“I’d love your job”, he enthuses. “I have always been into wildlife and Nature and even learnt Latin in college so I could be a Landscaper. I love gardening and always have done. As a kid, we moved house really often and the first thing we always did was let the chickens out of their carriers and dig a veg patch as we set up camp,” He laughs. “We even had goats in a small semi-detached garden once.”
James also had concerns for the environment at a young age. “As a kid my hero was the cartoon character Captain Planet and I went on to do Environmental History at College which led to environmental volunteering abroad. It’s great to learn about sustainability and it’s amazing to see how people can close the loop and provide their own food in the most adverse conditions.”
The Green guru is currently writing a book with his dad, Dick. “We are sort of updating John Seymour’s amazing books,” he explains. “Teaching sustainability with step by step practical advice. Everything we write about we have tried and tested, from building earth ovens to making Gorse wine, which is very much undiscovered. It’s a delicious sweet wine that has a slight coconut flavour.”
In between writing and negotiating a new series for BBC, James is busy developing ideas to show how you can be green in a small space. “I’ve used a lot of vertical planting, cloches and inter-planting,” he explains. “It’s a small but it’s just buzzing with productivity. There’s a wormery, a composter, a wildlife pond, raised beds and even a solar shower that’s great fun in the summer.”
Despite passing on his skills at various courses held at his home at New House Farm, James admits, “I still love learning from the older guys on the allotments. I’m lucky I spend a lot of time on the small holding experimenting and finding ways of doing things easier, cheaper and better. I love using scrap metal and giving an object a second life,” he laughs.
I ask for his top tip for someone wanting to ‘go green’ in their own garden?
“There is a French saying which translates as ‘under the paving stones lies the beaches’, which means there is always something better underneath; so lift up the patio, get rid of all the concrete and to use that space for growing and producing things. It’s magical”, he grins and I agree with him wholeheartedly. It might not be ‘easy being green’ but it’s worth it!
Find out more about James’s courses, recipes and step by step advice for sustainability at www.newhousefarm.tv.