FOR overnight gardening sensation Richard Suggett, it all started with horse manure for Christmas.

Last week the green-fingered Littlehampton resident’s online radio show rocketed up the charts to become the second most popular gardening podcast in the country.

“The Veg Grower Podcast” has been a six-year labour of love for 37-year-old Richard.

But his passion for gardening goes back to his childhood, when grandad Peter Knowles fostered his talent.

“I was ten years old when I started,” Richard said.

“Every time I went to his as a child there were always vegetables in his back garden.

“When I started getting interested he encouraged me, he always used to say I had taken over part of his garden.

“He actually bought me lots of horse manure for Christmas once. At the time I wasn’t sure about it but it was quite a nice thing.”

But it was not until after Peter died three years ago that Richard found out he was following in his grandad’s footsteps in spreading the gardening gospel.

“When the Second World War broke out, my grandad was in school in West Chiltington,” the refrigeration engineer said.

“He had grown up on a nursery, which the headmaster knew, so he got Peter to teach everyone else in the school how to garden.

“I never knew that until the vicar brought it up at his funeral. He was always quite modest.

“I still use the greenhouse he built by himself 40 years ago.”

Richard’s newfound popularity means he now reaches listeners all over the world.

“I had one person from the Netherlands contact me because they had bought an allotment after listening to my podcast,” he said.

“I’m just a man in a shed with a microphone, it’s completely out of the blue.

“So much work has gone into this, it’s been six years in the making.”

On his online show, Richard shares tips for vegetable gardening and speaks to fellow enthusiasts.

But he has not been afraid to get controversial.

“I was at one seed swap in Brighton which I didn’t name, but I had a bit of a rant after because I felt conned,” he said.

“There were only two tables for swapping and the rest wasn’t gardening related.”

Still, Richard hopes his podcast will encourage more people to get their hands dirty.