Frequently Asked Questions

We’d love to hear from you, so do get in touch if your question isn’t answered here.

What do I need?

It depends what courses you do and what kind of garden you have. We’re big believers in getting started with basic tools and equipment you can borrow, get second-hand or make yourself. The beauty of organic growing is that you really don’t need very much to start. On the free ‘getting started’ courses we go through some of the things that’ll make it easy to get growing.

You’ll need a computer, an email address and internet access to join. All our courses are designed to work on any desktop or laptop computer, tablet or smartphone. Do let us know if you have any problems accessing the site.

I only have a balcony or window box. Can I do your courses?

Absolutely! We believe everyone can grow some of their own food at home. Even if you have a small space, like a window box, balcony or patio, we’ll help you take the steps you need to get growing. You’ll be surprised at how much you can produce. And you won’t have as many slug problems as people with big gardens. (Our website developer only has a balcony, so he’ll be taking the balcony courses too.)

I’m an experienced grower. Can I learn more here?

Definitely. theorganicacademy is just getting started, but we plan to launch with courses aimed both at absolute beginners and people looking to grow professionally and/or on a larger scale.

Our aim is to be the single best place on the web to learn everything about growing your own organic food, for all levels across a wide range of topics.

Where are you?

The team behind theorganicacademy is based in Ireland and the UK. The beauty of online courses is that it doesn’t matter where you are, you can take part anywhere there’s an internet connection. You can be sitting on your sofa, outside in the garden or allotment, or even on the beach if it takes your fancy.

On the growers’ forums you can meet other people, from nearby or on the other side of the world. They’re a great place to share your experiences, make friends and arrange to visit each other’s gardens.

We’ll have courses from well-known and experienced organic growers from around the world (if you’re interested in joining us, especially if you live in the US or Canada, we’d love to hear from you).

Do you have a garden I can visit?

As we’re an online-only membership site we don’t have courses where you visit a garden. Instead we encourage you to ‘learn by doing’ in your own garden. You can ask questions and share your experiences on the community forum.

Visiting gardens is a brilliant way to learn, so we do encourage you to find out about gardens open to the public nearby and go along for some inspiration. Do let us know about any good ones you find. Or pop down to your local allotments and chat to the people there – most of them are more than happy to talk with budding growers.

All of the team grow at home – from a small balcony to an established veggie box scheme – and we’ll share everything we can about our gardens.

What plant hardiness / climate zones are your courses suitable for?

Our team has most experience in Ireland, the UK and Europe, and parts of the US, in plant hardiness zones 6 to 10. If you live somewhere in these zones, most of the information here should be useful and relevant to you.

If you live in more extreme cold or hot conditions, there should still be lots to learn, but you’ll need to adapt some techniques to suit your conditions.

Can I take your courses if I’m in the southern hemisphere?

Yes. When you sign up you’ll be asked what country you’re in. If you’re in New Zealand or Australia we’ll take account of this and send you reminders and information at the times of year that are relevant for you.

If you’re in another southern hemisphere country, please contact us after you’ve signed up and we’ll make sure your account is set up to work correctly.

Why organic?

Growing your own food gives you the chance to eat the freshest, tastiest and healthiest fruit and veg possible. Why would you want to put synthetic pesticides and fertilisers on it?

Being organic lets you work with nature so your garden will not only have delicious food, but there will be more insects, worms and other wildlife for you to enjoy. Sure, some of these enjoy eating your veg as much as you do, but why not share! And with the knowledge and skill, you can learn how to prevent pests and diseases using proven effective organic methods.

Organic food bought in shops has a reputation for being expensive, but growing your own can save you money since you don’t need to buy pesticides and synthetic fertilisers.

Why do you charge?

Unlike big ‘free’ sites & services we will never sell your data (we strongly disagree with this, both ethically and as a business model – there’s no such thing as a free lunch). We’re independent and don’t rely on advertising income that might prevent us recommending what’s best for you.

theorganicacademy is self-funded so we don’t have to achieve targets set by investors. Earning income from membership fees means our main focus is to create the best learning experience for our members. Income pays our experienced course writers to give you high quality courses and answers to your questions.

The membership fee is similar to the price of a typical gardening magazine subscription. We think this represents great value. You get a full range of courses, articles, email reminders, a garden diary and access to the Community Forum.