There has never been a better time to think about "growing your own"! And whether you have a small garden or thoughts of rolling acres our courses will help you learn "how". Even the smallest patch of lawn can become an oasis of productive garden and for those with more land there is the prospect of producing eggs and meat. And even without land you can learn to brew your own ales and bake your own bread. What's more all this can all be done without poisons and preservatives.
Our focus is on "Growing your own" as a lifestyle choice rather than a commercial activity. All our courses include:
Planning a smallholding - Garden layout, the orchard, the chickens, the pigs, the soil, the shelter belts, clearing rough land, how to get started, hedges, pathways.
Organic Gardening - basic principles of the organic cycle, improving your soil, creating a vibrant ecosystem, bringing in fertility, the role of the animals, the management of pests
Poultry Management - the day to day routine, types of poultry run, protection from predators, prevention of disease, feeding rations
Pig Husbandry - basic principles of pig husbandry, methods of fencing, the design of the pig sty, the choice of breeds
Beekeeping - structure of the beehive and the annual cycle of bee activity, how to get started, basic equipment needed
Basket Making - a day spent making a simple round basket, different types of weave, how to manage and cut your own willow
Building and Block laying - basic practical steps in building a simple wall, making cement, using trowel, level and builder's line
Storing and preserving food - Essentials of different methods of preserving produce by freezing, bottling, jam/jelly/wine making, drying, clamping and salting
Scything and grass management - how to manage your grassland, make hay and use a modern scythe effectively
Wine and Beer Making - "Hands on" practical work making wine and beer as appropriate to the season
Jam and Bread Making - part of the everyday routine of the smallholder
Knots and Ropework - a useful wet day activity that always proves popular
Top fruit and soft fruit growing - planning of the orchard, tips for planting and pruning
Composting - the practical demonstration of how to manage this most vital part of your garden - the compost heap
Self sufficiency in the kitchen - Practical work to prepare and cook home grown produce in the kitchen, including sausage making and bacon curing.
Course content always aims to cater for individual requirements, as well as being dependent on the weather and the time of year. There is a good mixture of practical and theoretical work. We aim to give students a first hand experience of the day to day realities of living on a smallholding.
To see the current programme, availability and make a booking click here.