Organic growing expert Tim Foster traces his environmental roots back to his days working in a Huddersfield garden centre.

Tim, who worked at the former Hampsons Garden Centre, Dalton, has released his first book, Good Earth Gardening.

The book teaches gardeners of all abilities how to grow vegetables in a sustainable and environmentally sound manner.

Tim, formerly of Moldgreen, says it was during his time at Hampsons when he began the switch towards organic growing.

Like most garden centres during the 1980s Hampsons was selling harmful chemical fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides.

Tim, who lecturers at Bristol University and colleges around the south west, said: “We sold a whole range of chemicals and it got me thinking.

“Most of them, like paraquat, have been banned now.

“I wasn’t doing organic growing at the time but I suppose it started to seep in.

“Organic gardening wasn’t mainstream in those days.

“I remember thinking there must be a better way than using those chemicals.”

In 1985 after three years at Hampsons, Tim left to start an organic garden centre in Bristol.

He went on to become a leading lecturer in environmental growing.

Tim says buying organic food is still a minority activity – but organic growing is now a majority occupation for amateur horticulturalists.

He said: “Bristol City Council did a study last year and they found that 95% of allotment holders are organic or want to be organic.”

Good Earth Gardening (Pomegranate Books) is available priced £8.95 from

Hampsons Garden Centre opened in Dalton in 1938.

The company, now Hampson Plant World, opened a second store, on Denby Dale Road, Durkar, Wakefield, in 1991.

While the Wakefield store is still open, the Dalton store closed in 1999.

Good Earth Gardening by Tim Foster.
Good Earth Gardening by Tim Foster.