Maximum Gardening –

Maximum Gardening

This course takes a walk along the path of development that plants journey along from their beginnings to the moment when they are ready to harvest.  We stop off at various points to explore parts of that journey, and look at things that you, the permaculture gardener, can do to help them along the way. The course starts by looking at seeds – where to source them, how to break their dormancy, and various ways to start them off and aid germination. Seeds are one way that plants propagate new specimens. We also look at some other methods of doing so, such as taking cuttings, layering, budding, and grafting. Seeds, seedlings, and mature plants need good conditions in which to flourish, and providing a microclimate in a greenhouse is one way of providing this. The course looks at where to site a greenhouse, what benefits it can bring to a site, and how to construct one. We’ll also explore similar structures on a smaller scale – polytunnels and cold frames. For trees outside on the permaculture site, there are situations in which you will need to prune them – we look at those circumstances and how to prune a tree to minimize the stress and damage to it. We can also train plants – and one way of doing that is espaliering. We look at the methods of doing so and explore the reasons why it might be done. A the end of the journey, we look at the signs to look for to tell when various commonly cultivated fruits and vegetables are at their best for harvesting, so you can have the most flavorful and most nutritious to serve at your dining table.

 Learning outcomes

  • Understand how a seed germinates and the environmental factors that can influence it
  • Be able to start seeds in a garden bed and indoors in containers
  • Have the knowledge to perform various grafting operations on plants
  • Recognize different forms of propagation – and be able to deploy them on your site
  • Analyze the best position of your permaculture property in which to place a greenhouse – and be able to construct one
  • Site and build a cold frame or polytunnel
  • Identify circumstances in which you might need to prune a tree
  • Be able to prune a tree so that it remains as healthy as possible
  • Appreciate when espaliering is useful, and various styles that can be utilized
  • Recognize the signs that signal when various fruits and vegetables are at the optimum point for harvesting for your table