Online Gardening School

December 31 - December 31, 2020

Growing a garden can change your life

black and white drawing of carrots

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Have you always dreamed of growing a garden, but don’t know where to start? Or, have you tried your hand at gardening, but felt disappointed about the results? Do you fantasize about tucking seeds into soil and reaping abundant harvests?

bare feet and lettuce plants

Now is the time to make your dreams into a reality.

We’re here to help.

Check out our video about the Online Gardening School.

This Online Gardening School will show you how to grow bountiful food, whether you’re gardening on your apartment balcony or you’ve got a quarter acre of sunny ground to work with, or if you’re somewhere in between. In this age of global disaster and disconnect, growing a garden is a powerful act of positive change, both for yourself and for the larger community.


Take your food security into your own hands.

“The time has come to reclaim the stolen harvest and celebrate the growing and giving of good food as the highest gift and the most revolutionary act” – Dr. Vandana Shiva

 

woman in garden with eggplant

The Online Gardening School offers masterful guidance for a range of experience levels.

Our content is accessible to the total newbie and will set a solid foundation to get started in the garden. It’s also useful and practical for folks who have already grown a garden or helped out on a farm, but want to learn more. And it will provide details, new techniques, and inspiration for the avid gardener who wants to dig deeper.

This program covers all things gardening, from a holistic, permaculture-inspired perspective.

Indeed, it will not only give you the foundations you need to get started, but also serve as your companion as you tend your own plot. We offer step-by-step instructions for each month and each vegetable, plus we hold regular live Q&A sessions to provide mentorship and personalized guidance. There are also a bunch of bonus classes to deepen your gardening prowess and your big-picture understanding of food systems. It’s up to you which classes you access, and when.

This gardening program is for anyone in the continental US (or similar climates).

We currently live in the mountains of Southern Appalachia, but we’ve both gardened all over the country and the world: from the Pacific Northwest, to Arizona, New York State, Northern California, Florida, Northeastern Brazil, and Spain. We’ve had students from all over the world participate in this class and get a lot out of it. Please note, if you live in the tropics or the desert, your conditions will be pretty different than ours. Feel free to reach out to us at gardening@wildabundance.net to help determine if this program is a good fit.


There has never been a better time to start a garden than right now!

woman with basket in okra patch in garden

Knowing how to grow food is your birthright.

We live in a strange new world, where many people live in cities and where the vast majority of our food is grown in monocrops on large, industrial farms. Even big organic farms can take the shape of factories, with little holistic engagement in the agroecological and social systems that they’re a part of. Most of us grew up with barely any understanding of where our food came from, let alone the magical knowledge of how to grow it ourselves.

beet crop in the garden

But no matter who you are, your ancestors had deeply rich relationships with their food, whether they tended gardens or tended the garden of wild nature. Now is the time to reclaim your birthright and replenish the knowledge that is at the core of living in harmony on planet earth.

Get gardening mentorship while learning through your own experience.

It may sound strange, but we’ve had many students who have helped out on farms, yet don’t have the confidence to plant gardens on their own. In fact, there’s something very different about actually planning and planting a garden from scratch, rather than being told exactly what to do and where.

Man in garden with rake and basket of vegetables

The Online Gardening School gives you the skills and tools you need to be able to grow a garden for yourself, from the ground up, whether it’s 6’x6’ or 60’x60’. In other words, we give you guidance and support, but you’re in charge of making decisions and customizing your garden to fit your personal needs. We’ve learned about soils, seeds, weeds, and gardening techniques all over the world, but you’re the world’s leading expert on your garden. Together, we’ll create a synergy that leads to success. You’ll also grow a sense of empowerment and ownership over your work and accomplishments as you develop a reciprocal relationship with your own garden.


It is time to taste the fruits — and vegetables — of your labor.

mother with baby eating a giant tomato


Wherever you are, on any device, you can watch the videos and access the written materials for this course.

Natalie and Chloe on all devices for online gardening school


The core of the Online Gardening School is a series of foundational classes, along with monthly lessons on the garden as a whole, plus in-depth guides to growing a whole lot of vegetables.

