Dorking Allotment Holders' Association


‘Grow Your Own Veg’ – a DAHA workshop for complete beginners, starts April 6th

– FREE Workshop in Dorking!

Brexit is coming but that’s not why we want to inspire you to grow your own food! The physical exercise keeps you healthy, mindfulness is enhanced when gardening (which reduces stress) and the fruit and vegetables you grow taste better than anything else you can buy at the supermarket. Perhaps at the end of 2019 you may want to apply for your own allotment at one of the five sites in Dorking.

This NEW workshop includes access to your personal growing bed (2m x 3m) at our brand new community plot at Coldharbour Lane (yours to cultivate from April 1st 2019 to December 31st 2019).

You will need – a fork, a spade, strong wellington boots or steel toe-cap boots. Children aged 8 and over are welcome if accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Workshop Programme

  1. Saturday April 6th, 2pm-4pm
    Safety, Soil and Weeds
  • Avoiding accident and injury – tools, appropriate dress, bacteria – good and bad.
  • What is soil? Clay vs sand.
  • Recognising local weeds and dealing with them by hand.
  • No-dig method. Manure and compost.
  • Liquid fertiliser: Using Nettles, Horsetail and Comfrey.
  • Prepping your new beds for spring.

  1. Saturday April 27th, 2pm-4pm
    Sunlight, temperature and germination
  • Understanding the importance of sunlight and plant growth.
  • Working with temperature, frost protection, when to sow and plant out crops.
  • Sowing outdoors: potatoes, onions and parsnips (seeds included free).
  • Sowing indoors (polytunnel): courgettes, butternut squash, runner & french beans.

  1. Saturday May 11th 2pm-4pm
    Ticking the soil and nature
  • The power of the hoe
  • Understanding companion planting – marigolds, foxgloves, dill
  • Attracting pollinators and beneficial insects – nasturtiums, phacelia
  • Building a bug hotel and toad friendly environment (shared area)

  1. Saturday May 25th 2pm-4pm
    Planting out for the summer harvest
  • Planting out tender crops (courgettes, butternut squash, runner & french beans)
  • Boosting crops at planting out stage with mycorrhizal fungi & liquid seaweed
  • Sowing a sweetcorn bed (shared area)
  • Sowing GIANT pumpkins (shared area)
  • Slugs, snails, woodchip and egg shell myths

  1. Saturday June 8th 2pm-4pm
    Watering, foliar feeding and mulching
  • How to water for maximum growth and minimum damage
  • Foliar feeding (through the leaves)
  • Mulching for moisture retention


BREAK – you are free (and encouraged) to visit beds for maintenance and watering at any time. Matt will be on hand as his plots neighbour the community plot.


Programme schedule continues July 6th – details released based on seasonality and weather which you will learn affect the growing season differently each year!

Your Grow Your Own Tutor

Matt Peskett is the Chairman of Dorking Allotment Holders’ Association and has held an allotment at Cold Harbour Lane for five years. Matt has been growing his own vegetables since he was a small boy, gardening runs in his family - his great grandfather was the Head Gardener at Tilgate in Crawley. A web designer and marketing consultant by trade, Matt relies upon his three allotments to keep him mentally and physically fit. In 2016 he experienced a period of high anxiety and panic attacks which was only cured by getting outside and growing produce even more than he already did. A probationary member of the Garden Media Guild, Matt writes about horticulture at his blog and was tweeting as Monty Don's dog Nigel with 40,000 followers (don't ask). He also volunteers with the RHS at Chelsea and Hampton Court Flower shows and attends gardening courses at Great Dixter in Kent.

Matt Peskett


This workshop is now fully subscribed (within 48 hours of launch actually...) but join the waiting list to take the place of any cancellations.