Farm and Garden Design and Memorial Day Family Weekend

admin January 26th, 2011

I am *still* without full access to my email, although new stuff is at least being forwarded to Eric’s account. I apologize profusely for the difficulties, but I know that some people who tried to register either got bounces or got through, but are buried in my gmail account without my having access, so I would ask you to please send again! I’m very, very sorry about this! I’m told (for the fourth day running) that the problem will be resolved by my ISP by tomorrow. Hopefully this time it is actually true.

Meanwhile, if you haven’t registered for the class, and would like to, I will at least receive your email now, I promise (don’t be weirded out by the address your reply may come from!). Here’s the class syllabus. As mentioned before, the class is online and asynchronous, suitable to just about any climate and circumstances (we’ve had city gardeners, community gardeners, container gardeners, large farmers, small farmers, and everything in between, with climates ranging from Fairbanks and northern Sweden to the Tropics), and fun. The idea is for you to use the specifics of what you know about your place to expand your garden skills and create a garden that is productive in the near term and provides you with longer term food security without a lot of inputs. You will come out of it with a bunch of model designs, and one year and five year plans for your own site.

Cost of the class is $175, and we do have two remaining scholarship spots for low income participants who couldn’t join us otherwise. If you’d like to make a donation to our scholarship fund, 100% of all donations goes to making spots available in this class to others. Please email for details:

Week February 1:Welcome, Introduction, Sun, Soil, Water; Taking Measurements;
The Project of Design, Meet Your Graph Paper ; Addressing Garden Challenges,
Thinking in terms of Depletion, Getting Started

Week February 8: Soil Preparation, Perennial Plantings, Orcharding and Woody
Agriculture; Permaculture, Seed Starting and Variety Selection, Building and
Maintaining Fertility, Calorie Crops, Beginning to Plan, Container Gardening
Design Project 1 - A Courtyard Garden

Week February 15: Transforming a City or Suburban Lot, Dealing with Zoning,
Small Space and Urban Gardens, Small Livestock and Polyculture; Finding More
Land; Gardening Cheaply, Gardening in an Unstable Climate, Design Project 2 - A
Suburban Yard

Week February 22: Community and Garden; The CSA Model, Making Money, Children’s
Gardens, Year-Round Gardening, Maximizing the Harvest Garden Design Project,
Public Space Gardens. Design Project 3: An Urban Farm - in Many Yards

Week March 1: The CSA Model, Farm vs. Garden, Making Shade Productive, Vertical
Gardening, Succession and Long term Planning, Deep Food Security, Designing for
Personal Resilience. Design Project 4: A Larger Farm in Smaller Pieces

Week March 8: Visions for the Future, Cover Cropping, Undercropping and Long Term
Fertility, Larger Livestock, Becoming a Victory Farmer; After the Design Phase;
Where to from Here?

Email me at [email protected] to register or for questions!

Also, we’ve definitely scheduled our family apprentice weekend for Memorial Day weekend of this coming May. If you’d like to see how we (don’t) do it all, we’d love to have you join us. Everyone is welcome, but this weekend is specifically focused on families with children or grandkids, and there will be lots of kid activities, as well as the creek, the animals and the meadows to play in!

We invite new and old friends to come to our house, to stay with us, camp locally or on the farm or stay in one of our bed and breakfasts and spend the weekend talking, learning, playing and exploring our farm. We’ll teach basic goat care and milking (and we’ll have a lot of goat babies running around!), make cheese, discuss garden design and garden strategies, herbs and herbalism, food storage, scything and hand tools, bentwood architecture, wild plant foraging, cooking on a rocket stove, small livestock and more!

Payment is by donation, and we ask before we confirm that you send us an introductory email telling us about yourself. We also ask everyone to help provide potluck meals, so that Eric and I can spend our time doing cool farm stuff, rather than cooking! We also ask that you bring enough adults that you can take primary responsibility for your own children, if any, especially if they are very young.

We can accomodate a fair number of people at our place, so that’s first come, first served, and after that, there’s plenty of space for camping and other local options. Email me for details. We have two spaces for volunteers who would like to trade a weekend visit and a chance to do all this good stuff, one for help with dishes and odds and ends, and one for help with kids - we’re willing to trust that you can do dishes, but if you are looking for the job keeping an eye on the wee ones (none of this will be terribly onerous - most of your time will be spent enjoying the weekend, but a few hours would be dedicated to either keeping things tidy or keeping the kids entertained when the creek and critters pall ;-) ), please let me know what your experience is in this matter.

We’d also do an additional trade of a space and could offer additional payment too for someone who has experience working with autistic kids and would be open to spending a few hours during the weekend playing with our autistic eldest, Eli - last time we found that he was a little overwhelmed by the experience (although he did well) and it would be great to be able to give him some additional special attention! Warning on that front - he’ll be 11 on that end, he’s big and friendly and likes physical play, so if you volunteer, make sure that’s something you feel comfortable with! Obviously, btw, we deal with disabilities and special needs ourselves all the time and do not live in either a pristine home or a special-needs unfriendly environment, so we welcome families with kids with special needs - I say this because I know it can be overwhelming and difficult to imagine going on a visit with disabled kids, and we’d like to make that possible for people to come visit if they’d like. Email me with any questions.

The last time we did it it was a delight - children ranged from 3-13 and free ranged around the property, having a delightful time. If anything, we overestimated the amount of time we’d actually have to spend entertaining the kids - they were blissfully happy roaming and exploring. Meanwhile, the adults had a great time - it was a win-win thing, and we can’t wait to do it again! So definitely email for details!

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