15 Inspiring Gardening Documentaries

Need some garden inspiration? Whether you're interested in no-dig gardening, permaculture, aquaponics, or robot garden assistants, there is a gardening documentary for you. Kevin shares 15 of his favorite gardening documentaries to inspire you in the garden.

15 Inspiring and Free Gardening Documentaries

There are so many different ways to garden and such a wealth of knowledge to learn from, especially when you’re just starting out as a gardener. Much of this knowledge can be found (and best of all, found for free) on the internet.

If you love documentaries and plants, these 15 stories are a must-watch. They are packed with practical information from the experts to help you get inspired.

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, you’ll get to see Bill blow up a pumpkin with explosives.

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Ruth Stout’s Garden

Ruth Stout was known as the “Mulch Queen” and practiced permanent garden mulching. This saved her hundreds of hours of gardening time as she improved her soil year over year.

Ruth had a 45’x50′ vegetable garden where she grew veggies for two people year-round. At the time, she said she “…hasn’t been in a supermarket for over 14 years.” All of this happened without ever doing any work in the garden after 11 am.

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No Dig with Charles Dowding at Homeacres

Charles Dowding is a British gardening treasure and pioneer of the no-dig movement.

He doesn’t till or dig his garden — ever. Instead, he uses a lot of compost and mulch to achieve this and his gardens are some of the most beautiful and productive I’ve ever seen.

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A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity

A Simpler Way is a feature-length documentary following a community in Australia. They came together to explore and demonstrate a simpler way to live in response to global crises.

Throughout the year the group builds tiny houses, plants veggie gardens, practices simple living, and discovers the challenges of living in a community.

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Amazing 23-Year-Old Permaculture Food Forest

In the small town of Riverton in New Zealand’s South Island is Robert and Robyn Guyton’s amazing 23-year-old food forest. This two-acre property has been transformed from a neglected piece of land into a thriving ecosystem. Here, native and exotic trees, birds, and insects live in abundance.

Robert and Robyn are a huge inspiration, not only for their approach to healing the land and saving heritage trees and seeds but how they’ve impacted their local community.

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Seeds of Permaculture – Tropical Permaculture

Seeds of Permaculture is an interactive film about permaculture in the tropics.

Education and inspiration are the main threads running through this hour-and-a-half gardening documentary. It’s a wonderful look at how to make permaculture work in a tropical environment.

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‘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.

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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.

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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. Curtis is a prime example of 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.

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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.

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Satoyama Japan | The Secret Watergarden

Satoyama is a Japanese term applied to the border zone or area between mountain foothills and arable flat land. Directly translated, sato means arable and livable land or homeland, and yama means hill or mountain.

This concept has been developed through centuries of small-scale agricultural and forestry use.

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License to Farm

License to Farm is one of the gardening documentaries exploring the role of science, sustainability, and food safety in modern agriculture, encouraging farmers to stand up for their right to farm.

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Backyard Aeroponics: Self-sustaining Farm for Wisconsin Cold

Benjamin Staffeldt grew up on a farm and worked in a garden center. When he and his wife Sara moved into a rental home, it was only natural he’d want to start farming his (shared) backyard.

They began with containers, later buying a greenhouse to extend the growing season. While they were selling to local supermarkets and restaurants, the heating bills to farm during Wisconsin winters (with temperatures as low as -70°F or 21°C) cut sharply into their profits. Their journey is explored in this documentary.

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Internet of Farming: Arduino-based Backyard Aquaponics

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

He began to tinker with aquaponics, sensors, and the open-source microcontroller Arduino to create an automated garden that could compete with commercial farms.

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FarmBot: Open Source Backyard Robot for Fully Automated Garden

In the front yard of Rory Aronson’s San Luis Obispo home (shared with nine roommates), a robot tends his garden. It is 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”.

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Final Thoughts

Watch any of these gardening documentaries if you’re looking for some inspiration in the garden.

 
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Composting for beginners. Close-up of two gardeners shoveling fresh compost from a compost bin into a small wheelbarrow in the garden. The compost container is tall, plastic, black. The wheelbarrow is green.

Gardening Inspiration

Compost 101: How to Start Composting for Beginners

With so many bins, methods, and theories, composting can seem like complex mysticism. What do you add, what shouldn’t you add, and how do you make your compost like that rich, quality stuff you can buy at the garden store? Former organic farmer Logan Hailey demystifies the composting process using reliable science and layman’s terms.

A mother and son kneel by a raised garden bed, tending to abundant veggies and flowers.

Gardening Inspiration

11 Themed Gardens Kids Will Love

Gardening with kids is so rewarding and can be a lot of fun. If you are looking to get your budding gardener more involved, it might be time to give them their own garden! In this article, gardening expert and mom Jill Drago suggests 11 themed gardens that your kids will love to grow and care for.

raised bed garden benefits

Raised Bed Gardening

15 Benefits of Raised Bed Gardening

Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned gardener, raised beds make gardening easier, increase production, and look great. If you’ve been on the fence about making the investment, here are 15 benefits of gardening in raised beds that will convince you to take the leap!

Soil test benefits. Close-up of a woman's hand scooping up soil with a small shovel in the garden to place it in a glass test tube. The soil is slightly moist, dark brown. A small seedling with a pair of smooth cotyledons grows in the soil.

Soil Improvement

5 Benefits of Doing a Garden Soil Test

How do you find out what’s in your soil? A soil test kit offers huge benefits for your garden health and your wallet. Instead of blindly applying fertilizer or making rough estimates of soil pH, you can save money and time with real data about your garden soil. Former organic farmer Logan Hailey explains the benefits of soil testing and how to do it as a beginner.

A tidy garden with grass and various drought-resistant plants uses light-colored rocks as mulch.

Mulch

Do Rocks Make Good Mulch?

Rocks are often used as mulch in gardens, but are they the best choice? Master Naturalist Sarah Jay takes a deep dive into the topic, outlining the types of rocks you can garden with and how to use them.