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2022 Certified Garden Master Course
January 10th to January 14th, 2022, 2022
Near Missoula, Montana

Only 2 tickets left!!


2022 Certified Garden Master Course with Helen Atthowe

click here for prices to garden master course


About our course:

Most Master Garden courses offered by state universities include large sections about pesticide use and safety and non-organic approaches to gardening. Not so with this course!

With the Certified Garden Master course, you will learn organic, veganic, no-till, and permaculture gardening knowledge and skills. This course will focus on soil and habitat-building for beneficial organisms and systems thinking for gardeners and farmers: how to manage relationships rather than just crops.

Our goal is to understand ecological functions and interactions within plant, soil, microorganism, and insect communities. You will learn how to identify and manage all the relationships that make up a healthy farm-garden-ecosystem--one that does not require pesticides or large off-farm fertilizer inputs.

Paul wheaton and Helen Atthowe teaching in Montana

About Helen:
Not only has Helen Atthowe taught Master Gardener courses for 17 years, she also wrote the manual for her course in Western Montana. Helen studied with Fukuoka and has been learning how to pay attention to the land and apply his farming principles to her commercial organic farms for 35 years, while also adding and developing ecological farming principles of her own. She has grown everything from permaculture food forests to managing a 2,000 acre organic commodity farm.

She has an undergraduate degree in Agro-Ecology, an MS in Horticulture, and research towards a PhD in Entomology on how reduced-tillage affects beneficial organism populations and crop biological control. Paul and Helen have recorded multiple podcasts together, and they are some of Paul's most listened to podcasts, with many people listening to them repeately!

Helen is currently writing her own, comprehensive Garden Master book. You can preview the introduction here!

helen atthowe people permaculture and polyculture gardening

Event Schedule:

Day 0: Check-In (Sunday, January 9)

Check-In: 9:00am - 7:00pm MST
Get Settled In: Find your bunk or other accommodation and get the lay of the land
Complimentary dinner is served at 6pm.
Evening Session: 7:15 – 8:30 Introduction: Growing Your Diet: the Agroecosystem concept at Woodleaf Farm. Virtual Tour of Helen Atthowe’s Oregon Farm.
Sleep: Try to get plenty of rest. We start early and you have a full day jam-packed with information tomorrow.


Day 1: Introduction and Overview: Ecological Interactions & how everything is connected. (Monday, January 10)

Session 1: Designing an Agroecosystem or Garden-Ecosystem within Your Environment. Introducing Helen’s Ten Ecological Principles for Managing Ecological Relationships Rather Than Crops. Systems Thinking for Farmers & Gardeners. How Soil & Habitat Building is Connected.
Session 2: Agroecosystem Details:
  • Light – cropping diversity and canopy structure.
  • Geology, climate, slope, aspect, soil type, and drainage.
  • Temperature - plant response to temperature, modifying the microclimate.
  • Water - humidity, rainfall, soil moisture content, & irrigation.

  • Session 3: Choosing Crops: species and variety selection for year-round food production and/or markets.
    Evening Session: Paul’s overview of on-site permaculture technology.

    Day 2: At the Root of a Healthy Plant Community: Soil, Soil Fertility, Nutrient Cycling, & the Soil Organic Matter System (Tuesday, January 11)

    Session 1: Soil Basics, Ecology, and Microbial interactions. Life in the Soil (video).
  • How To Read A Soil Test And What It Tells Us.
  • How to Optimize Organic Matter Decomposition & Nutrient Cycling.

  • Session 2: When to Till and When not to.
    Session 3: Soil Organic Matter System Walk-About and Questions (bring warm clothes & boots)
    Session 4: Cover crops, living mulches, & compost. Grow your own fertilizer. Timing of application and the difference between surface-applied, and incorporated fertilizers.
    Session 5: Plant Nutrient Deficiencies ID. Fertigation “Intervention”, Foliar Feeding, and Compost Teas. Mineral Balancing.
    Evening Session: Soil Organic Matter System Management Practical Details from Woodleaf and Biodesign Farms.

    Day 3: Shifting The Balance to Your Annual and Perennial Crops: Strengthen the “immune system” of your agroecosystem. (Wednesday, January 12)

    Session 1: Working with Insects in the farm/garden System & Creating Habitat.
  • Common Insect Pests and Their Natural Enemies.
  • Insect Predator & Parasite Enhancement Design. Best plants for beneficial insect enhancement.
  • Intervention when insects impact crops.

