Training notes 2017

Session 1  -  Getting started     Foggo King

The Basics

  • Look at the conditions you already have, eg sun direction, frost pockets, wind, water levels
  • What do you want to use your garden for, eg food, relaxation, pets, children, all of these?
  • What do you already have growing?
  • Time of year in garden books, bear in mind you are in the north of Scotland. The season is short but very intense.  Things that take a long time to reach maturity eg squashes and tomatoes, need a long protected season
  • How much time to you have to put into your garden?
  • Find methods that help eg rain water collection, raised beds, no dig beds with mulching and green manures
  • Have a favourite book to give you inspiration but don’t expect you garden to look like the one in the book! (think cookery books programmes, my recipes never look the same)
  • Plant more seeds than you think but keep the strong ones
  • Seed swap with a friend or neighbour and maybe pass on some spare plants too
  • Keep a wild space in the garden, no matter how small
  • Mix up your food and flowers, they grow well together and can help avoid pest infestation
  • Have fun
  • Keep trying, there is always next year!

Getting started with organic gardening   (download)


Session 2 - Polytunnels     Maggie Wormald & Toni Clark


In our northerly climate protection from the elements can mean the difference between
being able to produce a crop and not. This can be achieved more easily by growing in a

The available size, price, construction specification etc of these structures are very varied but as a general rule you should purchase as large a structure as you can afford and what your site will accommodate.  Particular attention should be given to siting and shelter.  Wind and snow are the main enemies of polytunnel constructions with both potentially able to destroy a structure in a very short time. Tunnels on exposed sites should be constructed only after erection or planting of a suitable shelter structure - be it fencing, hedge etc. The structure itself should be made from the highest grade of materials possible with particular attention being paid in exposed areas to the material specification and hoop spacing (which should be closer together to give a stronger structure together with use of crop bars for extra bracing). Seek the manufacturers’ advice where possible and speak with others who already have polytunnels.   

Read the complete notes  including lists of books and tunnel suppliers.


Session 3 - Permaculture Clive Brandon & Julie Plumridge

Grow North Workshop at Black Isle Permaculture & Arts, May 6th 2017
Permaculture in the Garden

Permaculture workshop design for 6th May - Introduce 3 ethics and 12 principles on
walk around site and looking at examples of each and how they can be
incorporated in our designs - then workshop lasagne mulch and hugel bed II

This workshop will provide an introduction to the principles, ethics and basics of
Permaculture.  During the session we'll look at practical examples of Permaculture design and how they can be applied to create sustainable habitats.

We'll touch on forest gardening, no dig gardening, perennial veg, mulching, elements,
functions and stacking, and look at how they can be integrated into your garden with
hands on activities.  At the end we'll give further info on the Permaculture Association, resources, and help on where to go next.

Permaculture is an ethically based, whole-systems design approach to create sustainable human settlements and institutions.  Although rooted in horticulture and agriculture, permaculture design also touches on regional planning, ecology, animal husbandry, technology, architecture and international development.

The 'Prime Directive of Permaculture'

"The only ethical decision is to take responsibility for our own existence and that of our children."   Bill Mollison.

Read the  complete notes  including list of links and resources.


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