What We Do

Permaculture Garden Training & Mentorship

Paul Duncan and his training facilitators run a series of organic gardening and permaculture skills training workshops at Dovehouse farm.

The workshops are intended to introduce learners to the systems which are used in permaculture and organic gardening. Workshops are run in the market gardens and household food garden systems on Dovehouse farm. This enables learners to get hands on experience whilst learning and creating a vision of what can be achieved.

veggiesWho do we cater for :

Workshops are run for a wide variety of learners from varying backgrounds; school teachers who want to develop organic gardens at schools, individuals who would like to grow their own food at home, NPOs or NGOs wanting to improve gardening skills of their staff or the communities they work with, university and college groups and small scale farmers.

The training modules run at the moment are an introduction to the systems necessary for successful organic gardening/farming and permaculture design principles. They provide a platform from which the beneficiaries of the training can design and set up their own garden systems.

These systems support gardens in four main ways :
  1. Soil health, fertility & conditioning (creating a healthy eco system in the soil) forms the foundation of a healthy garden.
  2. Effective design principles e.g. proper runoff and rain water management, bad weather protection and increased plant diversity by creating diverse microclimates within the gardens.
  3. Integrated pest management; taking steps to decrease pest infestations without harsh pesticides.
  4. Plant management and propagation- developing plant stock.

Gardening Workshops

Gardening workshop modules available:
  1. Composting systems
  2. Companion planting
  3. Plant propagation
  4. Introduction to permaculture garden design and organic gardening/farming
  5. Permaculture design workshop
  6. Growing & Using Herbal Medicines

These workshops aim to introduce learners to the subjects and provide the necessary hands on skills to implement the various garden techniques themselves. Course manuals are supplied with each workshop. Course curriculum’s may differ slightly to meet the different requirements of learner groups.

1.Workshop curriculum, objectives & outcomes

1.1 Compost w/shop

  • The how to of worm farming
  • Preparation of homemade organic liquid fertilizers
  • Preparation of biological inoculants for the garden and composting systems
  • The how to of organic compost production
  • Plants you can grow for compost making

1.2 Companion planting w/shop

  • Introduction to companion planting and viewing examples in the gardens
  • Pest and disease management through companion planting
  • Hands on companion planting exercises
  • How to work with your companion plants

1.3 Introduction to plant propagation techniques

  • Plant propagation systems i.e. Nursery’s, Irrigation, Propagation beds
  • Hands on propagation exercises
  • Seed saving techniques

1.4 Introduction to permaculture garden design and organic gardening/farming

  • Energy efficient design ideas i.e. runoff water, wind, sun
  • Garden pioneering steps
  • Cultivation techniques
  • Bed preparation techniques

1.5 Permaculture design workshop

  • Ethical foundations of permaculture
  • Ecology
  • Principals of permaculture
  • Permaculture design
  • Steps in design
  • Situational analysis
  • Component listing and analysis
  • Drawing the base design
  • Growing bed preparation
  • Soil pioneering / land clearing
  • Lasagne gardening
  • Water catchment & storage
  • Soil storage & infiltration via earthworks

2. Objectives & out comes of the training program

2.1 To introduce the learners to permaculture and organic gardening methods which use low external input and environment friendly systems of food production.

2.2 To give the learners a hands on experience of the appropriate permaculture and organic techniques and systems that they can use.

2.3 To impart the necessary skills and ideas to set up low input cost organic garden systems for themselves that are productive in providing clean nutritious food and a possible source of income through expanding their garden systems.

2.4. To inspire the learners to put what they have learnt into practice.

2.5. To see an improvement in the health of the soils the learners work with (equating to an improvement in the health of the beneficiaries).

2.6. To improve the environment that the beneficiaries live in.

2.7. To ‘plant the seed’ of low cost productive organic gardening systems through the beneficiaries into their communities. A seed that will grow into their communities for future generations to also benefit from.

3. Mentorship program

3.1. We provide mentorship visits to gardeners and small farmers alongside the training. This helps gardeners through the initial problems they may face.

