Back to Front Garden Mentors’ Programme

We’re busy planning a series of workshops to support Back to Front gardeners. They will take place throughout the year, some for registered growers and some to encourage new people to join Back to Front.

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We’re delighted to announce the first of our workshops:
Thursday 19th March – Grow with Joe! at Shine, Leeds

Grow with Joe will be hosted by legendary local gardener, Joe Maiden. Co-host with Tim Crowther of BBC Radio Leeds’ gardening advice programme and all round garden guru, Joe is one of the best-known gardeners in Yorkshire. It will be a practical hands on workshop, looking at cost effective tips, feeding crops, sowing and planting tips, for front garden growing Cant wait!!

This workshop is for registered growers only. We just wanted to let you know how brilliant our mentoring programme is. There will be lots of other opportunities to join in workshops in future.

Please email to be added to our mailing list for future events.

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Back to Front on Gardeners’ Question Time

growing together mosaic

Some people dream of making it big on X Factor. Our fantasies about fame are much less ambitious. All we’ve ever wanted to do is be on Gardeners’ Question Time on BBC Radio 4. Towards the end of 2014, our dream came true (which, sadly, is not something many X Factor contestants get to say).

Gardeners’ Question Time (GQT for ease of weary typing fingers) was first broadcast in 1947 and has a long and honourable history of being the gardeners’ go-to gardening programme. We’ve written before about all the hard work that went in to make the GQT visit to Back to Front a success.

There’s a lovely feature about Back to Front in the middle of programme, featuring interviews with lots of participants and volunteers. It explains why the project was started, how it’s progressing and its impact on local communities. We’re thrilled with it – if we could frame it, we would! – and delighted to share it here. Even if you don’t have a garden, it’s still worth a listen. There are also some great tips on growing food in small spaces and in raised beds.

Back to Front on BBC Radio 4 Gardeners’ Question Time

So, make yourself a cuppa, snuggle in a comfy chair and enjoy the dulcet tones of Bob Flowerdew and the rest of the GQT team putting the gardening world to rights. Meanwhile, we’ll listen again, whilst wondering what ambition we can fulfil next…
*The mosaic in the picture was created by Hyde Park Source and Cross Green Community Group, our partners on the Fewston Bridge community garden. It now sits proudly at the entrance to the garden, send a lovely message to us all. ‘Growing Together’ – long may it continue.




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Christmas Gift Workshop

B2F christmas gift workshop


Ho, ho, ho!

Join the Back to Front team for a FREE Christmas Gift Workshop at Thackray Medical Museum. Participants will learn about the health benefits of different herbs and there’ll be chance to make gifts like body scrubs and bath teas to take home.

Booking is essential. Date, time and booking details above.

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Back to Front welcomes BBC Gardeners’ Question Time

GQT at fewston bridge

How do you know your gardening project is doing well? We’d say it’s when the most famous gardening show in Britain comes to visit! Back to Front was delighted to host the much-loved BBC Radio 4 programme, Gardeners’ Question Time recently.

As ever with events like this, there was a huge amount of work behind the scenes to create what looked like an effortless evening. I won’t bore you with the details but let’s just say it didn’t happen overnight… All the effort put in really paid off though.

The production team arrived on the morning to visit the community garden we started building this summer with Cross Green Community Group (CGCG) and Hyde Park Source. Various committee members and some of the volunteers who work on the ground were interviewed for the feature slot that will be included when the programme is aired. Mary from CGCG (in the photo above) explained what the garden means to local people and how it’s used in the evenings when the rest of us are not around. Fascinating stuff but you’ll have to wait until the programme goes out to hear all about it! Continue reading

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Back to Front Hosts BBC Gardeners’ Question Time

GQT poster


Back to Front is delighted to be playing host to the legendary BBC Gardeners’ Question Time programme on 28th October. This is a great coup for our community garden project and we’d love you to join us.

Book your place here.

The GQT panel of experts will be answering your gardening questions, so please write yours on your printed ticket and bring it along with you.

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Harvest Celebration Party


 All photos by Zsolt Sandor / MothershipUK

You can say one thing about Yorkshire folk – they certainly know how to throw a party. On Saturday, we held a Harvest Celebration at the Fewston Bridge community garden we share with Cross Green Community Group and Hyde Park Source. To say it was a roaring success is something of an understatement. Party goes included local residents, volunteers, gardeners, community activists, local councillors and members of various charitable boards and funding bodies.

It probably helped that the food, provided by The Real Junk Food Project, was amazing. They intercept perfectly edible food that supermarkets are going to throw away. This isn’t dumpster-diving – they’ve developed relationships with the big chains to prevent good food going to waste. Despite the fact that you have no idea what you’re going to get when you order the food (because they have no idea until it turns up), their professional chefs make sure that the resulting dishes are delicious. We were delighted they were able to cater for the event, as their message of sustainability and healthy living chimes well with our Growing Together philosophy.

