Farm and Garden Design Class Starts Tomorrow!

Just a quick reminder that tomorrow Aaron Newton and I will begin our next Farm and Garden Design Class. The class covers everything from the very basics of design - how to get started planning for a garden or small farm, soil, sun and water issues, seed starting, choosing perennials, making the best use of space etc... to small-scale livestock keeping, making money and long term design. We've done the class a number of times, and we've had people with 100s of acres and people with tiny city lots, and people with no land at all gardening in community gardens, on public spaces or sharing the property of neighbors. We've had total newbies and very experienced gardeners - there's always more to learn!

Aaron and I both bring different skills to this. I began growing in apartments, in containers and on balconies in cities and now I've been farming 27 acres now for 8 years, beginning with a Community Supported Agriculture vegetable project that at its height served 20 families and now raising dairy goats, pastured poultry and other small livestock, gardening for ourselves and the food pantry and raising garden plants and medicinal herbs. Aaron was trained as a landscape designer with a focus on adding agricultural production to new housing, gardened for many years in his small city in his own yard and the yards of many neighbors, forming a local cooperative and is now running a CSA making use of city land. Aaron's farming in hot North Carolina, I'm doing it in chilly upstate New York. I think we make a great team, and we did manage to write a book together without killing each other, so that proves it ;-).

The class is asynchronous and online, so you do it in your own time, when it is convenient for you. While the class starts tomorrow, we'll have people joining for a week or more, so don't worry about being behind. The class goes for six weeks, until the end of March, so we can not only get you started on design, but walk people through the initial garden steps (for you folks in the southern hemisphere, now is also a good time to do this - fall is the best time to get preps for next year into place). At the end of the class, you should have a coherent garden plan for your site and strategies for implementing it. Cost of the class is $180, and I do have two remaining scholarship spots that are free to low-income participants who couldn't afford to take the class. Email me at for more details.

Here's the syllabus:

Thursday, February 18: Sun, Soil, Water; Taking Measurements; The Project of Design, Meet Your Graph Paper ; Small Space and Urban challenges, Container Gardening, Getting Started; Costs and Benefits

Thursday, February 25: Soil Preparation, Perennial Plantings, Orcharding and Woody Agriculture; Permaculture, Seed Starting and Variety Selection, Calorie Crops, Beginning to Plan; Design Project 1 - A Courtyard Garden

Thursday, March 4: Transforming a City or Suburban Lot, Dealing with Zoning, Small Livestock and Polyculture; Finding More Land; Gardening Cheaply, Gardening in an Unstable Climate, Design Project 2 - A Suburban Yard

Thursday, March 11: Community and Garden; The CSA Model, Making Money, Children's Gardens, Year-Round Gardening, Maximizing the Harvest Garden Design Project, 3: An Urban Farm - in Many Yards

Thursday, March 18: Farm vs. Garden, Making Shade Productive, Vertical Gardening, Succession and Long term Planning, Deep Food Security. Garden Design Project 4: A Larger Farm - In Smaller Pieces

Thursday March 25: Visions for the Future, Long Term Fertility, Larger Livestock, The Victory Garden and Farm; After the Design Phase

I hope some of you will join us!


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