Courses Overview >> Short courses >> Sustainable Growing for Beginners Autumn 2020 (Online Course)

Sustainable Growing for Beginners Autumn 2020 (Online Course)

Key Info: 
  • Garden planning and basic design
  • Practice and enhance your gardening skills alongside professional growers throughout the season
£ 150.00
This course is full.

Our three month Sustainable Growing Course for beginners is a stand-alone course designed to introduce you to the key elements of growing your own food at home this autumn. You will learn how to follow sustainable principles which not only provide food, but also enrich growing spaces for wildlife and nourish the soil in a way that offers an abundance of food in the long term.

We aim to help you develop a relationship with your garden and the crops you grow, so that you are not simply following instructions but instead feel empowered to find the way that works best for you and your gardens. We will continue our ‘vegetable of the week’ where we introduce individual crops in depth, give access to a Facebook page where ideas, questions and successes can be shared, an online forum, regular Zoom calls with our Head Gardener, Colum Pawson, plus theory sessions delivered by video with supporting written material. Topics covered will include pest and disease, green manures, composting, seeds saving, crop rotation, container gardening, winter planning, harvesting crops and growing in polytunnels and greenhouses. We also offer regular updates of what we are doing in our extensive College gardens where we are growing food in many different settings, including our Agroforestry Field, Forest Garden, polytunnels and perennial gardens.

This course builds on the first Sustainable Growing Course, which began earlier this year and has been successful with participants joining from all across the country (and some internationally too!).

Topics covered

Rotation of crops | Seasonal tasks to carry out in the garden | Harvesting | Planting out and preparing the ground | Seed saving | Watering | Compost making | Growing in a greenhouse/polytunnel | Container growing | Winter planning| Green manures

We caught up with Colum to find out more about his career in gardening and what makes him tick. Colum Pawson Q&A >

Further information

Still have questions about this course? Make sure you check out our FAQs page >

What previous participants said

I would like to say what a tremendous pleasure it has been being on this course. I have learnt sooooo much and feel like I am making friends too. It is fabulous to see what everyone else is up to.

This is my first year ever of vegetable growing and I have been totally amazed by what I have achieved. This course has definitely taught me so much in such a short period of time and even friends and family are asking me questions about their own veg growing. So the influence goes even further than the members of the course.

This course is full.
Colum Pawson

Colum Pawson

Colum manages the growing areas around Schumacher College and teaching our horticulture students. Born in Glastonbury, Somerset, Colum admits he is rarely happier than when in a muddy field. He has run a number of small agriculture businesses and also worked as a freelance horticulture consultant. He has run a market garden, worked with community supported agriculture, spent a year as part of an intentional community at Radford Mill, near Bristol, and WOOFed (worked on an organic farm) his way around France and Spain. His spare time is spent walking with his wife and two children, singing and improving his unicycling.

If you would like to book onto one of our short courses, you will need to create an account. This is a simple process of choosing a username, email address and password. Once you have created an account you will receive a verification email. Please click on the verification link within to have full access to the site and to make your booking. (You may need to  check your spam folder if you do not see this email.)  We will email you confirmation of your payment and any further communication about your course application.

Residential accommodation for "Changing the Frame"  is at Higher Close, a 20 minute walk from Schumacher College. All meals will be provided at the college.

A place can not be guaranteed unless we receive your deposit or payment on your chosen course. If you would like to apply for a bursary, please do this before making your course application.

Short Course Bursaries create an opportunity for an individual to experience the powerful transformative learning by joining a course that assists the participant to inspire their wider community and benefits from the participant’s own unique contribution. It is our hope that our bursaries support a wide cross section of participation on our short course programme. The number of bursaries available is limited, competition is strong and funding is not always available for every short course. Please be aware that most bursaries are in the region of 10% – 20% of the course fee so please be prepared to raise funding from other sources.  A bursary award is not intended to cover travel or incidental expenses.

Applications are viewed on a case-by-case basis and we are unable to enter into discussions on any decisions. We generally have many more applications for bursaries than we have funding available. We can only offer one bursary per person per year and priority is given to those who have not attended the college or received a bursary before. To help us support as many people as possible, please only apply if you would be unable to attend the course without a bursary.

How to apply for a bursary

NB: Please do not pay your deposit for the course yet. Any applications received where a deposit has been paid will be rejected and the deposit refunded.

Six weeks before the course is due to start all bursary applications will be considered and responded to.  If successful you will be required to accept our Bursary Terms and Conditions.

Please answer the following:

  1. What does a bursary mean to you?
  2. How will your attendance on this course benefit the wider community?
  3. If your financial situation justifies you applying for a bursary, how much are you able to contribute towards attending this course?

Please be prepared to supply an appropriate reference in support of your application.

More about our growing areas and philosophy

We follow ecological cycles as much as possible. Much of the food is grown in the five and half acre agroforestry field – in a system of alley cropping and in the developing forest garden. The field also has fruit trees and bushes; young nut trees; a flock of pasture fed poultry; two wild life ponds, a craft and pollinator garden and a hazel and willow coppice.

Other areas include two herb gardens; four polytunnels; a perennial no dig vegetable garden and several fruit areas. We compost our garden and kitchen waste for use on site, and use green manures for fertility building.

Our students find their time engaging with food growing, and all it entails, a truly transformative time.   Our gardens are as much about nurturing people as plants, and hundreds of students have found the contact with the land and soil to be a rich learning journey.

Integral to the College’s international learning community, you will get to know students, staff and volunteers through daily meetings and shared activities. There is also a diverse programme of events and evening talks, offered by college residents, visiting teachers and local experts.

Help & Enquiries

 Admission Enquiries
email us  
+ 44 (0) 1803 847212