This intensive course is usually scheduled every other year for the one of the first Saturdays in June. (If it is very rainy, we will reschedule for the next day.)
We practice a combination of classic organic gardening techniques mixed with what is called French Intensive or Biointensive (John Jeavons) style gardening and a heavy sprinkling of Biodynamic techniques as well.
Creating Tilth - Our focus in this workshop is on soil building, not on fertilizing plants. When I talk about soil building, I am specifically focused on the good of the soil itself not on its outcome production-wise for the plants. Of course, the plants planted in this well-built soil will thrive and be healthier, more disease resistant, more productive etc. but the mindset is different - we're not forcing plants to produce in adverse conditions. We're building the perfect conditions and letting the plants thrive.
This is a similar organic concept to dealing with an insect issue - some people see a bad bug and spray a pesticide. An organic person may avoid the pesticide and squish the bug, but a person gardening in an intentional and sustainable way would realize that those solutions are just quick fixes, and that putting in insectary plantings of plants that attract beneficial insects to create and encourage a sustainable system is a much better long-term way to deal with the problem. Same with soil issues - it is not about simply testing a few main elements, and if one is low, buy a commercial version and pour it over the soil. It is about working to create a self-sustaining, self-revitalizing, healthy, nutrient-loaded soil that has what it needs to balance itself long-term.
Our Art of Soil Building Workshop is an all-day intensive workshop and is very hands on. It is one thing to read about building tilth and another to dig in and see it and experience it.
10 am to 3 pm, with a couple short breaks and a break for lunch.
Cost is $145.00 for the day. (Two people from the same household/farm can take $20 off the second person's tuition.)
To register, please visit our Current Schedule Page. Registration must be received 4 days prior to the class.
By supporting your soil and its systems, you will attain a state of productive sustainability.
Gardeners use up a lot of natural resources and simply adding NPK fertilizer isn't going to make up for it. One of the most important things you can do to make your garden productive and sustainable is to put attention and effort into soil building - the building of your tilth. Tilth building takes work and effort and some investment now, but will really pay off in the future. You'll have a garden producing in sync with nature, and your plants will produce food that is more nutrient dense.
We will go over composting, animal manures, green manures, cover cropping, soil layers and structures, mulching, subsoiling, tilling, and using mushrooms. We will also talk about herbal amendments, foliar sprays, kelp, garden teas, compost tea, manure tea and other ways to increase or adjust soil nutrients. You'll leave the workshop with an understanding of these various techniques as well as some hands-on experience on applying these techniques to your garden or farm.
We usually offer this workshop every other year for one of the first Saturdays in June. (If it is very rainy, we will reschedule for the next day.) Workshop is 3 hours long.
Instead of only focusing on the health and vibrancy of our plants in our garden we should instead focus on the soil itself. If you don't have healthy, vibrant soil, you'll be forever struggling to keep your plants healthy and vibrant and productive.
A Note on Midsummer Farm Workshops:
Classes are taught from a strictly Holistic and Organic standpoint. Class size is kept small to ensure individual attention. Fees include all materials and supplies needed. Children are welcome; children under 5 are free. If more than one person from a single household is taking the workshop together, the second person may deduct $5 from the cost of the workshop. Many classes take place outside in the gardens and are weather-permitting. Participants must register in advance. Cooking classes take place in the farm kitchen or in the greenhouse and are hands-on; tasting is encouraged. NOTE: times and dates of workshops are subject to change.
Accommodating Weekday and Weekend Schedules
As farmers who also have to work off farm, we totally understand how hard it can be to find time in your schedule to take workshops and do events. We try very hard to alternate whether we do a particular workshop on a weekend or weekday as we know some people can only make weekend events and others only weekday. And we wish we could offer everything with a weekday session and a weekday to accommodate everyone - but we run out of days each season!
If you see a workshop or course that you are very interested in, but it seems we keep offering it on a weekday and you need it to be on a weekend, or vice-versa - please let us know! Before I schedule a workshop, I'm usually sitting there trying to decide what day and if I know you are interested it will really help my decision-making!
Serious permaculturists participate in PDCs or Permaculture Design Certificate Courses. We will be offering an official 72-hour PDC here at Midsummer Farm with a focus on small scale food production and micro-farming as a business starting in September.
Workshop takes place at Midsummer Farm | 3 hours long.
Cost is $45 | Current Schedule | Registration
Full 72 hour certification in Permaculture Design (TO COME September 2015)
3 sessions, from 10 am to 12 noon. This class is for the beginning and developing herb garden grower. We'll discuss how to grow, harvest, and use 25 herbs that no herb garden should be without. All 25 of these herbs are easy to grow and fun to use in cooking, teas, salads, and as medicinals. A great way to get inspiration and plan your spring herb garden! Workshop takes place at Midsummer Farm
Permaculture can be succinctly defined as sustainable and artisanal living. Midsummer Farm has always used the words, sustainable and artisanal, as a tagline for our values even before we ever heard the word, permaculture. Permaculture is notoriously hard to clearly define as you always feel like you're leaving something out of the definition. And indeed, Permaculture is a broad conceptthat encompasses life as a whole really.... But one of the main focuses is on food production in conjunction with nature, working in all aspects of the landscape, creating and designing spaces for humans to thrive without depleting natural resources, etc. Permaculture is about sharing, not simply using or taking; this sharing applies to the land, to the garden, to other people. There is a set of Permaculture design principles that can help guide people in integrating Permaculture into a small backyard, a vegetable garden, or into a whole forest, college campus, or entire country.
