Starting your kitchen garden in Autumn for Winter and early Spring crops gives you so many benefits.
You can grow a wide range of produce – including Broccoli, Kale, Cabbage and Asian Greens – as well as delicious root vegetables such as parsnips and swedes.
Your garden will be under less pressure for watering due to Winter rains, and you will enjoy working outside in the crisp sunshine.
Some of my favourite Winter crops are Spinach, Carrots, and Brussels Sprouts.
I will guide you through the planning, planting, care, harvesting and use of delicious home grown foods – delivered as a group coaching program for learner gardeners.
Introducing the Grow Your Own program
An online course specifically designed for learner gardeners just like you
You love fresh, seasonal produce and you want your family to understand and appreciate where food really comes from.
But let’s be real. You might not have any intention of being completely self-sufficient and living off the land – but you want to feel you’ve made a bit of a difference, and had a go. You want to know that if you really had to, you could take care of your food needs.
This is why the Grow Your Own online course was created. To help first time gardeners who don’t feel they have the commitment or skills to grow their own produce. So this course provides the knowledge, support and motivation to set you up for maximum success.
The Grow Your Own course will help you:
- Create a small kitchen garden – because small is beautiful and all you really need.
- Learn how to build the foundations for ultimate growing success.
- Plant a seasonal mix of ingredients – the most delicious kind.
- Gain confidence as a grower, so you can walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
- Engage with and give back to your community (think preserves + relishes that would make nana proud!)
- Connect with other food lovers + newbie food growers, which is invaluable to your success.
- Feel proud of what you’ve created for your family and friends.
- Appreciate the process of growing without waiting too long (hello, we get your need for instant gratification!)
- Save time and money otherwise spent at the shops for vegetables and herbs.
- Create deliciously divine meals for your family and friends.
- Compare your crops with the local producers at your Farmer’s Markets (not that you’re competitive).
- ….and importantly, feel the sense of connection and self-satisfaction that comes from growing your own produce.
Bottom line: You will be able to have your kitchen garden, and enjoy your produce, while still having that thing called a life. I ran the first even Grow Your Own online course over Spring-Summer in 2013, here is some of the feedback I have had from participants:
Am feeling very confident after a shaky beginning. This course is teaching me patience and I love watching everyone else’s progress!!
I love the idea of the online approach, books and radio shows don’t seem to do it for me. I am so excited – its like Michelle Bridges for the vegie grower!!
I am thrilled to be doing this course. My husband and I want to show our son (and our baby that will arrive in a few weeks) how food is grown. I buy organic produce at a local Farmer’s Market each week and it is becoming very expensive. I can’t wait to start growing and eating.
“Here is what I have learnt from running the course: It takes a long time to get the garden growing and to start feeling confident with all the different crops and requirements. People are nervous about starting crops from seed, but really excited (and a bit proud) when they can do it successfully. There is so much benefit in doing this as a group – the connections and sharing in the Facebook group is truly wonderful.” Alice. owner, My Kitchen Garden.
When you commit to join the Grow Your Own online course you get:
- Complete guidance and support. (I’m going to be planting my garden right along with you, so you can see exactly what needs to be done every step of the way.)
- Expert knowledge (I have over 15 years experience in agricultural production systems and home gardening).
- Online content delivered over 20 weeks via 12 modules (starts in Autumn and takes you through the Winter growing season).
- Course materials are designed for access on your PC, tablet and even your phone – so it is easy to stay connected with the course.
- A mix of written and video delivery to keep you engaged and motivated.
- Access to our Facebook Community group for an interactive experience with other food lovers and new kitchen gardeners.
- Lifetime Access, which means you will benefit from the course and community year after year.
- Selected recipes to showcase your home-grown vegetables and herbs, and how-to-guides and videos for cooking techniques such as making preserves.
- Month by Month planting guides – what to put in and when
- Spring planting guides – for you to use beyond this Autumn- Winter course and keep your kitchen garden going.
- Members only discounts for other online courses from My Kitchen Garden, including the Grow Your Own Spring-Summer course.
This course is open now
Course Enrollment closes Friday 3rd April 2020
And this course won’t be running again until February 2021! We are going to start planning and building our kitchen gardens in March, and begin planting straight away – which means you need to be signed up and ready for the course to start as soon as you can.
This is a seasonal program, designed to start at the beginning of Autumn as the ground is nice and warm and we can get the slower growing winter crops such as Cauliflower and Kale off to a great start.
The twenty week program will allow us plenty of time to grow longer cycle crops, and also give us the opportunity to add and replace faster turnover plants such as Rocket and Spinach.
