Sally is an experienced no-dig, organic gardener and plant lover, growing her first plants at the tender age of 5. A love of growing plants must be in her genes as she was encouraged by both grandfathers who were keen vegetable growers.
On moving to a 3-acre smallholding in Hampshire, her dreams of keeping animals were realized and soon she had a menagerie of chickens, ducks, geese and a few sheep. A few years later, a visit to Rosemary Verey’s potager at Barnsley House led to development of a new kitchen garden.
A lack of space (common on all smallholdings!) resulted in the move to Empire Farm in Somerset. Although the farm has 100 acres with organic certification, Sally works on about 10 acres, leaving the rest for hay and grazing by local farmers.
Currently, her main focus is her walled garden which extends to about two-thirds of an acre. The walled garden was completely overgrown when she moved to the farm so it was cleared by pigs. The orchard and kitchen garden were established first and now Sally is working on restoring the rest of the garden with ornamental areas, rills (harvesting water from the house roof), tropical beds, gravel gardens and experimental zones. She loves to grow unusual vegetables, such as yakon, oca, achocha, tree spinach etc and experiment with different methods. Her latest trials include deep mulching in Ruth Stout style, growing brassica continuously in the same beds with no rotation (Natural Agriculture), bokashi composting, and growing in recycled aggregate.
Sally studied Natural Sciences (botany) at Girton College, Cambridge. After a few years for research into ecological restoration of quarries and then teaching, Sally set up an environmental photolibrary and started writing articles and non-fiction books. To-date, she has written more than 250 books, mostly children’s non fiction, on a wealth of subjects including natural history, science, and geography.
She is editor of Organic Farming Magazine published by the Soil Association and writes for magazines such as for Living Earth, Bloom and Amateur Gardening and other titles in the gardening and smallholder field .
The Healthy Vegetable Garden, was published in September 2021. This book looks at how you can create a healthy, biodiverse growing space packed with vegetables and flowers fuelled by a healthy soil. There are plenty of ideas on how to improve your soil, make compost, mix up your planting, attract pollinators and natural predators plus manage pests and diseases organically. Read an extract here
After writing on climate change and other environmental issues for many years, she teamed up with Kim Stoddart, and they wrote The Climate Change Garden which was published by Green Rocket Books in 2019 (more on their Climate Change Garden website). So much is changing in this field that a new edition was published in 2023 by Cool Spring Press (Quarto Group).
Another of her books, One Living on an acre or less, was published by Green Books and launched at the Edible Gardening Show at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire in March 2016. A new edition was published in 2021 with an extra chapter on coping with extremes of climate. With the continuing interest in self sufficiency it continues to sell well.
She also enjoyed writing a biography on one of her heroes, David Attenborough. The Incredible Life of David Attenborough was published by HarperCollins in autumn 2017.
Sally gives talks on smallholding, growing on small spaces, organic gardening and climate change gardening. She has been a speaker at numerous shows including RHS Hampton Court Flower Festival, the Edible Garden Show, River Cottage Festival and the Welsh Spring Festival. Recently she was a speaker at the North West Flower Festival in Seattle, USA. She also provides consultancy on climate change gardening and smallholding matters.
Follow Sally on Twitter @Sally_Morgan and on instagram @the_organic_plot
Listen to some of youtube / podcasts featuring Sally talking about her books
Naomi Starkman of Civil Eats in the US interviewed Sally about gardening through climate change
More recently Sally was interviewed about climate change in gardens by the German broadcaster ZDF https://www.zdf.de/nachrichten/heute-in-europa/klimawandel-in-englands-gaerten-100.html