4. Empowerment program

4.1 Dovehouse Organics is in the process of developing a co-operative of small scale organic farmers and market gardeners to increase the production of organic veg in the midlands area. The co-operative was started informally in 2005 and now includes 5, full time, small scale organic growers and a hand full of part time organic growers.

Dovehouse Organics is at the moment handling the packaging and distribution of the produce through a pack house which is in the process of being certified with organic status. The vision is to develop a co-operative of hopefully 100 or more small scale organic growers in the KZN midlands area, based on the principles of Fair trade.

A proposal is being developed for the KZNDEA to see how we can take this idea a step further together, with their ‘Empowerment for food security’ program. The project would create self employment opportunities and income generation through the creation of small businesses (related to the co-operative), as well as provide much needed nutritious organic food for communities in the KZN midlands. It is visioned that the program would also produce crops for value adding such as jams, pesto, preserves etc. which can be marketed around S.A. and even exported, increasing the value.

To get involved with the program or to assist the program in some way please contact Dovehouse Organics by email; dovehouse@telkomsa.net



Here are a few of the workshops you can look forward to:

Live food (organic, raw food) preparation demos & get togethers

Demos – Shereen will demonstrate how to make raw food meals and desserts. She will share a wealth of information so bring your pen and paper. After the demo you get to eat the feast. Yum. The cost of the demo includes the lunch.
Get togethers – a (free) informal gathering of raw food enthusiasts (you don’t have to be a raw foodist to attend) From 11am – 2pm we share recipes, information and food. Bring your own raw food dish to share or pay for a meal made by Dovehouse. Bookings are important.

Introduction to Permaculture

Learn about ‘muthi’ plants. Culinary, medicinal and magical. A morning workshop that includes tea.

Compost making

This workshop looks at soil health, sharpens your compost making skills and provides a number of different options for improving soil fertility.

Companion planting

Learn about what plants like to grow together and the benefits of companion planting (there are many)

Education and information days (Dvds & talks)
Tissue salts workshop

What are tissue salts? Learn the value of each tissue salt and how to use each of them successfully.

The Art of Walking with Marguerite van der Merwe

Walking is balance, presence, poise, purpose, power!

Cell power/ lymphology workshops run by Keith

A weekend course where Keith teaches about cells, lymphology and how to improve our health.

Story time with Ronel Woods

Ronel Woods enthralls kids with her stories, movement and music.

Baby Health Workshops by Liz Gow

Liz compares the use, cost and health of reusable cloth nappies to plastic disposables.

Raw Food workshops with Peter and Beryn, Soaring Free Superfoods

Peter and Beryn the raw food fundi’s from Cape Town share their experiences, recipes and raw food knowledge.

Spiritual workshops with Anthea Torr

Anthea Torr used to edit the Biophile magazine. She now runs workshops about the angelic realm and the likes.


Esse, Jane Iredale Natural make up, Victoria and Garden

Regular Events

YOGA – every Monday and Wednesdays 17.30hr with Jennifer Thord-Gray in Howick.
Join the group for Earth Magic Yoga, a gentle way to reach a state of health and fitness.
www.earthmagic.co.za Jennifer 082 642 8886
Brazilian Martial Art Dance Fight
Charlie Mitchel Cell: 072 372 5252

Recycling / Re-Using at Dovehouse:

Dovehouse can re-use the egg boxes & glass bottles in which our honey, chutney & jams are bottled. Please return to us if you can.
ESSE (organic skincare) glass bottles are also re-used. Return x 10 bottles to Dovehouse & receive a gift from ESSE.
Do you have any T Shirts that you would like to donate? The Midlands Meander Association Education Project would like your T Shirt (any size) to transform, with beautiful applique, into a BUGGED T shirt. Proceeds from the sale of these original shirts go to the Education Project.

Visit healthmakers website to view a range of kitchen appliances.

BizAssist.co.za – BizAssist.co.za is a one-stop, online resource for South African SMEs and entrepreneurs.


Please book your place via the ‘Events‘ page on this site.

For more information or if you would like us to arrange personalized workshops contact us @


Banking Details for Deposits/Payments for the Garden Workshops :
Bank: FNB
INO: Dovehouse Organic Garden Training
Howick Branch code 220725
Account Number: 622 686 12 986
Business Account