If you have been thinking about starting a vegetable garden, or you’ve had a go at putting a vegie patch in and it just didn’t work out (no judgement here!) then take the opportunity now to join this course.
I know you have the desire and the enthusiasm to bring homegrown produce into your life, and this really is your perfect opportunity to get started and enjoy all my support as we build, plant and care for a kitchen garden TOGETHER.
Frequently Asked Questions
How will I stay motivated for the full 20 weeks?
We will be working on and in your kitchen garden every week, and there are a range of activities to keep you interested. You will be motivated by your sense of satisfaction and pride as you watch your kitchen garden grow and you start using your own fresh produce in the kitchen. Once you join our Facebook community you can connect with me and the My Kitchen Garden: Grow Your Own community. You are never without support, advice and the friendship of other passionate foodies just like you.
How much time is it going to take me?
Reading through the course materials is just 30 and 45 minutes for each module, most of your time will be spent creating, caring for and enjoying your garden. You can expect to spend 2-3 hours on this a week at the start, with a lot less time needed once your kitchen garden is established. Some weeks you will just need to spend 10 mins each night checking and watering the garden.
How much room do I need?
We are going to install and plant out a raised garden bed, so you need to have at least 2m2 of growing space (plus room to walk around it!) in a sunny spot.
This course is not designed for people with balconies using pots. We can make it work, but I want to be up front and let you know it will be harder and you might not be able to grow all the crops, particularly root vegetables.
You will be selecting the style and size of beds that suit you, participants in the Spring-Summer program installed a range of corrugated raised beds, apple crates, and renovated existing garden beds. You might choose to put in a number of smaller beds, or one big one.
How much does it cost?
The course costs $280.00 AUD, inclusive of GST.
In 2020, I have restarted the course after having a break. I am discounting the price as
a) I’d like more people to be able to enrol and
b) I will be adjusting materials as we go, this might mean the videos are lower quality (as I will be socially distant from a pro!), or I need to change lessons in case supplies of some materials are low. These are uncertain times, and I am not 100% sure I can deliver it all the same way that I used to.
Is there a payment plan?
No. unfortunately, I can’t offer this, as I just don’t have the systems to make it happen.
Does it matter where I live?
Yes! The course is designed for people who live in the Temperate climatic zones across Southern and Eastern Australia.
This includes Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. I will be growing my kitchen garden in Adelaide, so seasonal conditions will vary slightly for those living in Sydney (more humid), Melbourne (colder overnight), or Perth (lower rainfall).
This means that you might be planting the Broad Beans a bit later in warm zones (don’t worry – they will catch up!) or managing different disease challenges in more humid zones.
I will be keeping an eye on the weather across this temperate zone during the course, and to make it work we will use the online community to help you manage these seasonal variations.
The course is not suitable for people living in tropical and sub-tropical zones of Australia, not only is the climate VERY different – I just don’t have gardening experience in these areas so can’t offer sound advice during the course.
How does the online course work ?
By using a leading Learning Management System (LMS) I am able to deliver to you a structured, interactive course in which to learn and engage.
This course is designed to move away from paper based materials, you will not be receiving 50 page books to download and print, each lesson is presented within a secured section of the My Kitchen Garden website and you can view it on your tablet or phone as well.
Often this means reading through a lesson (around 700 words) with images, watching a video, and then completing a task.
Worksheets and guides will be supplied as PDFs as needed.
The learning system will track your progress, so you can see which lessons you have completed, and there are optional quiz questions – just so you can check in and test your new knowledge.
There is a real mix of informational and practical lessons – we will learn the science behind how plants grow, and also grow lots of plants! I will be sharing photos and videos of my garden progress every week, and I encourage you to do the same. We can connect and compare progress in the Facebook group, on Instagram and in comments below each lesson.
What if the course doesn’t meet my needs? Do I get a refund?
Yes. If after 40 days from the course commencing you feel that it is not providing you with all the information and support you need to get your best ever kitchen garden underway, you are entitled to a refund.
I’ll just be asking for you to show me your worksheets and tasks completed first, so I can see that you have really given it a go.
But remember, you do get lifetime access, so if other stuff interrupts you – nevermind you can try again next year.
What will we be growing?
You will get a complete month by month planting guide as part of your course materials, as it is the Winter season we will be growing Cauliflower, Broccoli, Kale, Spinach, Lettuce, Cabbage, Potatoes, Carrots, Leeks, Parsnips, Herbs and LOTS more – you will love how much variety you can get from your garden in this time.
Are there any additional costs?
This course doesn’t include any of the physical stuff you need for your kitchen garden – so you will have to organise your garden bed, any added soils/compost, and the seeds/plants.
If you don’t have any gardening tools then you can add these to the shopping list too, or make arrangements to borrow what you need.
