Foundation in Husbandry Skills (2 days)



If you are interested in growing more of the food you eat each week, and wish to do so in a natural, ethical, time-honoured and sustainable way, mindful of the rhythms of nature, then our Husbandry Skills courses are probably for you!

Course dates:

THIS COURSE HAS BEEN POSTPONED – Date to be confirmed, email for more details.

Time: 10am – 4pm

Price: £140 – Duration: 2 Days

Minimum age: 16

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This foundation course provides a deeper understanding of the husbandry of our land and resources within it, including consideration and application of your personal requirements and situation. For basic knowledge of these topics in a shorter time-scale, please see our Introduction to Husbandry one-day course.

Husbandry is the practice of productively managing nature’s ecologies within your own boundaries and capabilities, whilst developing your personal relationship with your ‘bit of dirt’, be it a small yard, a garden or a larger piece of land. In so doing, we are addressing some of the most important aspects of our simple relationship as human beings with the earth.

Our Husbandry Skills courses will offer you a fascinating introduction to the philosophical, theoretical and historical aspects of husbandry whilst also providing real ‘hands-on’ experience – turning principles into practices that should serve you well in all the years to come.

By the end of the course you will hopefully not only be inspired by some new ideas and techniques, but also by ways of looking and seeing – plus you get to take home plenty of learning materials, including literally the seeds you sowed.

Course numbers are restricted to a maximum of 10 people so there will be plenty of time for your questions and one-to-one attention.

Under normal circumstances, lunch and refreshments would be provided from produce grown at the Husbandry School. However due to the current government guidelines, we are asking course participants to provide their own lunch, snacks and refreshments.

Course content includes:

  • What husbandry is all about
  • An explanation of the origins of husbandry in our culture
  • Husbandry in history – setting your plot in context
  • Soils – what they are, and understanding their ecology
  • Methods of building and adding to soils to improve and maintaining fertility
  • Water – Irrigation and drainage methods and understanding the link between them
  • Making and using raised beds – and why
  • Enclosing your land – hedges, fences and boundaries
  • The importance of heritage varieties of crops
  • Propagating plants from cuttings
  • Handling and sowing seeds to take away with you
  • Planting out of previously grown seeds
  • Making your plants happy and productive using companion planting for weed and pest control
  • Extending gardens upwards – and why
  • World planting systems and how they can be used

Both the introduction and foundation courses will include:

Edible Flowers;

Edible flowers have been used for centuries to flavour salads and various dishes as well as for their medicinal properties. Recently there has been a lot of interest in restoring these edible delights back into the kitchen. Learn about some long forgotten flowers and be amazed at what you can eat from your own garden and the beauty and flavour they can bring to your meals.

We will be exploring:

  • Identifying and choosing edible flowers
  • Learn about what to grow and how to grow it
  • Harvesting and storing the crop
  • Using edible flowers in salads and combining tastes and flavours
  • Cooking flowers in the kitchen
  • Making flower preserves, flower oils and petal sugars.

Garden Remedies;

At the Husbandry School we use lots of natural methods to keep our plants healthy and reduce pests, including making natural fertilizers and tonics, companion planting and inventive ways to deter slugs! This part of the course will give you an insight into looking after your garden in an environmentally friendly way.

We will be exploring:

  • Using plants to feed each other
  • Making natural liquid feeds and tonics
  • Pest control using plants and fibres ( make garlic tea and slug rugs from sheep’s wool)
  • Make your own hand scrub from plants in your garden (substituting plants for household products) and make a gentle scrub for your hard working hands.

Husbandry Matters for the garden;

This part of the course looks at the ancient art of Husbandry and how its principles and practices can be adopted in your own garden. Learn how to plan future projects in a sustainable way, setting up good practice right from the start.

We will be exploring:

  • Planning the space
  • Companion planting
  • Plant health
  • Pest Control
  • Plant Supports
  • Garden Structures

Allotment Allies

This part of the course explores Husbandry principles and practice and how to apply them to your own allotment or garden, large or small. Learn lots of practical things and ideas including how to plan, structure and look after your veg patch, soil management and creative planting ideas.

We will be looking at:

  • Looking after the soil
  • Creating structures such as raised beds, arches and climbing supports from the plants themselves.
  • Vertical cropping – making the most of the space available
  • Companion planting for health and vitality
  • Pest control – using plants
  • Making the most of your space, growing from pots to plots

Additional information




What previous participants said:

Would recommend this course to anyone interested in growing produce in an eco friendly way.”

I loved every minute – I found it totally inspiring.”

It fitted the weekend perfectly – I would be happy to stay for weeks!”

It’s husbandry in action – what easier way to learn and understand?”

I had a lovely time and would love to come back and get my hands dirty.”

About the tutors; Carole and Jonty Williams

Carole’s background is in teaching – she took a Degree in special educational needs in London. She has taught in residential special needs units focusing on behavioral management, and in nursery and primary schools, again with a strong emphasis on special needs.She has also worked as a community development leader for a district council rural art and sport project, and has twenty years of experience as a trainer and workshop leader in Devon whilst also chairing a charity promoting health and wellbeing of children through play. Above all she has both a passion and a strong ability to enable others to thrive.

Jonty’s interest began with a Degree in ecology and genetics at Lancaster University. This led, through an interest in all things to do with soil, to a five year apprenticeship in husbandry. He was taught and mentored by a countryman called Walter Edwards, who was brought up in Devon’s finest traditions of looking after the land and all things on it. Jonty went on to run a successful dairy herd for many years, and lately has taken on the task of understanding and learning about how we can renew the practices of husbandry today.
Prior to their move into the Husbandry School, Carole and Jonty together set up and ran a 40-tutor Course Centre in Arts, Crafts and Rural Skills on their farm in Devon.


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