These videos and written materials will teach you what you need to know to break ground and start growing some serious food. You don’t have to complete all of the foundations before you get started; instead, we encourage you to choose what feels most relevant to you and then explore the lessons further as your garden grows. Foundational classes include: 

using a hoe in the garden

  • What a Garden Needs 

  • Starting a Garden from Grass 

  • How to Plant a Seed and Get It to Grow 

  • Holistic Garden Planning

  • Basic and More Specialized Gardening Tools

  • Seed Selection and Considerations

  • Choosing Plant Starts

  • Fertility and Fertilizers

  • Pest Management

  • Weeds and Weeding

  • Water and Irrigation 

  • Soils 101

  • And more


Seasonal Garden Classes Every Month

woman harvesting winter squash

Monthly video classes

In addition to the foundational classes, the online gardening school includes a set of video lessons and written content specifically tailored for each month. These include an overview of the garden at that time of year, tours of our own gardens, along with detailed guidance on the vegetables that are being planted, tended, or harvested that month. Within this monthly content for each vegetable we include tips on infrastructure, troubleshooting, managing fertility, weeding, pest control, cooking from the garden, and more. Additionally, we discuss edible weeds and cover crops in their own lessons.

You could grow a tomato like THIS!

picking giant ripe tomatoes in the garden

We’ll show you how to grow well over 25 kinds of vegetables, herbs, and berries in the online gardening school.

You can pick and choose which ones you want to grow and just follow those lessons, or completely nerd out on all of them.

Please don’t pressure yourself to grow them all (especially if you don’t like them or don’t have enough room)! The program is so ample because we want your palette of vegetables to feel abundant, whatever your particular taste and conditions. Some of our favorites that you will be able to grow with the help of this course (depending on your climate) are: tomatoes, broccoli, kale, cilantro, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, basil, garlic, cucumbers, squash — plus so many more. For a more complete list, check out the FAQ below.

pulling weeds in the summer garden

Receive personalized mentorship from experienced gardeners.

Along with the monthly video and written lessons, you’ll be invited to our monthly live online Q&A sessions, where you can ask questions and we can dig deeper into gardening together.

Another way to personalize the program and receive individual mentorship is to pose questions, comments, and share ideas in the comments box below each video lesson. If you ask a question in this space, an instructor will respond quickly, and other students can too. We love this “public message board” style of discussion, because every student can learn from everyone else’s questions and ideas.

Gardening teachers mulching onions

Along with the foundational classes and monthly resources, the Online Gardening School includes a rich library of references and bonuses.

We’ve been passionate about growing food and supporting local, sustainable food systems for a long time…and we never get tired of studying these subjects and expanding our understandings. While we’re committed to offering practical, accessible instruction on the nitty-gritty of growing a garden, there’s also so much more to explore. Plus, there are lots of amazing resources out there that we just love, and we think you might too. That’s where the appendix and bonus material for the Online Gardening School come in.

purple peas on vine

Deepen and broaden your relationship with your garden, and the larger food system, with our bonus classes

Gardens and food systems are a point of intersection for so much of our lives. And, there are so many different ways to do things! In the library of bonus material, we share original and guest lessons on subjects that go way beyond the basics. This includes:

woman eating kale next to a row cover

  • Crop rotation

  • Compost

  • Companion planting and intercropping

  • Succession planting

  • Gardening with the moon

  • Season extension

  • Container gardening

  • Yoga for Gardeners

  • Seed Saving

  • And more!

Appendix – Written Gardening Resources

There is a lot of gardening information that’s best communicated through the written word, charts, and lists. We provide a bunch of this good stuff in PDF form, as an Online Gardening School Appendix. These can be viewed on your phone, tablet, or computer, or downloaded and printed out. Some of these resources are original (like our favorite varieties and books), and some come from our mentors and allies. 

gardening students with summer bounty

  • Soil Temperature Germination Chart
  • Seed Spacing Chart
  • Our Favorite Varieties for Homestead Use
  • Sources for Tools and Supplies
  • Our Favorite Books and Other Resources
  • Small Bioregional Seed Companies
  • Planting Dates for Various Bioregions

examining red okra flower

We hope you feel excited, not overwhelmed, by all of this material! You’ll have plenty of time to look it over, digest it, and apply it as your gardening journey unfolds. You’ll have access to the course for life, so you can take your time checking out the material now and revisit it for years to come. And if you don’t like eating eggplants, peppers, or some other vegetable, you don’t have to grow them!

