The Idler Guide to Growing Vegetables and Herbs, with Alys Fowler

Alys Fowler

Unit price

£90.00

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“OH HOW HAPPY THE FARMER’S LIFE!” – Virgil

IF YOU’VE EVER wanted to grow your own vegetables and herbs, or have made a start but need extra guidance, then this is the course for you.

Whether you just want to grow a few herbs on the windowsill, or run a whole allotment, you’ll find all you need to know on our fantastic video-based course, from how to prepare good soil to how to sow seeds, and how to nurture and harvest your plants.

Our interactive, online course has been devised, written and presented by the prolific author, broadcaster and organic gardener, Alys Fowler, whose approach could be defined as “low effort, high productivity”. It consists of eight half hour films, 30 pages of notes, and a community forum where you can put questions to Alys directly.

The films are shot on Alys’s allotment and in her back garden.

The course is full of good sense and grounded advice. Alys rejects the hard work of digging, for example, in favour of mulching, which encourages the worms, who do the digging for you. She sees nothing wrong in buying young plants from the garden centre rather than growing everything from seed. She’ll show you how to make compost. She’ll explain the principles of good gardening, so students will gain a real understanding of why they are doing things in a certain way.

You will learn how a small space can be surprisingly productive.

Alys will show you how to care for your growing plants, how to harvest your food and finally how to preserve the food you have grown.

The course is divided into four chronological parts, each divided into two sections. You will be taken through a gardening year, from early spring to late summer.

Each of the four parts consists of two films and a set of notes. Alys’s pupils are also given access to a forum where Alys will reply to your gardening questions, and where you may also meet other students.

You can watch the films as many times as you like, at any time, for ever!

Here’s a run down of our course:

Parts One and Two: Spring

Alys gives clear instructions to the novice on what to do in April.

Part One: Soil. How to create fantastic soil using cardboard and old plants. How to encourage worms and increase fertility. How to make compost. Length: 30 minutes.

Part Two: Seeds and seedlings. How to sow seeds on the windowsill. The principles of germination. Buying young plants. Planting outside. Sowing outside. Feeding. Pests, diseases and other troubles. Length: 38 minutes.

Part Three and Four: Early Summer

Alys gives clear instructions to the novice on what to do in May and June.

The Cloche.  Protecting your growing herbs and vegetables from weather, pests, diseases and other troubles. Planting.

Parts Five and Six: Late Summer

Alys gives clear instructions to the novice on what to do in July and August:

Growing tender crops, feeding regimes, pruning and preparing for winter salads and other crops.

Part Seven and Eight: Autumn into Winter

Alys gives clear instructions to the noise on what to do in September and October:

Last sowings of the year. How to harvest, store and preserve your bounty.

Cost:

Full course: £90


About the Tutor

Alys Fowler is a gardener with twenty years experience. She grows her own herbs and vegetables from her allotment and back garden. She is the author of four books including The Thrifty Gardener (2007), The Edible Garden (2010), The Thrifty Forager (2011) and Abdundance: How to Store and Preserve Your Garden Produce (2013). Alys contributes to the Guardian (see her columns here).
Alys trained at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew.


Details

What do I get?

You get eight half hour films, released seasonally in four parts, where Alys teaches you the various techniques that you’ll need to grow your own food. You also get 30-40 pages of notes by Alys, and access to our gardening forum, where you can ask Alys a question and meet other students.

Who is it for?

The course is aimed at both complete beginners and those of you who have made a few early attempts at gardening but are still in the apprentice stage.

Is the advice only applicable to Europe?

The techniques can be used anywhere. Consult your seed packet and heed your local frost warnings, but the rest of the advice in these films is about good plant care and creating healthy soils, which is all universal stuff.

How many times can I watch the films?

You can watch the films as many times as you like, any time.

Are the films downloadable?

Yes, the films are downloadable.

Reviews

Write a review

idler
3/03/2016

Gardening course
This course is a down to earth presentation in both deed and word and clearly exemplifies the Husbandry aspect of the Idler philosophy, writes Michael Payne.

Not your three minute bites here, more lengthy explorations of the basics with the camera focusing on Alys’s activities. With each half hour programme developing an activity specific to the season, these eight episodes adequately cover the four seasons of gardening.

The course explains what can be grown in a small city garden as well as on an allotment plot. Whether it be a polycultural approach in a back garden, where vegetables are mixed with cottage garden flowers or a more traditional approach within an allotment plot, this is the course for you.

Alys explains more about soil conditioning, sowing, planting and weeding than all the TV programmes put together.

By concentrating on the basics and giving time for the viewer to assimilate what is being done is probably the best aspect of this course. There are also additional Notes that come with each episode.

With a delivery far removed from any Titchmarsh narrative, one learns practicalities that are so essential to understanding the basics of creating an allotment / garden.

This is probably the nearest you will get to a well presented gardening programme since the heady days of Geoff Hamilton, Monty notwithstanding.

Reviews

idler
3/03/2016

Gardening course
This course is a down to earth presentation in both deed and word and clearly exemplifies the Husbandry aspect of the Idler philosophy, writes Michael Payne.

Not your three minute bites here, more lengthy explorations of the basics with the camera focusing on Alys’s activities. With each half hour programme developing an activity specific to the season, these eight episodes adequately cover the four seasons of gardening.

The course explains what can be grown in a small city garden as well as on an allotment plot. Whether it be a polycultural approach in a back garden, where vegetables are mixed with cottage garden flowers or a more traditional approach within an allotment plot, this is the course for you.

Alys explains more about soil conditioning, sowing, planting and weeding than all the TV programmes put together.

By concentrating on the basics and giving time for the viewer to assimilate what is being done is probably the best aspect of this course. There are also additional Notes that come with each episode.

With a delivery far removed from any Titchmarsh narrative, one learns practicalities that are so essential to understanding the basics of creating an allotment / garden.

This is probably the nearest you will get to a well presented gardening programme since the heady days of Geoff Hamilton, Monty notwithstanding.