Online workshops

Organic Gardening for all

Due to the ongoing high level of interest we are repeating the series of three inter-linked workshops. They will give a good grounding on how to grow organic food and help you to start your own food garden or improve your existing plot.

The workshops will be presented by Colin Shaw who has been an avid organic gardener for over 30 years. He worked as a freelance writer and photographer for gardening magazines in the UK, US and Australia producing articles on many aspects of amateur and professional growing.

Colin has a Royal Horticultural Society general certificate in horticulture and a City and Guilds qualification in organic gardening. He is an experienced online teacher and was one of the first Open University tutors to teach online back in the 1980s! His full biography can be found here.

Each workshop will last about 60 minutes with time at the end for questions and discussion. The workshops will be delivered as a PowerPoint presentation via Zoom. The material uses image, text, sound and video as appropriate in screen sharing mode. It is much the same as watching a projected presentation. If you have any questions please email us

Making compost

There is a lot of talk about the ‘magic’ of composting. It is often seen as some strange process that is difficult to manage. But composting is a natural process, all living things die and breakdown without any help.

Many questions remain about how to do it and what sort of ‘bin’ to use. There are people who have special brews said to be necessary for composting to work. Others have elaborate bins while some just put their garden waste in a corner, call it a compost heap and hope for the best!

The workshop will guide you through a tried and tested way to compost garden waste in as little as six weeks. It is suitable for beginners or anybody who wants to make good compost.

Why grow organic food?

Being ‘organic’ is gardening with nature and not fighting it. The overall approach is sustainable and supports biodiversity. It’s also about growing without the use of artificial pesticides and fertilisers.

This workshop will outline the best way to grow crops with no artificial inputs. You’ll learn how to prepare your soil for the new season and see some of the work we’ve done over the years to produce huge crops from small beds. Most of all we hope you will see that being an organic grower is not difficult and that it makes complete sense in terms of sustainability and resilience in the challenging times we face.

Microbed gardens

Not everybody has access to a large garden or the ability to take on an allotment. Microbed gardens show that it is possible to grow significant amounts of food in small spaces by using intensive planting techniques and good crop management. The idea grew out of Square Foot Gardening which was popular in the US in the 1990s.

Continuing trials have proved it is possible to get high yields from metre square raised beds e.g. 9kg of onions, 9kg of carrots and 9kg of runner beans. Trials this year produced the equivalent of 14.5 kg of potatoes from just a square metre. Find out how to grow bumper crops in small spaces, or using the methods to get more produce from a large garden, by joining this workshop.