We encourage newbies to start small, with just a handful of veggies and the foundational videos. After that, this program will continue to feed your hunger to grow your gardening know-how for years after your first killer tomato. In fact, there’s a lot of material in the online gardening school that is appropriate for folks that have many, many years of experience.

In these times of uncertainty, doing peaceful, productive work with the living world is truly a potent medicine. When this work also increases you and your community’s food security, it’s revolutionary.

growing lambsquarters in the garden


“Each day, my peace of mind is directly correlated with the time I spend in my garden.” – Natalie Bogwalker


100% Satisfaction Guaranteed

woman working in permaculture garden

If you aren’t fully satisfied, we’ll give you a full refund for up to 2 weeks after you are granted access to the class.

Go at your own pacewoman harvesting beans from garden

With the Online Gardening School, you can move at your own pace, taking advantage of any available time you’ve got to work in the garden. This flexibility means you can tailor your learning experience to your unique lifestyle and schedule.

Lifetime access

When you sign up for the Online Gardening School, you get lifetime access to the course materials. This means you’ll be able to revisit lessons over and over, year after year. Also, as we add new content to the program, it will be yours, free of charge.

Here’s what some of our students have to say about the Online Gardening School

Andy Myers

“My gardening life will be divided into before the Online Gardening School and after the Online Gardening School. This was the best thing I did all year, from Q&As to the videos, to the written resources – everything was so well thought out, accessible, and digestible. From row covers, to growing my own starts, to finally learning how to actually prune a tomato (all of the things I always wanted to know that seemed elusive and out-of-reach) are mysteries no more!  And despite being virtual, it was great to see what other gardeners were up to, and ask questions in real-time to Chloe & Natalie – it felt like real community, especially at a time when that was sorely needed. I feel like one year gardening with the online gardening school was comparable to probably a dozen years learning by just trial and error without this support – I can’t recommend this class enough!”

Andy Myers, Asheville, NC, Documentary Film Company Senior Impact Coordinator

 

Amrit Chima

“I love that I have access to Online Gardening School course content for life – and that new content is being added. As a working mom, my schedule doesn’t always allow for consistent engagement with gardening. Knowing the information is there when I need it keeps me motivated. Plus, Chloe and Natalie have created a judgement-free zone where no question is a bad one and each person’s experience and success is celebrated.” 

Amrit Chima, Bay Area, California, Education Administrator

 

Holley Evergreen

“These videos are so helpful, and somehow they feel very personal and informal. I use them almost like I use some of my gardening reference books, referring back to them for fresh ideas each time I watch and listen and take notes. Chloe and Natalie’s lessons are empowering, and they inspire me to grow and try new things!”

Holley Evergreen, Knoxville, TN, Outdoor Educator

 

Brian Klein

“I’ve been gardening for a couple years now… not really knowing what I’m doing, but basically putting stuff in the ground and getting some veggies that my family can enjoy. I’ve wanted to keep getting better at it, so I’ve researched web forums, purchased books, borrowed books from the library, and annoyed my neighbors by looking for the answers. I’ve found a lot of good information that way, but what I’ve learned in this course so far has been much more efficient and valuable than most of what I’ve found elsewhere. The biggest value has been the practical on screen demonstrations… no more endless searches on YouTube for the proper techniques!! So I guess we shall see how this goes, as I am using the info I’ve learned to apply to my garden this summer. Thank you Chloe and Natalie!”

Brain Klein, Golden Valley, MN, Freelance Motion Picture Designer/Video Editor

 

Caitlin Clarke

“I had been dabbling in backyard gardening here in the Bay Area for a few years before this class found me at the perfect time in spring 2020. It was exactly what I needed to deepen my understanding of WHY I am doing this (with plenty of good information about how-to as well). Chloe and Natalie both have amazing presence that just shines through. It’s like having a friend/garden guru who is there whenever you need them. I LOVE THIS CLASS. Thank you so much for doing the work to get it out into the world, being in the garden has made a huge difference in me keeping my sanity this year, and both instructors provided the perspective that I needed. Real talk, undercurrents of their deep passion for revolution in the way we interact with food systems, moon gardening, fertilizing with pee… Yes!!!”

Caitlin Clarke, Santa Clara, CA, Working Mom

Enter the journey of gardening with seasoned mentors.