  • Session 2: Creating Habitat Walk-About and Questions (bring warm clothes & boots).
    Session 3: Working with Diseases in the farm/garden System.
  • Identifying the good guys and managing the bad guys.
  • Plant disease ecology and management.
  • Intervention when diseases impact crops. Rotations, microbial biological control, and plant
  • systemic acquired resistance.

  • Evening Session: Practical Examples of Balancing Nutrient Cycling, Habitat Creation,  & Disease Suppression from Woodleaf, Biodesign, and Other Farms.

    Day 4: Working With Plant Competition in the Farm/Garden System. (Thursday, January 13)

    Session 1: What is a weed & how much competition can your specific crop(s) handle? Benefits of weeds & how to design weeds into your system. Enhancing the competitive ability of crops to resist weeds (crop planting timing & microclimate modification). Weed ID and which weeds to encourage and which to manage.
    Session 2: Tillage affects weed species dominance and ecology: when to till to manage specific weeds. Cover crops, living mulches, and weed suppression. Intervention when weeds impact crops.
    Session 3: Plant Competition Walk-About and Questions (bring warm clothes & boots).
    Session 4: Plant Propagation & Seed Saving.
    Evening Session: Pest-Resistant Fruit & Vegetable Varieties. Research Results.

    Day 5: Growing a Diet Details. (Friday, January 14)

    Session 1: Vegetable Crop Details, Troubleshooting, And Intervention. Season Extension. Designing Crop Rotations for Long-Term Pest Prevention.
    Session 2: Fruit Crop Details, Troubleshooting, And Intervention. Mineral Mix Bloom Sprays for Tree Fruit Set & Disease Prevention. Spacing & Pruning. Designing Crop Rotations for Long-Term Pest Prevention. Frost Control.
    Session 3: Round-Table Discussions of Students’ Garden & Farm Issues, Ideas, and Questions.

    organic, veganic permaculture gardening woman with dog vegetables between fruit trees

    Daily Schedule

    7:00am – breakfast
    8:00am – summary of the day
    8:30am – session 1
    10:00am – session 2
    noon – lunch
    1:00pm – session 3
    3:00pm – session 4
    5:00pm – cleanup
    6:00pm – dinner
    7:00pm – evening presentations
    9:30pm to 6:30am – quiet time

    Instructors:

    helen atthowe Helen Atthowe -- Instructor

    Helen has spent 35 years working to connect farming, food systems, land stewardship, and conservation. She currently farms and does soil- and natural enemies’ habitat- building research on a 211 acre organic farm in Eastern Oregon. Helen and her late husband created educational videos on  Agrarian Dreams and did video presentations about their ecological farming methods. Helen has an M.S. in Horticulture from Rutgers University (1987) and has worked in education and research at Rutgers (1986 -1988), Oregon State University (2011-2015) and the University of Arkansas (1984-1985). She was a Horticulture Extension Agent in Montana for 17 years where she designed, taught, and wrote the manual for an Organic Master Garden course. She also owned/operated a 30 acre certified organic vegetable/fruit farm in Montana and a 26 acre certified organic orchard with her late husband in California. Helen wrote grants & conducted several on-farm research projects in Montana and California, including: ecological weed and insect management, organic reduced tillage systems for vegetable and orchard crops, and managing living mulches for soil and habitat building. Helen was a board member for the Organic Farming Research Foundation 2000-2005 and advisor for Wild Farm Alliance in 2018 & 2019.

    Websites: woodleaffarm.com and veganicpermaculture.com

    Youtube: Agrarian Dreams

    Paul Wheaton -- Host/Instructor

    Paul Wheaton, The Duke of Permaculture, is an author, producer, and certified advanced master gardener. He has created hundreds of youtube videos, hundreds of podcasts, multiple DVDs, and written dozens of articles and a book. As the lead mad scientist at Wheaton Labs, he's conducted experiments resulting in rocket stoves and ovens, massive earthworks, solar dehydrators and much more.

    Rebekah Harmon -- Cook

    Hello! My name is Rebekah. I'm a homesteader from Idaho with a hubby, 5 kids, 4 rabbits, and a black lab to feed. Growing better-than-organic food and preparing wholesome, satisfying meals for my family feeds a passion of mine. Loving folks through cooking runs deep for me, clear back to my Irish roots. I'm also lively and full of good humor 😄 even though I'll only borrow it for a week, rest assured that in my kitchen, you'll be nourished, body and soul!

    click here for early bird prices to garden master course
    COMMENTS:
     
    master steward
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    This course is currently about 95% defined, so we are ready to sell tickets while we finish the last 5%.

