Modern heroes of horticulture - Guy Grieve

Guy Grieve is an adventurer whose journey has led him into the world of horticulture via Alaska, the Caribbean and the Isle of Mull.  His exploits are well documented in his three books: ‘The Wild Gourmets: adventures in food and freedom; Call of the Wild: my escape to Alaska; and Sea Legs: one family’s year on the ocean.

He was a scallop diver running The Ethical Shellfish Company for 12 years, diving and hand collecting scallops in the clear, cold Atlantic water off the beautiful west of Scotland before realising the potential of the seaweed strewn harbours throughout the region.  He always had a garden and was familiar with the traditional use of seaweed as an ameliorant to enrich soils, a common practice in coastal gardening communities around the world.  His plan was to utilise this valuable resource and supply it to gardeners throughout the UK.  His company Atlantic Garden was formed and production began in earnest.

The seaweed, mainly kelp, is stacked into long four metre high windrows where it gently heats up and breaks down.  Then follows a labour intensive stage where plastic and other seaborne contaminants are removed by hand before being offered for sale as a soil improver, mulch, or seaweed-enriched compost.  Utilising compostable packaging the product is sent out twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays, the packages arriving with the customer ready for immediate use.

In addition, Guy is developing a liquid bio-stimulant and has set up a 3km kelp farm off the Scottish coast to further add to the company’s intake.  Sugar-kelp (Laminaria saccharina) lines are ‘seeded’ and stretched out between buoys in October before harvesting in May and June.  Transitioning from the largely male dominated fishing industry Guy has nothing but high praise for the horticulture sector, enjoying the camaraderie and  generous sharing of knowledge.

Guy’s Organic Peat Free Seaweed Enriched Compost can be found at Atlantic Garden.