The lessons will tell you exactly what you do (and don’t) need, and give you plenty of time to get it all together.
By the end of the Grow Your Own online course, you will have:
- Learnt to grow at least TWENTY different vegetables and herbs
- Established a routine, and incorporated your garden into your life
- Connected with a group of food lovers and learner gardeners
- Tried new recipes and different techniques for preparing your produce
- Shared a wonderful learning experience with your family
- Gained confidence in your gardening skills, and be motivated to continue growing and sharing produce
What’s in the course?
The course is designed to both TEACH you how to grow vegetables, fruits and herbs and to get you to TAKE ACTION each module – to get you closer to achieving a successful and productive garden.
Please note, I have left a few things out here on purpose – there is EVEN MORE in the course including some fun activities, printables and worksheets (but I want to keep this secret just for the course participants).
** This course outline is subject to change – we might bring some lessons forward as needed – we will respond to seasonal and market conditions **
Update: March 2020, Impact of COVID-19
- I am well aware that some materials may be harder to source, where possible I will assist by mailing out seeds.
- Many of these release dates will be brought forward, I understand that many people feel a sense of urgency to get crops growing, so I will adjust as needed
- I will be rewriting and adding lessons to provide more information on continuous planting plans, so you always have something to pick
Intro and Getting Started
- Systems Check: Logins, site access
- Join the Facebook group
- + MORE
Module 1 – Week 1- Access 26th March
- We will get clear on your reason for starting a kitchen garden
- Look at different Kitchen Garden Styles – Raised Beds, Plots, and Pots
- Raised Garden Beds – why this is my recommendation for the main part of your Kitchen Garden
- Selecting the right site for your kitchen garden
- Growing from Seeds or Seedlings
Module 2 – Week 2 – Access 27th March
- Gardening Tools and Equipment
- Build your own little greenhouse
- Growing from Seed – we will get a few crops started straight away so they are ready to transfer to the garden in a few weeks
- Understanding Soils, Mulches and Composts
- No Dig Garden Beds – The Layer Method
Module 3 – Week 3 – commences 1st April
- Selecting healthy seedlings at the garden centre
- Watering your Kitchen Garden – systems, needs, schedule
- Planting Plan for the Kitchen Garden – what goes where
- + MORE
Module 4 – Weeks 4 & 5 – commences 8th April
This module is all about implementation – it is designed to run over two weekends, so participants have plenty of time to build and fill their raised garden beds.
- Building our raised garden bed
- Planting Out – methods, tips for success
- Major planting time
- Seeds and Seedlings will be going in
- Making enclosures for cold nights & bug barriers
Module 5 – Weeks 6 & 7 – commences 22nd April
- Dealing with Loss and Being OK with Imperfection
- Thinning out seedlings
- Potting Up – transplanting seedlings
- Activities and tips to get the kids involved
- + MORE
Module 6 – Weeks 8 & 9 – commences 6th May
- How Plants Grow (photosynthesis, water uptake, reproduction, fruit set)
- Hardening Off! – getting ready to leave the nursery
- Understanding fertilisers and their use, Organic options
Module 7 – Weeks 10 & 11- commences 20th May
- Principals and Benefits of Organic Gardening
- Bugs and Plant diseases in the kitchen garden
- Composting Systems and my recommendation
- Planting and Care activities
Module 8 – Weeks 12 & 13 – commences 3rd June
- Community Connections
- Upcycling and Recycling in your Kitchen Garden
- Re-planting our Kitchen Garden – new crops go in
- Planting and care activities
Module 9 – Weeks 14 & 15 – commences 17th June
- Companion Planting
- Growing Sprouts
- Understanding lifecycles: Annuals, Biennials and Perennials
- Pruning Stonefruit and Vines
Module 10 – Week 16 & 17 – commences 8th July
- Making Cauliflower Pickle, learning to sterilise jars and correctly seal preserves
- Planting Plan – replacing herbs and salads
- Learning to grow plants from cuttings
- + MORE
Module 11 – Week 18 & 19 – commences 22nd July
- Build a support frame and planting Broad Beans
- Understanding Plant Families – who is related to who
- Different Cooking Techniques for Vegetables and Herbs
- Growing Stonefruit
Module 12 – Week 20 – commences 5th August
- Spring planting plan for Asian style cooking
- Spring planting plan for European style cooking
- Worksheet to review your Kitchen Garden success
- + Special Graduation in-person Event for Adelaide based participants (assuming group gatherings are OK again at this time)
- + Special Graduation in-person Event for Melbourne based participants (assuming we have enough people, and group gatherings are OK again at this time)
- + MORE