As if you needed an excuse to come to The Edible Garden Show, the planets themselves are lining up to encourage you.
The show?s opening morning on Friday 20 March will be given added drama by a solar eclipse ? due to plunge much of the UK into eerie darkness, which, according to expert and opening day speaker Charles Dowding makes it the perfect time to put down your trowel and prick up your ears.
Charles, who will be giving a talk in the Experts Theatre on starting a vegetable garden, said: ?Eclipses are reckoned to be unfavourable for sowing or planting, so it?s an ideal time to come to the show. It?s an unusual weekend with the solar eclipse on Friday then two planetary eclipses on Saturday of Uranus and Mars.?
Charles is known for a biodynamic approach to gardening, a practice he sums up as ?harnessing unseen energies for greater plant health and quality?. He added: ?The biodynamic approach is about working with subtle energies to improve health and nutritional quality of plants, it began in the 1920s with the teachings of Rudolf Steiner. Biodynamic gardeners and farmers use special preparations on soil, plants and in the compost heap. Another aspect is sowing and planting by the moon, although this is not unique to biodynamics, and has been practised for much longer.?
Charles?s own interest on the effect of the lunar cycle on growing patterns goes back more than 30 years and early tablets from ancient Babylon testified to the belief in the infertility of the land around the time of an eclipse.
As Britain?s love of growing its own flourishes, so does the show dedicated to inspiring gardeners and would-be gardeners. Charles?s new book How to Create a New Vegetable Garden fits in perfectly with The Edible Garden Show which is dedicated to inspiring novice and experienced gardeners. During his talk Charles will explain how to turn unpromising ground into a productive space, simpler weed control and also mention some new vegetables, oca, yacon and stevia.
This year?s show from March 20-22 at Alexandra Palace has more than triple the number of attraction areas and a huge variety of experts sharing their passion for grow your own.
And for the first time organisers are also launching a brilliant new lifestyle event, Good Life Live, to run in tandem with TEGS. Good Life Live will showcase a vast range of outdoor living experiences with areas dedicated to adventure activities, country pursuits and home comforts, as well as livestock.
In the Experts Theatre Pippa Greenwood will explain how to grow great veg while James Wong shares simple scientific tips and tricks to supercharge the flavor and nutrient content of home grown crops. The HIPPO Potting Shed will feature edible hanging baskets, advice on organic gardening, a talk from Debbie Bourne, the High Heeled Gardener and, for the tech-savvy, bloggers Sean Cameron and The Skinny Jeans Gardeners.
Once you?ve learned how and what to grow, Rachel Green and Mark Lloyd are among the famous chefs providing chic ideas for conjuring yummy, healthy meals from plot to plate. Rachel comes from a long line of farmers and is passionate about food production and making the best of what we grow. Mark set up the River Cottage Canteen with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and is a great believer in using every part of the animal from nose to tail.
You can also pop along to Make It! to learn how to make not only your own jam, bread and sausages but also bath bombs, soft cheese and bacon at workshops run by Paul and Diana Peacock and Di Hammil of Wild Harvest.
The show also has an ?egg-cellent? area dedicated to all things poultry. The Chicken Coop will feature talks on breed types, rehoming battery hens, hatching and the best recipes for your egg crop.
Getting children geared-up to gardening is a big part of this family-focused show and CBeebies? popular, green-fingered Mr Bloom from Mr Bloom?s Nursery will be popping into the Experts Theatre on Saturday, March 21 to inspire the ?tiddlers? with his high-energy show.
To book your tickets, which give access to both The Edible Garden Show and Good Life Live, please call the ticket hotline on 0871 230 3451 or visit www.theediblegardenshow.co.uk.