    Helen's Master Gardener courses from a decade ago featured a 3 inch notebook full of information.   Helen has now improved on that mass of information and her new book will probably be in print by the time this course starts.

    Many people have told me that they have listened to all of my podcasts twice, and the ones with Helen they listened to four times.  

    I met Helen when I did my Master Gardening training with her in 1996.  In talking with other Master Gardeners over the decades, it sounds like I was fortunate to have gotten such an excellent course.  And now that Helen can teach the course she REALLY wanted to teach (without the yoke of all the chem-ag requirements) PLUS more than two decades of additional polish, I am planning on attending this course myself!  

    Another side note:  Helen spent a huge portion of her life attempting to duplicate the methods and results of Masanobu Fukuoka.  About seven years ago she told me that nobody has been able to reproduce what he did and now that he died it might be gone forever.   And this year she told me that she is now getting Fukuoka-level results in a cold climate!   Another reason why I need to take this course!

     
    pollinator
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    Paul, who is your target audience for this class? Also, if I'm a zone 7a/warmer climate gardener newbie, how much content wouldn't apply?
     
    paul wheaton
    master steward
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    The focus will be for cold climate.  Although Helen has managed farms in warmer climates.  A few years ago she was in oroville, CA for several years.  Zone 9a.
     
    Posts: 2
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    Are accommodations included? The link to the intro of Helen's book does not work for me. The error says I don't have sufficient privileges to access this message. The class looks great!
     
    steward
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    Camping (tent/RV/car) is free at all events...though since this event is in January, not many people probably would want to camp outside. There's some other options, too, though.

    (1) rent one of Paul's structures: https://permies.com/wiki/rentals

    (2) Slumber Party in Cooper Cabin: $100 for the whole event to sleep in the main room of Cooper Cabin

    (3) rent somewhere nearby




    Thank you for telling me that the attachment didn't work! I'm going to attach it down below and work on fixing the attachment on the website. Does the attachment down below work for you?
    Filename: Excerpt-from-the-Introduction-of-Helens-book.pdf
    File size: 707 Kbytes
     
    Jamie Barker
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    The attachment works. Thanks!
     
    gardener
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    I want to come.... but I have no idea if I'll be able to cross the boarder!
     
    pollinator
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    Hello! I’m very interested in your course. I am wondering what audience/student level is this class focused toward? And do you have recommendations on how best to prepare for the class?

    Thanks Bunches!
     
    instructor
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    I have planned this course so that any level of gardener can attend  and learn.  Those with more experience will have more "ah ha" moments, but the material will be accessible to everyone. I will be covering very advanced soil and ecology concepts, but I do so with lots of practical gardening and farming stories and examples. This usually makes it real for people and then the science is not so scary. Plus there are walk-about sessions every day where we will go outside and talk about the concepts we are learning in the real world. For preparation, I will  send "pre-homework reading" to all people signed up for the class a month ahead of the class.
    I am finishing up a book that will be the text for the course as soon as I finish it.
    Gardener and farmer friends are proofreading my main "soil revolution" chapter now and I am very excited by their responses and how the science and practical gardening/farming stories in the chapter are coming together and working!
    We will learn together as we discuss!
    Helen Atthowe
    Woodleaf Farm
     
    Posts: 39
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    Hi , I'm singed up and paid, can I just roll up and pay for where I'm staying on site or do I have to work this out in advance...?
    Also I couldn't see the best way to get from the air port to the site?
     
    Nicole Alderman
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    Hi Wez!

    I just sent you a google form that should help answer some of the questions. For rentals, we usually get the instructors situated first, and then start contacting people as to their preference for the available rentals. Tenting/RVing are both free, and I'm pretty sure you can just roll up and figure out where you want to park/pitch your tent.

    Also, once you fill out the form, I'll add you to the private Garden Master forum, and that forum has address, directions, and oodles more information! And, if you need a ride from the airport, we can get that arranged, too!

    I hope that helps!
     
    Wez Prestage
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    Awesome, we are in email comm now...and Im sure you will keep me posted as things roll out!
     