Your guides into the journey of gardening bring enthusiasm and decades of experience to the table. Their own paths have been deeply influenced by their experiences in the garden — nurturing small seeds, excitedly watching them germinate, celebrating their strong green growth, marvelling at the flowers and pollinators, and graciously harvesting delicious fruits and roots to prepare with love in the kitchen and share with friends, family, and neighbors. Both instructors have shaped their lives around growing food and celebrating the rhythms of the seasons through gardening, farming, raising animals, and practicing permaculture.

Natalie started her first garden in the backyard and on the roof of a carport at a rental house in college.

She had begrudgingly helped her mother in the garden as a child, but at 19, when she began to understand the cultural and political importance of food autonomy, that’s when she really dove in. Once she took the plunge herself, with all of her early-adulthood political passion and intensity, she fell deeply in love with the process. Natalie found that gardening gave her a sense of peace, gave her body the physical challenges that it needed, and gave her mind a healthy outlet for analysis and improvement. She changed her studies to ecological agriculture and graduated from The Evergreen State College with a degree in the subject. She taught her first gardening class over 20 years ago at a free school in Olympia, Washington. Since then, Natalie has dedicated her life to learning, sharing, teaching, and organizing the teaching of earthskills, including gardening, permaculture, natural building, and carpentry. Natalie currently directs Wild Abundance, a school she founded in 2008 that teaches skills for self-sufficiency. Wild Abundance, located in the mountains of North Carolina, teaches both online and in-person classes.

Chloe has wanted to be a farmer since she was a wee child in the suburbs of Northern California.

She didn’t grow up with any kind of garden at home, but two of her best friends lived more rurally and their families raised vegetables, flowers and fruits, milked goats, made cheese, and rode horses. Needless to say, Chloe spent as much time with them as possible. From the age of about 7, when Chloe took a stance against the cruelty of factory farms and became a vegetarian, activism has been a part of her passion for food and the earth. Throughout her life, she’s explored and engaged the intersections of food, environment, social justice, and community. She has long yearned to understand how and why we humans have gotten into such a dysfunctional relationship with the sources of our sustenance, and how we can shift that. In order to explore these powerful questions she’s pursued formal and informal education, including: a degree in Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems from the University of California, Santa Cruz; work with direct-trade models and collaborative projects with farmer cooperatives; traveling and volunteering on farms all over the world; working on commercial farms; and lots of experimentation. Since 2013 she’s been co-managing a 23 acre homestead with her partner. They’re both passionate about receiving sustenance straight from the living earth, honoring the plants and animals that feed us, learning by doing, sharing with the collective, and delicious, nourishing food.


The bounty of the Earth is waiting for YOU!


Frequently Asked Questions about the Online Gardening School

I am an absolute newbie; will I be lost in the course?
No, you will be totally fine! We give a lot of information so that gardeners of all levels can benefit from the course, but it is designed to be very accessible to beginners. Just make sure to start with the foundational videos and focus on a few vegetables at first (not all of them!).

Can I really learn gardening online?
Yes! We think that this course is actually better at getting you ready to garden on your own than working alongside an expert gardener. We have found that being in a helping role is a totally different thing than being in charge of all of the details. Using this course to start your own garden, you will be in charge — but you will have the teachings and guidance of Natalie and Chloe at your fingertips, whenever you hit a stumbling block. We think this is the best way to learn gardening:having a mentor, but being in charge of the garden yourself!

I've been gardening for years; will I get anything out of this program?
Yes, there will be something here for you, too. The Online Gardening School is pretty darn robust! In fact, we have a dear friend who is a large-scale commercial organic farmer and she took notes as she audited some of the videos (for her own growing practices, not just for providing feedback)! You may learn new things about vegetables you’ve already been growing, or get inspired to try growing some that you haven’t yet. With so many bonuses and in-depth foundational classes, you’ll surely find material, perspectives, and techniques that will add to your growing body of knowledge.

Can I start the class at any time?
You can start the program as soon as you register. If you register in the winter, you will be able to complete many of the foundational classes before spring, which will give you a leg up on the growing season!

What will I take away from this course?
You will learn how to grow food, in a way that’s cooperative with the living world. You’ll learn how to grow specific vegetables well, and also much more. The foundational and bonus lessons will provide you with an accessible and useful education in the ecology of growing and producing food. This means you won’t just memorize the steps as we teach them, you’ll learn how to explore the living world of the garden and develop a dynamic, engaged relationship with it. The monthly videos and step-by-step guides to growing vegetables will help you build confidence in cultivating specific vegetables and working with the rhythms of the seasons. Finally, our hope is that you’ll also grow a sense of connection and camaraderie with the group through the online Q&A sessions, group conversation in the comments boxes, and private social media group.

