20+ Inspiring and Free Gardening Documentaries

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I don’t know about you, but I’m obsessed with gardening videos and documentaries.

There are so many different ways to garden and such a wealth of knowledge on YouTube these days that it’s hard not to be addicted to it. Plus, everyone is sharing all of this information for free!

There are some truly inspiring gardens and gardeners here, as well as some older documentaries that are hard to find, but packed with absolutely wonderful gardening information.

Please leave a comment letting me know your favorite documentaries or videos, and if any of the videos have been taken offline — I want this to be an ever-evolving gardening resource.

Bill’s Big Pumpkins (A Giant Pumpkin Documentary)

All about Bill Foss, a legendary grower of giant pumpkins. If you’ve ever wondered how people grow giant veggies, this is a wonderful look inside that world.

Plus, if you want to see Bill blow up a pumpkin with explosives, tune in.


Ruth Stout’s Garden

Ruth Stout was known as the “Mulch Queen” and practiced permanent garden mulching, saving her hundreds of hours of gardening time as she improved her soil year over year. She had a 45’x50′ vegetable garden where she grew veggies for two people year round and said she “…hasn’t been in a supermarket for over 14 years.” She did all of this work without ever doing any work in the garden after 11am.

She lived to 96 years old and wrote How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back and Gardening Without Work: For the Aging, the Busy, and the Indolent.


No Dig with Charles Dowding at Homeacres

Charles Dowding is a British gardening treasure, with a wealth of experience to share in “No Dig” gardening, where he doesn’t till or dig his garden — ever. He uses a lot of composting and mulching to achieve this and his gardens are some of the most beautiful — and productive — that I’ve ever seen.

Some of Charles’ most popular books include:


A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity

A Simpler Way is a feature-length documentary that follows a community in Australia who came together to explore and demonstrate a simpler way to live in response to global crises. Throughout the year the group build tiny houses, plant veggie gardens, practice simple living, and discover the challenges of living in community.


Thriving 23-Year-Old Permaculture Food Forest

In the small town of Riverton at the bottom of New Zealand’s South Island is Robert and Robyn Guyton’s amazing 23-year-old food forest. The 2-acre property has been transformed from a neglected piece of land into a thriving ecosystem of native and exotic trees where birds and insects live in abundance. Robert and Robyn are a huge inspiration to us, not only for their beautiful approach to healing the land and saving heritage trees and seeds, but for the way they’ve impacted on their local community.


Seeds of Permaculture – Tropical Permaculture

An interactive film about permaculture in the tropics. With education and inspiration as the main threads running through this hour-and-a-half-documentary. A wonderful look at how to make permaculture work in a tropical environment.


‘Locally Abundant’ – Sustainable Food Documentary

This is the story of two people, Justin Cantafio and Ryan Oickle, who traveled and volunteered on 10 small organic farms. It’s a deep look at how food is produced, whether that’s sustainable or not, and how we might move towards a more local-first food system.


Making a Heirloom Organic Vegetable Garden Start To Finish

If you’ve ever wondered how to go from “no garden” to a fully-producing heirloom organic veggie garden, this is the video for you.

Inside is a full-length film on how one man produced over 1,300+ pounds of food in his first attempt at organic veggie gardening.


Urban Farming: Making $75,000 on 1/3 Acre in a Residential Neighborhood

Curtis Stone is an urban farmer who makes his entire living farming on converted lawns. He uses a network of lawns distributed over his hometown of Kelowna, British Columbia and has pioneered how to make urban farming a profitable profession for many farmers around the world. His book, The Urban Farmer: Growing Food for Profit on Leased and Borrowed Land shows new and aspiring farmers a realistic path to profits in an urban environment.


Hidcote: A Garden for All Seasons

This documentary is all about Hidcote — the most influential English garden of the 20th century — and Lawrence Johnston, the enigmatic genius behind it. Hidcote was the first garden ever taken on by the National Trust, who spent 3.5 million pounds in a major program of restoration.

Until recently, little was known about the secretive and self-taught Johnston. He kept few, if any, records on Hidcote’s construction, but current head gardener Glyn Jones made it a personal mission to discover as much about the man as possible to reveal how, in the early 20th century, Johnston set about creating a garden that has inspired designers all over the world.


Beautiful Japanese Gardens

Japan has many garden styles: from tea gardens, to the dry gardens of Zen Buddhism, to the pocket gardens of city-dwellers. The expert guest in this film is Takahiro Naka, a professor of garden history who is actively involved in garden design and restoration projects around the country.


Dream Window: Reflections on the Japanese Garden

Experience a breathtaking journey through some of the most exquisite gardens in the world. Renowned for their beauty, Japanese gardens have been retreats for people to rediscover the natural world for more than 1,000 years. Dream Window reveals the secrets of both classical and contemporary Japanese gardens, including the legendary Moss Temple of Saiho-ji, Shugaku-in and Katsura Imperial Villas, and Sogetsu Hall.


Satoyama Japan | The Secret Watergarden

Satoyama is a Japanese term applied to the border zone or area between mountain foothills and arable flat land. Literally, sato means arable and livable land or home land, and yama means hill or mountain. Satoyama have been developed through centuries of small scale agricultural and forestry use.


License to Farm

A documentary exploring the role of science, sustainability and food safety in modern agriculture, encouraging farmers to stand up for their right to farm.


How Plants Communicate & Think

A BBC documentary about how plants communicate and think — just like the title says! But if you’ve never considered the ideas behind plant communication before, then this will be an eye-opening and enlightening watch.


What Plants Talk About

When we think about plants, we don’t often associate a term like “behavior” with them, but experimental plant ecologist JC Cahill wants to change that. The University of Alberta professor maintains that plants do behave and lead anything but solitary and sedentary lives. What Plants Talk About teaches us all that plants are smarter and much more interactive than we thought!


The Magic of Mushrooms

Professor Richard Fortey delves into the fascinating and normally hidden kingdom of fungi. From their spectacular birth, through their secretive underground life to their final explosive death, Richard reveals a remarkable world that few of us understand or even realise exists – yet all life on Earth depends on it.


Backyard Aeroponics: Self-sustaining Farm for Wisconsin Cold

Benjamin Staffeldt grew up on a farm and works in a garden center so when he and his wife Sara moved into a rental home (a duplex), it was only natural he’d want to start farming his (shared) backyard. They began with containers and then bought a kit greenhouse to extend the growing season and were selling to local supermarkets and restaurants, but the heating bills to farm during Wisconsin winters (with temperatures as low as -70°F) was cutting sharply into their profits.

Internet of Farming: Arduino-based Backyard Aquaponics

Rik Kretzinger grew up on a Christmas tree farm and spent his college years studying horticulture, but he found it too difficult to make a living as a small farmer so he spent most of his career working for others.

A few years ago, he began to tinker with aquaponics (fishfarming + hydroponics), sensors and the open-source microcontroller Arduino to create an automated garden that could compete with commercial farms.


FarmBot: Open Source Backyard Robot for Fully Automated Garden

In the front yard of Rory Aronson’s San Luis Obispo home (that he shares with 9 roommates), a robot is tending his garden- seeding, watering, weeding and testing the soil- while he controls it from his his phone. FarmBot is what he calls “humanity’s open-source automated precision farming machine”. https://farmbot.io/


The Green Thumbs Behind This Article:

Kevin Espiritu
Founder

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