Monday, February 4, 2019

Why Failing at Gardening is a Sign of Gardening Genius

New 2 part article over on our other site. (Bare with us as we try to figure out how to best organize our online lives.)

In part 1, we look at why FAILING is a sign of gardening genius. Most people actually have problems and give up gardening because they have a natural gift and understanding for how nature works, and they realize the standard methods of gardening don't work with nature or fit their lives.

In part 2, we look at the alternative, an approach to gardening based on HIGH VALUE, minimum inputs, and working with nature more.

And if you're one of the people who has recently asked us about High Brix gardening or rock dusts and mineralizing soils, here's my article looking over the research on the topic.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Learning from Herbs: Adventures in Home Herbalism

I'm extremely proud to announce that we're running this beautiful program again this year, which we created with our dear friend, student, teacher, and inspiration, Hanna Read of Art of Health Massage. This year, we even have a few new tricks and ideas in store!

When you apply good Permaculture design to the garden, you get a garden that nurtures you back holistically, that's easier, makes sense in your life, and also cares for the world around you. 

So what we wanted to find out was: What do you get when you apply that same design process to home herbalism?

The answer: This program, a course of learning adventures to build knowledge, build your own valuable home apothecary, start a collection of medicinal plants that work for your own situation, and establish a real meaningingful practice of things you will actually USE. 

Adventures? Each interactive class is organized around a series of of them. Every session, we'll go foraging for the best locally-available herbs, do a tea tastings, learn about seasonal herb-gardening in our diverse herb garden, and create some herbal remedies, which you'll take home. 

Swag? Of course! In Permaculture terms, our goal is always to go beyond education to help you invest in "regenerative assets," actual items of value. In this program, you'll take home seeds from many medicinal species (when you need to plant them,) medicinal plants, and remedies including herbal teas, oils, vinegars, salves, bitters, recpies, and even our own herb-infused lotion we're very proud of.

(Well, *cool apothecary cabinet not included)

Each class will contain a component on research-based plant knowledge, foraging, gardening, sourcing, and processing. We'll start with strong basic foundations, break down the material into accessible chunks, and build up over time, with each class building on what we learned the previous session. For example, over the course we'll dry herbs that will go into an oil, that we'll use for a salve, that we'll use to make a lotion, so you'll practice the basic skills that build up to more advanced processing! 

Here's a basic schedule of our curriculum, including notes on he processing topics, which leads you through what we consider the most common and important uses:

May: Introduction, Foundations and Spring Cleaning (Tonics, pestos, drying, teas, infusions and decoctions.)

June: "Let food by thy medicine." Cooking with herbs, oils, vinegars, bitters, foraged superfoods.

July: Wounds and Healing: Electuaries, salves, poultices, etc.

August: Skin, hair, beauty. Balms, butters, creams, lotions, etc.

Sept: Winter wellness. Fermenting, more tincturing. 

And of course, the whole adventure takes place in our garden, with hundres of species of plants, inspired by the medieval Jardin de Cure, a traditional form of holistic herb garden or physic garden, which we think is a pretty cool place to learn about herbalism. 

Register now by visiting our store!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

2019 "CSA," Community Supported Permaculture

This is my favorite way to do Permaculture.

I do design/installation jobs for people who want to get a fast-forward on their projects without years of in-depth study of Permculture and forest gardening ecology, but I really do think the best way to transform your landscape is this class where we walk through the whole process together, with a group of other forest gardeners for support.

And it's a class that doubles as an advanced foraging class, covering many of Michigan's most valuable wild gems available throughout the growing season, which are often excellent additions to the forest garden or Permaculture landscape.

Classes run 3rd Saturdays from 9 - noon from May - November.

There are three different ways to be involved, depending on your needs. All three come with some seeds and plants, lots of advice, and an online version via media-rich emails and interactive online classes.

Class Alone: $400 ($50/class, includes samples, a few rare plants and seeds.)

Class Plus: $700. Includes a larger number of plants to start a nice Permaculture collection, and includes a basic consultation.

Home Garden Membership: ($1,000) COVERS CLASS TUITION FOR 2 ADULTS. Includes $350 worth of rare, specially recommended plants, a mushroom kit, a written site Permaculture consultation and more:

If you'd like to discuss your options or other details, please give an email at

Hope you'll consider joining us!