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Designing your Edible Garden

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This Edible Garden Design course will explore how to design a low-maintenance food garden which is also a wildlife haven and a place of relaxation and beauty.

Growing veg doesn't mean your garden needs to be an allotment! Learn how to design a garden that fits in with your lifestyle, your needs and desires.

Topics to be covered include:

  • explanation of permaculture gardening
  • see and taste with plant bingo - the tutor brings examples of food plants from her garden
  • aspect, slope, microclimates - how they influence your design
  • spatial zoning - what it is and how it influences your design
  • the kitchen garden
  • the edible forest garden
  • unusual edibles
  • the secrets of the soil - microfauna, macrofauna and the cycle ecosystem beneath our feet; composting - an ecosystem in a box; mulching - an ecosystem in your garden
  • weeds are wonderful -   managing your weeds creatively
  • working with water: - Overview of the climate in Wales - water management techniques
  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM): - Overview of all pest management techniques - detailed look at natural pest management.

This course is open to anyone interested in growing their own food and creating a garden which is low maintenance, naturally managed, productive and beautiful whatever the size.

Learning and teaching

There will be lectures, discussion groups, group exercises, practical demonstrations/activities and group design work.

The course will be illustrated with slides and transparencies.  The emphasis will be on active learning, to help you to develop an understanding of the subject matter and its relevance to the real world.

Coursework and assessment

To award credits we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved.

Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects.

The most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning.

Our methods are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives.

Reading suggestions

  • Whitefield, P. (1993) Permaculture in a Nutshell. Permanent Publications.
  • Whitefield, P. (1997) How To Make A Forest Garden. Permanent Publications.
  • Crawford, M. (2010) Creating a Forest Garden.
  • Bell, G. (1994) Permaculture Garden. Harper Collins.
  • French, J. (1992) The Wilderness Garden. Aird Books. (Australia)
  • Fern, K. (1997) Plants for a Future. Permanent Publications.
  • Hessayon D.G. (1997) The Fruit Expert. Expert.
  • Larkcom, J. (2003) The Organic Salad Garden. Frances Lincoln Ltd.
  • McVicar, J. (1997) Good Enough To Eat. Kyle Cathie Ltd.
  • Baines, C. (2000) How To Make A Wildlife Garden. Frances Lincoln Ltd.
  • Crawford, M. (1998) Edible Plants For Temperate Climates. Agroforestry Research Trust.
  • Kourik, R. (1986) Designing and Maintaining Your Edible Landscape Naturally. Metamorphic P.
  • The Collins Gem series for identifying: Wildflowers; Moths & Butterflies; Insects; Birds; Pond species; Trees

For plant identification and design aid:

  • Brickell, C. (ed.) (2003) Royal Horticulture Society New Encyclopaedia of Plants and Flowers.
  • Dorling Kindersley Bown, D. (2003) The Royal Horticulture Society Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.

For pest identification rather than pest control:

  • Greenwood, P. and Halstead, A. (1997) The Royal Horticulture Society Pest and Diseases

For technical advice:

  • Brickell, C. and Joyce, D. (1996) The Royal Horticultural Society Pruning and Training.
  • Dorling Kindersley The Royal Horticulture Society Encyclopaedia of Gardening Flowerdew, B. (2003) Bob Flowerdew's Organic Bible: Successful Gardening the Natural Way.
  • Kyle Cathie. Magazines: Permaculture Magazine and Organic Gardening.

Library and computing facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University’s library and computing facilities. Find out more about using these facilities.


Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and dyslexia screening.