summer.  He started off by giving an example of a friend who spent lots of money on veg growing equipment with very little output in terms of actual veg.

This reminded me of our costly veg growing exercise last summer- basically he was saying unless you have a lot of space don’t grow cheap crops (such as potatoes) which will cost you more to grow than it would to buy them in the shop down the road.  Instead grow crops that thrive here, yet are really expensive to buy.

I did notice James had also signed up for more info about the potato mile project (although he is not actually from Brighton), so he can’t be totally against potato growing!  I can relate though as last year we planted lots more potatoes than we harvested and the potatoes we grew were probably the most expensive ones we have ever eaten!

I had a quick chat with James after the talk and this was the advice he gave:

Sustainable gift wrap course

His book James Wong’s Homegrown Revolution is available to purchase from Amazon – click here to buy a copy and find out which gourmet foods you could be growing in your garden for less effort than some of the usual veg plot crops!  

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This post has been shared at Money Saving MondaySeasonal Celebration WednesdaySunday Inspiration and My Best Post of the Week


  1. Thanks so much for calling in at Mumtopia and linking up to the Money Saving Monday blog hop!

  2. Oh Zoe, what a great sounding project and so exciting to meet the man who also wrote 'grow Your own Drugs' which is also another fabulous book for natural helaing. Thanks for sharing this with us and a great little video too! Well done!

  3. Zoe

    Thanks Natural Mothers! It was a really fun day and I have to admit I am a fan of James Wong and I loved his book /series about growing your own drugs!

  4. Oh what fun … I love the idea of a seed swap. I hope your new acquisitions grow well and produce a LOT! Hope you'll write about it. I've grown beans but I am a container gardener and they seem to need more room than I had. Tomatoes do quite well in containers … I found that they really need calcium (egg shells, limestone, etc.). We grew hot chilies in hanging containers … they did fabulously well! Happy Growing!

  5. Zoe

    Thanks Small Footprints! We did grew tomatoes in upside down planters last year and that seemed to work well! Didn't have much luck with chillies though, so need to look into that one a bit more! I didn't know tomatoes like egg shells, but I always have lots of them going spare, so will make good use of them!

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