In this workshop, we'll go over the main themes of Permaculture and the elements of designing with Permaculture. We'll focus on real-life uses of Permaculture concepts on a small scale. The goal is for each participant to go home with a bunch of working ideas and processes that can be applied to making a backyard or small farm or homestead more productive, sustainable and artisanal. You'll have a clear idea of what Permaculture means and whether you'd like to further pursue learning about Permaculture Design.
With a strong emphasis on Bio-Intensive Methods. This is an interactive workshop - bring you garden plans and seed catalogs. We'll create a garden plan for you to grow your favorite veggies in less space for a longer season! We'll discuss seed starting, creating a new garden bed, companion planting, boosting the efficiency of an old garden and so much more! Workshop takes place at Midsummer Farm
This workshop takes the traditional garden style called the Colonial Dooryard Garden, which is designed around convenience and usefulness, and updates it for today's flavors and kitchens. We'll be discussing how to grow a variety of herbs, greens, and compact vegetables that fit into this convenient and easy to care for growing model. Container and Raised Bed techniques will be major focuses. Workshop takes place at Midsummer Farm
This is one of our big gardening passions - we love bugs. The focus of this workshop is to garden for your good bugs - provide them what they need (and maybe a little extra) and regain balance in your garden to prevent the bad bugs from damaging your harvest. We'll get into native pollinators, honey bees, butterflies, predatory bugs and mites, etc. Workshop takes place at Midsummer Farm
For over 15 years, we have been perfecting seed-starting, and I have come to realize that most of what home gardeners are told about it isn't complete and actually leads to failure or weak, unsatisfying seedlings. In this workshop, we'll demonstrate and go over how to start your own seeds professionally and successfully. We are also doing this organically and biodynamically - using herbal teas to prevent damping off, using organic nutrients, etc. For anyone planning a big garden, starting your own strong and healthy seedlings is imperative! Workshop takes place at Midsummer Farm
Plants enjoy tea too! Just as with human skin, plants can absorb many nutrients through the pores on their leaves. Plant teas are applied by spraying the plants foliar areas with nutrient dense brewed liquid fertilizer - or tea. We'll go over the basics of brewing plants teas made from aged manures, compost, and various herbs. And we'll also discuss the Biodynamic 500 prep. Making your own teas is simple and easy. The cost is minimal. And the whole process is so much more clean, graceful, and effective than buying expensive commercial fertilizers. Workshop takes place at Midsummer Farm.
We offer a comprehensive set of organic gardening courses for both beginners and for experienced gardeners.
We wish we had workshops like this available to us when we first started seriously growing our own food. And that's what we are striving to do - provide people with the info and experience to garden and grow successfully.
We offer a variety of 2-hour long workshops as well as intensive style courses for people really wanting to get fully immersed in organic gardening learning. We also offer hands-on sessions for extra learning and experiences. And we are always happy to help you out with any gardening questions or issues at our Plant Sales or via email! We also do personal gardening consultations and group talks and demos.
We started offering this course in response to so many requests we've received, and we've found that it is so much fun to teach it!
This is an Organic Gardening Class geared toward people who are already gardening successfully and have experience in Organic Practices.
We will be covering a variety of topics that take gardening to an artform!
This is basically an Organic Gardening 101. This class is consists of 5 sessions. The first 2-3 hours of each day are structured in content, then we will switch to a more informal question & answer or individualized structure while we eat lunch.
If you have been wanting to start your own organic garden, have been trying to garden organically but have been struggling, or have been gardening and want to use more organic practices and get more produce, this course would be great for you!
Growing your own organic berries is probably the very best and most efficient way to use your garden space, time, and effort. Organic Berries in supermarkets are very expensive and tend to be half rotten before they get to the store. Non-Organic Berries are some of the most sprayed fruits around - little poison bombs really.
But berries are super foods - full of anti-oxidants and amazingly nourishing and healing. Many berries are used medicinally as well. Berry bushes also support other plants, beneficial insects, song birds, and other native fauna.
Berries are also pretty easy to grow and can be grown quite successfully in this area organically. I recommend to everyone to plant lots of berries as you really can't seem to get enough when they are ripe and fresh!
Most berries are perennial - so you spend the time and effort now and then harvest for years to come. They don't need tons of care either. In this 3 hour long workshop, we'll go over the growing requirements for strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, currants, and mulberries. We will also spend a little time on blackberries, wineberries, gooseberries, elderberries, gogi berries, aronia berries, and juneberries.
Participants will be prepared for planting berry plants this spring, which is perfect timing!
Friday, February 26th
11 am - 2 pm
We will have lots of different types of berry plants available for sale at our Spring 2016 Plant Sales!
2016 Berry Plant Variety Listing (TO COME) and A Quick Tips Berry Guide (TO COME)
We offer a introduction-level class on how we use Biodynamics at our farm. Workshop is 3 hours long and students will leave with a solid overview and understanding of how to make use of biodynamics in a practical way. There will be about 2 hours of demo and lecturing, and then we'll enjoy some field to table snacking and about 1 hour of question and answers. $45.00
Cost is $45 | Current Schedule | Registration
More on Biodynamics at our Farm
Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)
Self-Heal or Heal-All (Prunella)
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
Nettle (Urtica dioica)
Chickweed (Stellaria media)
Parsley (Petroselinum hortense)
Oregano/Marjoram (Origanum vulgare/Origanum majorana)
These are all easy to grow (some have been classified as weeds). I find them to be cornerstones of herbal well-being, and I want to share how I use them in my household and everyday
This workshop focuses on 10 common herbs that you probably have growing in your yard (or, if not, are easy to grow!) that can add SO MUCH to your household's health and well being: