Learn about the soil food web and how it works to deliver plants with nutrients. In this 2-day workshop, we will cover many topics that will help you get started to grow amazing food.

This workshop is for beginners as well as advanced gardeners, lifestyle block owners and farmers interested in organics and thinking about converting from conventional farming to biological/regenerative agriculture.

Day 1
On the first day you will learn about the Soil Food Web and its members. We will discuss its functions and what disrupts it. You will learn about plant succession, nutrient pools in soils, nutrient cycling with the soil food web, the nitrogen cycle and the food exchange by plants and the soil food web.
Then we will go into soil assessment, mulching, integrated pest and disease management, worm farming and bokashi composting.

Day 2
The second day is very practical and hands-on. We will build a thermal compost pile in the morning. We will discuss suitable material for the compost, the carbon/nitrogen ratio, how to select for bacterial or fungal dominance, temperature development in the pile and the cooling down phase. We will then make a compost extract for soil amendments.

Topics covered:

-       Basic principles of biological and organic gardening: soil health and fertility
-       The Soil Food Web and its functions
-       Properties of soil, soil assessment, soil tests, food for the soil food web and your plants
-       Plant succession and why this is important for our crops
-       Nutrient pools in soils and nutrient cycling
-       Nutrient density in plants and the importance for our health and wellbeing
-       Integrated pest and disease management
-       Worm farming and Bokashi composting

-       Thermal compost: materials, temperature, process
-       Signs of a good compost
-       Compost extract and aerated compost tea

This workshop is for beginners as well as advanced gardeners, lifestyle block owners and farmers interested in organics and thinking about converting from conventional farming to biological/regenerative agriculture.

There are accommodation options right in Pigeon Bay and in Akaroa (only 30 minutes by car).

Tutor: Cornelia Holten
MEd (Integrative Learning), Certificate in Organic Horticulture, Herbal Medicine and The Soil Food Web

  Cornelia Holten 

Cornelia is an herbalist and slow food educator with a passion for simple living, DIY, herbs and self-sufficiency. A certificate in Organic Horticulture, the Soil Food Web, an Apprenticeship in Herbal Medicine and living on a farm in Pigeon Bay equip her with a lot of knowledge and experience with growing food and living a healthy life.

She is teaching workshops on sustainable food systems, whole foods, fermentation, primal diets and organic gardening. A thirst for knowledge and a passion for new scientific studies keep her well informed on those topics.

About KoruKai Herb Farm

On KoruKai Herb Farm we grow over 80 medicinal herbs and turn them into herbal teas, herbal remedies and skin care products. Everything is grown spray-free and organically with an integrated pest and disease management. We grow all our vegetables, eggs, meat and some fruit for the year on the farm and sell surplus to the local community. We measure the nutrient density in our vegetables and herbs with a Brix meter and do soil tests on a regular basis to help us with decision making. We implement permaculture principles wherever possible trying to close the "loop". We have a composting toilet and use water harvesting techniques like swales on contour on our hilly block. We keep Wiltshire sheep, ducks, chickens and weaner pigs. We have a Jersey house cow and transform the milk into butter, cheese and yoghurt.

Data sheet

information and practical knowledge
Sheryl 28/05/2021

Inspiring and exiting

Id like to express my gratitude to you and your family for last weekend - I thoroughly enjoyed all the content and have arrived home inspired and excited to start making change to my land.

Adele Churchman 27/05/2021

Well paced and Informative

This well presented workshop was a successful combination of theory and "hands on". The "why" of composting was imparted clearly and the learning was enhanced with questions shared by group participants. Many Thanks.

Karol 25/06/2020

Excellent workshop!

The workshop was excellent - well planned and the information you shared with us was very clearly explained and demonstrated. Before the workshop I had understood the purpose of compost to be to increase the range of nutrients available to a plant. Now I know that its most important job is to build up the life in the soil to enable a plant to feed and care for itself to the maximum. Now I am fired up to start worm farming and composting correctly!

Mylène Clavreul 23/06/2020

A week-end workshop that will move you!

I appreciated the workshop so much. It gave a boost to my motivation in order to make new steps towards a more benefitial way of life. I learned a lot: a good mix of technic/ scientific information and easy-to-apply techniques. Thanks so much to Cornelia and her family for their warm welcoming and all the sharing.

Wendy and Richard 22/06/2020

informative weekend!

Clear communication of the composting process which is hands on! Informative booklet to take away! Very warm and friendly atmosphere. Highly recommended!

Amz 22/06/2020

Fab course at a beaut location

I was a little apprehensive about what I had signed up for, but ended up thoroughly enjoying the lessons, knowledgeable tutor and the beautiful location. I came home totally fizzing!

belinda gordon 22/06/2020

Compost workshop

our tutor and her family are amazing people doing amazing things and passing on thier hard work and knowledge at such an affordable price. I will be back for more courses no doubt. Thank you :)

Simone Q 22/06/2020

Fantastic weekend

As a gardener with patchy online self educating background, I found this workshop both reaffirmed what that I was doing and gave me some really good info on moving forward and making my garden even healthier. So good to be among other keen gardeners too. Thanks Cornelia and family for such a great weekend.

Elora 21/06/2020

Informative, Fun Workshop!

Having just arrived home from 2 days with Cornelia at Korukai, I can undoubtedly say my knowledge has grown! As a reasonably novice gardener, it was nice to have a hands on approach to learning and felt that these were all techniques I could take home and apply to my own food crops. We had a wonderfully interactive group with plenty of great discussion, and I guarantee everyone took a lot away from it. Thank you so much Cornelia, very pleased to have come along. There is tremendous value for money in this workshop!

Lesley 20/09/2018

Perfect Day!

I must thank YOU for sharing your world of knowledge on everything garden and beyond :) I really enjoyed your workshop and have already organized a wwoofer to put plans into place :) It was good to see all the stages and I think you as a person are so impressive, I can't think of anything you could do better. I had a great day and will definitely recommend your workshop, and the other workshops, to my friends. Was a pleasure as always in your garden Cornelia!

Anna 18/09/2018

Loved the practical bits

A very well organised course. Cornelia's knowledge is outstanding! Loved the practical bits. I now have fire in my belly and excitement/urgency about getting going. I would love to feed my family from the garden. I look forward to next workshop.

Paul 18/09/2018

Wonderful workshop

Thank you for a wonderful day yesterday. We really enjoyed your workshop and your lovely home and surroundings. Your introduction and telling us your personal background got me very enthusiastic. You and your family are heroes. The more people that attend this workshop or hear your message the better. It would be a dream for me to be able to provide all the vegetables for my family, but you and this workshop showed me it is possible. I think your coverage was spot on, you made room for questions but did not get too distracted from the time. I’m sure your notes will be my source of knowledge- I think I will need to get them laminated. Thank you for being a guiding figure; we need thousands of people like you so we can turn the way food is produced and the way we look at sustainability around.

Jacquie 18/09/2018

Very inspiring!

Thank you so much for the workshop. I loved it and feel like I came away with so much info, and all very relevant ! I’m very excited to get out in the garden! Thank you and your family for sharing with us. You really do have a wonderful way of teaching.. you are very inspiring!

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