It also helped that we had a fantastic sound system, great tunes and a good deal of lovely bunting. The sun didn’t exactly shine but there was no rain and lots of smiling faces. It was wonderful to showcase the garden; a patch of land that was a derelict dumping ground less than six months ago is now a thriving garden that anyone in the community can be involved with.

Local people have put a lot of hard work into the garden, and continue to do so, and the gardeners and volunteers from the three projects involved love to get their hands dirty pulling the whole thing together. The bridge garden has benefited too from some hard work from corporate volunteers – thank you, the Home Office, StepChange and Macdonalds, among others! If your organization would like a healthy, active away day, let us know. Our corporate volunteers always enjoy themselves so there must be something in it…

As we round off the growing season and start to work on future plans, it was a wonderful treat to celebrate the changes that have taken place over the last few months and thank the people who’ve made it all happen.

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Hello Summertime


One of our littlest volunteers wins the prize for best wellies.

A bit of rain is good for the gardens, right? Which is great news for the community garden we work on with Hyde Park Source and Cross Green Community Group in East Leeds. We’re happy when the heavens open, which they have helpfully done on a regular basis recently. This means there’s plenty of fresh food to be harvested and that’s what we’ve been doing over the past couple of weeks, along with working our way through the endless list of tasks that go into making a garden like this so effective.


Team work – our youngest volunteers work together harvesting potatoes

We’re lucky enough to have plenty of local volunteers who turn up to lend a hand each week. From the little ones here harvesting potatoes, to the hardy souls using raw muscle to clear the wasteland at the back of the site, everyone’s doing their bit. Continue reading

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Back to Front Video

BackToFront – growing food in front gardens so everyone knows from TomBliss on Vimeo.

Want to know more about Back to Front and what we’re up to? Why, we have the very thing. This fantastic video shows how our community garden grows and how all the different people involved work together.

We love volunteers – individuals, corporate teams, people who love digging, planting, building and chatting. Everyone’s welcome so if you’re interested in getting involved with this amazing project, email me (I’m the project manager) at

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East Leeds Community Garden update

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Everything’s coming up roses in our fantastic Back to Front community garden on Fewston Bridge in Leeds. OK, well, maybe not roses – more like loads of vegetables, herbs and the odd sunflower here and there.

The bridge is a piece of land that has been reclaimed over the last few months. Bit by painstaking bit, we’ve worked alongside Hyde Park Source, Cross Green Community Group and a whole host of volunteers to clear an overgrown patch of wasteland, finding gorgeous old cobbles underneath the weeds and rubble. This makes the perfect foundation for our raised beds, blending past and present together beautifully.

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Back to Front is all about helping people to grow edible produce (even those gorgeous sunny sunflowers = seeds!) and we’ve been busy adding signs so that everyone knows what’s growing and when to pick it. So far we’ve harvested new potatoes – ‘Full of flavour, like they used to be when I was a kid,’ was one response. We’ve also had strawberries, rocket, spinach and lots of herbs. Spaghetti bolognese never tasted so good…

There’s a timetable of planting, growing and picking spreading right across the summer months. We’re also working hard to clear the rest of the cobbles and build more raised beds to extend the garden so the whole community can join in.

If you’d like to volunteer or have a media query, contact Jayne, the project manager, at


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Tales from a Back to Front Grower!

There has been quite a lot happening in preparation for my back to front garden.  2 years out of date leeks have done as well as the in date leeks in fact they are a couple of days ahead. So I have planted to finish the packet and so I can give leeks to plant to my friends. I have also planted some red and yellow cabbage (all are kept indoor as it is still a bit cold outside for seeds to germinate)

 Talking of friends, friend are a great resources to build your front garden as somebody will have just the thing you need. My friend Andrew let me cut some willow poles and some dogwood  from his field. So in the past few days I have been building a wigwam for my runner bean which I will plant later in the year (end of May) . The wigwam is really tall and I am wondering how I will pick up the beans when they reach the top but it should be very impressive. I hope I will generate a lot of talk in the neighbourhood.

 I also get colleagues and friend to keep their toilet rolls as they make great pot for seedlings. The advantage is that they can be planted straight in the ground without disturbing the roots of the seedling. I line a mushroom tray with some newspaper then line up my toilet rolls, fill them with compost and here goes the seeds. Here I am planting some broad beans. Broad beans can go in the ground directly at this time of the year but planting them this way and placing them in a green house or under a cold frame gives them a good start ahead of the one that have been put in the ground.

 Last week end I went to help a friend with cutting a hedge and told her about my front garden project and about me looking for some old window to make a cold frame. She had just what I needed: two panels of secondary glazing that are the perfect size for making two cold frame the advantage is that it is not glass so it is safer and not as heavy. Her mum also gave me lot of broad bean seeds as well as some peas and beans. Beans are really easy seeds to save. Great to make some exchanges.

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