Self Sufficiency

fruit50  Self Sufficiency

As survival is all about food and shelter we focus on growing and storing your own produce and energy capture.

Big Marrow - Self Sufficiency

This one day course is about making the most of your own space whether it is salads and herbs in a window box, or storing fuel in your wood.

For you to get the most from the course we ask you to bring details of your own garden so we can work through your examples.

The following details are useful:
Approximate size – square meters or acreage
Orientation – the direction the beds face
Shelter – Shaded area, part or full sun, wind exposure
Soil Type – Sandy, clay, acidic or alkali
The plants that thrive or struggle.

Our 3 acre site has been planted according to the principles of John Seymour, the iconic self-sufficiency guru. It shows how food can be grown efficiently with rotation cropping and companion planting. The trees are planted as a forest garden with a nuttery planted with an understorey of soft fruit. There is also an orchard alongside the reed bed.

We endeavour to intersperse the theory of self-sufficiency with practical work. Depending on the season we will make elderflower champagne in the Spring, hedgerow wine, chutneys and jams in the Autumn.


9.30am Hot drink & chat
10.00am Design – principles of garden design

Beans or brassica; crop cycling explained
Feed or fertiliser; green manure or fallow?
Bugs or beetles? Companion planting

Tour of the 3 acre site
What grows wild?


14.00pm Composting and recycling

Storing – equipment & methods
Extending the seasons

16.00pm Getting the hands dirty!
16.30pm Home

Tutor: Nick Burton

Nick studied Chemistry of Natural Recourses at university but a chance gift of the book Self–Sufficiency by John Seymour in 1977 meant a lifetime following these principles. With 15 years’ experience as a sailing instructor and 5 years explaining the merits of “small beer” to the public at Shugborough, he is well equipped to make the course informative and fun.

Please see Our Calendar for dates and times.

What to bring:
A set of warm clothes that you don’t mind getting damaged, plus a waterproof and boots.

Hot drinks are provided all day with soup (V) and bread for lunch, but please bring a packed lunch if required.