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Know Your Soil – Understanding Soil and Soil Life for Food Growing

20th May 2023 - 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Join us for a workshop on soils here at Asthall Manor Kitchen Garden (opposite Asthall Manor)

Complete beginners through to keen amateurs all welcome.

In this all-day workshop you will learn the basics of different soils and soil life alongside a bit of helpful theory. Bringing a sample of your own garden soil, you will learn how to identify its type, characteristics and needs. You will also carry out some fun, practical work to apply your learning and to help keep our soil life happy, here in the kitchen garden.

A good understanding of soil health is the foundation to achieving the growing of healthy, nutritious (aka tasty) food. Healthy soil means healthy plants means healthy people.

“Feed the soil, not the plant” has gone from being a maxim of Organic food growing to a keystone of all progressive agricultural practice. We now know that soil biology is far healthier and more sustainable than synthetic soil chemistry. And with the rising prices of fertilisers, we need to befriend soil life more than ever.

The web of soil biology extends above ground and into the air, sustaining many creatures who not only keep pests in check but maintain a healthy balance in a way that no synthetic pesticide could ever match.

We’re all part of the soil community and if we think we’re not, then we’re probably a pest.

Good soil management is also a great way to absorb carbon and increase biodiversity. Did you know that a quarter of all life is in the soil?!

Places are limited to 10 in order to maintain a quality experience for those attending the workshop.

Tea, coffee, snacks and a hearty lunch of soup and bread will be provided.

Please dress appropriately for the weather on the day with sturdy shoes or boots that don’t mind getting muddy and be prepared to get your hands dirty.

Please do consider using public transport or bicycle to get here and if you’re coming by car, please park in the tree-lined avenue nearby. More travel information see here

Asthall Manor Kitchen Garden is currently in the early stages of becoming a social enterprise with the aim of helping to create a healthier, happier food system for all. We grow wildlife-friendly and people-friendly food using Organic methods and Permaculture principles. We grow for a small, local box scheme, for the Potting Shed Café, for chefs and for the Manor kitchen. We do this while providing a mixture of wild habitats such as ponds, log piles, flowering weeds, seed heads and uncut margins for beneficial creatures to feed, hunt, sleep, bask, breed and hibernate in.

The funds raised from this workshop will go towards the development of the kitchen garden and to pay for grower and tutor Tim Mitchell’s time.

Tim is a qualified Level 2 Organic food growing tutor with 6 years teaching experience. He has worked in community food growing and commercial Organic food production for the last 8 years. He is mad about soil life.


Supporter fee

(£90) For those who can afford to pay a little more to show financial solidarity with those on low or no income.

General fee

(£60) For all those who cannot stretch to the Supporter price.

Subsidised fee

(£30) A limited number of places at this price are available to make the workshop accessible for students, low-waged, and/or unpaid workers and anyone who would otherwise be unable to afford to attend.

TO BOOK email: [email protected]

Photo: © Tim Mitchell