My Week: Monty Don

The gardener and broadcaster tends the animals on his farm and has a new TV series to launch
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The Independent Online


I'm up at 8am as our cow Genevieve calved 10 days early last night and I am a little worried that the calf isn't sucking very well.

I am at the farm supplies near our farm in Hertfordshire as soon as it opens, and I get iodine, a bottle and and a teat, but when I get back all is well and the calf is doing fine. So then I spend the rest of the morning moving the animals around, making sure Genevieve is OK, getting water in, because over the past six weeks all the water on the farm has frozen. I have to fill a huge container with about 20 buckets of water from the nearby stream; just all the kind of stuff you do on a farm every day. In the afternoon I do some writing and in the evening I have a long telephone meeting with my publisher over a book that's coming out in the autumn called the Home Cook Book and then go to bed exhausted.


My programme My Dream Farm was on Channel 4 last night. At times it was a difficult programme to make – there are a lot of compromises working in television – but I am glad it reached people who generally wouldn't have watched anything to do with gardening. Next up I have a my series Mastercrafts starting on BBC2 next Friday. In between writing I am checking on the calf and giving a little bit of extra time to the sheep and the cows as I am planning on being away for Wednesday and Thursday.


Today I go down to London and do The Book Show on Sky and then I head over to the BBC and have a meeting with the head of BBC2, Janice Hadlow, about a programme we are going to be doing this spring and summer called Italian Gardens. Then I jump on a train up to Birmingham where the Soil Association conference is taking place. There is a dinner which was great as I get to meet a lot of like-minded people.


I am at the Soil Association conference all day, chairing discussions and giving prizes for the Food for Life programme, which is by far the best thing and I find genuinely inspiring, because the prizes are going to eight- to 11-year-olds who are growing food for their schools and eating it at school. It is fantastic to hear what they are doing. I leave Birmingham and get home very late.


I start the day by writing yet another column and then I spend my afternoon in the farm checking on the animals and doing odd jobs. Tonight my eldest son is coming home from agricultural college and I will have dinner with him and my wife, which I am really looking forward to.

Mastercrafts begins on BBC2 at 9pm on Friday