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Get Growing

from £183.75

Learn to grow your own with this introduction to veg growing with Head Gardener Jonny

Spend a day discovering the basics of growing your own veg with River Cottage Head Gardener Jonny Callis and take inspiration from the produce and gardening methods used in the River Cottage Kitchen Garden.

At River Cottage we believe growing your own veg has the power to change your life. In these times of intensive farming, reliance on harmful pesticides and the detrimental effect it has on our environment, we need to be more reliant on our own patches of safe soil. If you are keen to learn more about transforming your patio, garden or allotment into a productive veg plot then come and Get Growing!

This hugely informative day is led by our Head Gardener Jonny Callis who is an expert in organic gardening and is responsible for keeping our chefs supplied with the finest organic veg. He will guide you through a combination of theory and practical demonstrations including tours of our famous walled kitchen garden and abundant polytunnels.

From planning and tools, to considering what to grow and where, to seed sowing, pruning, pests and disease, this is the perfect introductory day for both the curious and committed. You will be taught a comprehensive range of skills and techniques focused on vegetable and fruit growing including a cookery interlude with one of the River Cottage chefs.

  • Get Growing

    I enjoy growing my own vegetables, however, am very much a novice gardener. Our course tutor was very knowledgable, patient and I learnt so much. I am so inspired and he has given me a huge confidence boost to get outdoors and grow more veg. Thank-you for a lovely day and...

    HP Attended 24 March 2023

    5.0 out of 5

Your day

10:00 - 17:00

  • Arrive at River Cottage

    You’ll begin your River Cottage experience with a 10-15 minute walk through the wonderful pathways down to the farm, enabling you to really soak up the views of the valley.

  • Make yourself at home

    You will meet our Head Gardener, Jonny, and River Cottage team host over tea or coffee and tasty treats fresh from the kitchen.

  • Session one

    You will start by discussing what current space you have and which areas you most want to learn about during the day. Jonny will talk about the amazing variety, value and flavours you can achieve by growing your own vegetables and give practical advice on tools and site.

  • Session two

    Jonny will take you on a tour of the kitchen garden to learn about crop rotation, the perfect compost, pruning and making your soil work for you.

  • Chef demonstration

    Be inspired by a seasonal vegetable cookery demo, with a chance to have all of your veg questions answered by one of the River Cottage chefs.

  • Lunch

    Food is always the focus at River Cottage, and a delicious seasonal two-course lunch will be one of the highlights of your day.

  • Session three

    Grow what you eat. How to choose what crops to grow, rotation and companion planting.

  • Session four

    Step back outside to take a guided tour of our polytunnels and learn the practical benefits of growing under cover. Jonny will teach you the fundamentals of propagation, so you can raise your plants from seed or cuttings. You’ll also plant up your seed trays and Jonny will talk you through the next steps to follow once you have taken them home.

  • Session five

    Know your enemy! In the final session, you will learn about organic solutions to deal with the most common garden pests and diseases.

  • Q&A

    By now you will be probably be bursting with questions, so this will be your opportunity to take away some of our Head Gardener’s expert advice for successful growing at home.

  • Departure

    At the end of the day you’ll head back up the hill to the car park, full of confidence to get the most out of your garden. You'll take home an Information pack from your day, a River Cottage Handbook, the seed trays you'll have planted and an organic seed packet.

Please note: This is a guide to the activities that will make up your course at River Cottage. This is by no means set in stone and will depend on seasonal availability.

On occasion cookery schools will use equipment that includes induction hobs. It is recommended that people with pace makers should not work on these units. If you are concerned or would like to check whether or not induction hobs will be used on the course you are interested in, please call us on 01297 630302.

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Further information...

This course is run from River Cottage HQ on the Dorset/Devon borders. Full address details of HQ will be provided once you have booked.

We are a licensed venue. We have a wide selection of the finest organic wines available to purchase.

Stay in our famous Farmhouse, click here. For other local accommodation click here.

We would advise that this course is only really suitable for 12 years of age and upwards. Under 16s must be accompanied by a paying adult. We put these guidelines in place for the safety, comfort and enjoyment of all our guests.

With many of our courses there are often treats and leftovers to take away with you. In our quest to be more sustainable we are encouraging guests to bring their own containers and bags to transport their produce home. Details of what is required for each course will be included in booking emails.

  • Sustainable Restaurant Association
  • Food and Travel Magazine 2017
  • Great British Food Awards 2017
  • Great British Food Awards 2018