Grow your own workshops at Greenside Up
Last weekend saw the first of four new grow your own workshops planned for the Greenside up HQ and it was a pleasure to welcome everyone to our family home and garden.
Very soon we’ll be hosting the second in the series of workshops being held here and reflecting upon the first day with learners, I’m in a much better place to let you know what to expect if you join us.
A holistic grow your own experience
A grow your own workshop at Greenside Up is more than just a ‘how to’ session, it’s an insight into a lifestyle that develops once we make the decision to ditch the chemicals, think more about the environment and make the switch to ‘real food’ rather than mass processed, pre-packaged alternatives.
Don’t expect a pristine garden with neatly trimmed lawns here. Our garden is one that welcomes biodiversity, has pets wandering around and teens that occasionally like to launch a sliotar across the yard and into the veggie patch.
What you can expect
Compared to a more formal learning environment, the day will be a relaxed affair, though you’ll go home with a head full of information and a clearer understanding of how to manage your vegetable garden without chemicals.
The (loose) structure
Beginning with tea and some home-baked refreshments to ease the introductions, we’ll move on to some more structured time when I’ll be sharing lots of information about organic vegetable growing, sharing the basic principles involved that include crop rotation, vegetable families, companion planting and alternatives to pesticides and herbicides. The morning of learning will be followed by a sociable lunch and then we’ll head outside to prevent that afternoon slump.
During the practical time, I’ll be encouraging everyone to have a go at transplanting seedlings and sowing some seeds. Weather and time permitting we’ll be planting some of the unusual or blight resistant potatoes I’ve chosen this year that include Mizen, Puru Purple, Pink Fir Apples and Cara’s and we’ll also touch on vegetable garden layout and design as well as composting and general soil management.
If you join one of our unique workshops you can expect an intimate learning experience as we limit numbers to just 8 people.
This allows for a feeling of friendliness in an environment where you won’t feel intimidated by large crowds and a space where questions are naturally asked and discussions take place.
Included in the workshop fee is a light lunch and refreshments on arrival so you can expect some tasty homemade treats as we talk and learn. During the first workshop we sat around the lunch table and indulged on butternut squash soup with toasted sunflower seeds, tore into some focaccia bread and wiped our bowls with buttered nutty soda bread as we chatted. When the crops begin to grow in the garden, lunches will be made from homegrown produce or perhaps foraged from the hedgerows. Dietary requirements can be catered for too once I’m aware of them.
The workshops aren’t just about sitting at a table; there are lots of learning opportunities outside too.
We keep bees and hens here, have reared pigs and grow lots of vegetables during the main seasons. As we walk around outside I’ll point out the various ways we’ve approached our organic garden; there are lots of topics to chat about or shrubs to take cuttings from.
The comfrey patch needs taming and there’s enough raspberry canes popping up in the ‘lawn’ for everyone to take one or two. As our garden has developed we can see mistakes and areas for improvement and these observations are shared.
When’s the next workshop?
Are you tempted? The next workshop is due to take place on Sunday, 10th April from 11am to 4pm and you’re very welcome to join us, though pre-booking is essential. The cost is €65 but if you book more workshops in advance, the price reduces. See the workshop page for more information. If you’re travelling, a couple of local B & B’s come highly recommended nearby, including a holistic vegan retreat.
Here’s some of the feedback from learners who attended the first workshop:
“What a brilliant holistic day, joining the dots between all the existing plants I love and already have in the garden and starting vegetables and pollinator friendly flowers from seeds. Feel able now to grow more of anything or at least give it a go” ~ Frances
“Greenside Up is a fantastic experience, and from the homebakes welcome to the practical workshops it is a rich yet simple experience” ~ Eilish
“Great way to learn in an informal setting” ~ Trevor