I live in a city — is the class applicable?
Yes! This class is appropriate whether you have a bed in a community garden, an apartment patio garden, a big or small backyard, or a field in the country!

What is a sliding scale?
It’s a simple, tiered pricing system that allows folks to pay what they can afford for the online gardening school. Basically, you choose what to pay for the online gardening school (within the sliding scale) based on your income and finances. We offer this because we’re committed to providing high quality education to people of all income levels. Please pay what you’re able to. If you have a household income of over $80K/year, please pay on the upper end; if your income is limited, or heavily affected by COVID-19, then please pay on the low end. You get to place yourself on the scale where you think is appropriate, in order to support this vital education getting to as many people as possible. Whatever you pay, you’ll receive the same comprehensive gardening program.

What vegetables will I learn to grow?

You will learn to grow the following and more! Don’t feel any obligation to grow all of these, but the information will be there if you want it.

  • Beans
  • Beets and chard
  • Carrots
  • Cilantro
  • Basil
  • Dill
  • Daikon and radishes
  • Brassicas: Kale, Cabbage, Collards, and Broccoli
  • Lettuce
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Okra
  • Peppers and Chilis
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Winter squash and pumpkins
  • Zucchini
  • Garlic
  • Arugula
  • Parsnips
  • Turnips and Rutabagas
  • Strawberries
  • Brambles (Raspberries, Blackberries, etc.)
  • Blueberries

Are there scholarships?
Yes! At this time, partial scholarships are available to anyone who feels they need one, just choose that option on the sliding scale. In addition, we give out limited numbers of three kinds of full scholarships: one based on financial need; one for folks who plan to use this knowledge to benefit a larger community or organization (especially underserved communities); and one is a racial equity scholarship for African American and Native American students. The scholarship application can be found in the registration block.

Who are the main teachers, and what are their qualifications?
Chloe and Natalie are the main teachers. See more about them above. Additionally, we’re excited to include several guest instructors for this program. Click on the individual instructors below to learn more about them and their qualifications.

Learn more about the Online Gardening School Affiliate Program here.


Instructors

Natalie Bogwalker

Natalie Bogwalker

Natalie is the visionary behind Wild Abundance, as well as a primary instructor for many classes. She’s passionate about teaching and sharing skills to help all kinds of people live in an empowered and Earth-centered way. Natalie and her family live at the Wild Abundance homestead campus in the Southern Appalachians. She balances her time ...

Chloe Lieberman

Chloe (she/her) is the co-instructor the the Online Gardening School. She also writes for Wild Abundance’s blog, newsletter, and website. In addition, jumps in to help out with management and strategy as the co-visionary for the business as a whole. These roles give her a welcome outlet for the knowledge and excitement she perpetually cultivates ...

Lewis Blake

Lewis Blake (he/him) loves plants! He’s been growing and tending both annual and perennial crops for many years. He and his family grow berries and salad for market at their farm, Bear Necessities, based out of Weaverville, NC. They also bring potted, perennial plants and fruit bushes for edible and otherwise “useful” landscaping to Asheville-area tailgate markets. ...

Dallas Conyers

Dallas Conyers (she/her) is the instructor for “yoga for gardeners” in the Online Gardening school. She reminds us all to stay limber and strong while we work! She works as a Body Restoration Specialist: teaching yoga, foods for healing, and spiritual reestablishment to help people become ABLE to live out their creation purpose. Dallas is ...

Becky Beyer

Becky (she/her) started her crazy love affair with all things homesteading while growing up on a farm in central New Jersey. After getting her B.S. in Plant and Soil Science from the University of Vermont, she moved to Asheville, NC, to explore all the amazing work being done in this beautiful bioregion. She teaches spoon ...
Daniel Ostrowski

Daniel Ostrowski

Daniel (he/him) grew up at the base of a fourteen-thousand-foot mountain in far Northern California and has loved plants all his life. He graduated from the University of California, Davis with a degree in Plant Sciences and an emphasis in Crop production and Viticulture. After college he went to work for a pesticide and fertilizer ...

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