Sally runs two workshops at Empire Farm.

Living on one acre or less

This workshop is based on the one acre plot. During the day Sally will discuss planning your plot, constructing polytunnels and fruit cages, soil and fertility, crop rotations, perennial vegetables, orchards and forest gardens,  as well as the livestock that are suitable for small spaces (poultry, pigs, goats, fish and bees).  There is also a session on equipment and fencing. You will be able to see trials of the more unusual such as butterbean, lentils and chick peas.  It’s an information-packed day that will inspire you to maximise the productivity of your own plot and  suit people with a large back garden, the corner of a field or a few acres, as the basics are applicable to plots of all sizes. Sally will also take a look at issues such as climate change and how this may affect the way we manage our plots, especially in face of extreme weather.

The workshop takes place several times during the year, and the content of the day varies slightly with with the seasons. In early  spring you will see the plots ready for planting up and the focus will be on the crops that can be grown, rotations etc.  The hot bed will be in action. By late spring the first crops will be in the ground, there will be lots of seed trays in the polytunnel and the weaners will have arrived and there may be quail and ducklings.  By summer the beds are full of crops and the polytunnel is filled with summer salad crops. The aquaponics system will be in action. By autumn, the beds will have been cleared away, green manures established and the pigs will be approaching slaughter weight. Its a good time to think about projects for the year ahead and order seeds and tubers.

Next date 2020   Sunday 13 September  2020  Fully booked

Introduction to smallholding

This popular workshop covers a wealth of topics. Its ideal for people thinking about making that step into buying or renting land  or  those who have a large garden and are wondering what they can do with it in order to become more self-sufficient. Sally covers topics such as the amount of land you need, the absolute essentials, the desirables and things to avoid.  She will cover the  issues associated with planning,  and water and electricity supply,  how to register your smallholding and give you details of some of the grants and subsidies that  you may be able to claim. During the session other topics such as land management, hedging, pasture, rotations, weed control, fencing and equipment are covered. There is a walk/talk  around Empire Farm to view the various livestock pens, polytunnel and the new one-acre plot set up to show people how you can farm on small plots of  land and be mostly self-sufficient in meat, eggs and veg.

The afternoon session is focused on livestock, covering poultry, sheep, goats, pigs, cattle, and bees – setting up, purchase of stock, how much land they need and the costs of keeping them. We will touch on the sale of produce too. [Note there is no time to go into the detail of keeping livestock on this course rather the pros and cons of the different animal types].

Next date will be spring 2021