    Ashley Cottonwood
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    Sounds like the border could be open...
     
    paul wheaton
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    The current price of the course is $1150.  https://wheaton-labs.com/garden-master/#tickets

    Those peeps that are bitcoin savvy ...  go ahead and take $50 off.  Send $1100 worth of bitcoin to 177pNU2a9iCpUXQwXX9EbtA2UwZpgeqcMT




     
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    Will this be recorded and/or are any of Helen's workshops available online to purchase/view?    Also, will it be offered again?

    Thanks,

    Kris
     
    paul wheaton
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    I doubt it will be recorded.  And if we don't sell all the tickets this time, then it seems unlikely that we would offer it again.  We've sold quite a few tickets, but there are still some tickets left.  
     
    gardener
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    As of right now, there are only 4 tickets left for this event.

     
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    Hi!  I'd LOVE to attend this, but I have some questions, that after 1.5 hour of looking around, I haven't been able to answer.  I'm not even sure where/how to ask.  Can someone help?

    I want to take the course, and my partner just wants to explore, hike, and conceivably build you your Dog Village.

    The accommodations that are included in the registration fee are in the Fisher Price house, I guess?  How do I find out if any of the other rentals are available for the nights of Jan 9-Jan 15?  My partner and I would like to stay in our own area, not the bunkhouse.  (I see how to *pay* for one, but not how to specify any dates!)

    I found a suggestion to PM Coco, but I'm not sure which Coco is meant.  There are quite a few.

    Thank you!!!  Hope to hear from someone in time to get one of the 4 remaining MG tickets!
     
    paul wheaton
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    The accommodations that are included in the registration fee are in the Fisher Price house, I guess?



    Our events include a space to pitch a tent - but in winter, we just figure "no accommodation."  Some people might do a local hotel or airbnb.  I think that most people will rent a humble bunk from us.  

    How do I find out if any of the other rentals are available for the nights of Jan 9-Jan 15?



    Posting here is good.  It looks like there are two bunks available in cooper cabin.  There are also cooper cabin slumber party spots open.  There are two bunks in the fisher price house open.

    It is possible that the solarium will be finished in the next week or so, and then there will be four bunks available there.

    It is possible that the heat source in the shandolier will be upgraded in the next week or two, and then the shandolier can be rented.  


    My partner and I would like to stay in our own area, not the bunkhouse.



    It sounds like you want the shandolier.  If there is somebody that will definitely rent it, we can put a little extra effort into setting up the heat source.


    I found a suggestion to PM Coco



    If you can show me where that is, we will change that.


    my partner just wants to explore, hike, and conceivably build you your Dog Village.



    Ooooo .... that would be cool!




     
    Marley Kelly
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    Thanks for the speedy reply!

    The Shandolier could be fine.  Or the king size bed in Cooper Cabin?  In town options might be fine too, but not as fun as being able to wake up and walk outside at base camp.  We'd be driving from Gig Harbor, WA, so will have a 4WD vehicle.  How long does it take to commute to town?

    Two major considerations for me/us.  We have a dog who qualifies according to your "rules" on all counts, but if we were to bring her I thought non-common area overnight accommodations might be better for those who didn't want a dog for a roommate no matter how nice or affectionate or easy-going.  (We don't have to bring the dog of course, but it'd be easier for us and she's a good hiking partner.)

    The second consideration is I have a small vial of medicine that needs refrigeration, but I only need access to it every couple days.  I also have a small portable fridge for it, but the fridge batteries won't last more than a day or two without recharging.

    If we sound like too much trouble (perfectly understandable!), maybe I could get a ballpark location for the Lab, and look for other places to stay?

    Is this the best forum to ask these kinds of questions?  You can reach me directly if that's easier at w r kelly 10 AT yahoo . com (remove spaces).

    Thanks again!  It'd be fun if we could get this to work!  Missoula in January!  
     
    Marley Kelly
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    P.S. I'll look for the references to PMing Coco and send you a link.  Not sure which of the many pages I saw it on now!
     
    paul wheaton
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    Marley Kelly wrote:The Shandolier could be fine.  Or the king size bed in Cooper Cabin?



    There is no longer a king size bed in cooper cabin.  There are now two bunk beds, each with a full sized bed on the bottom and a twin on top.  

     How long does it take to commute to town?



    Less than ten minutes to the nearest hotel.  Closer for some other options.  Details after you purchase the ticket.


    We have a dog who qualifies according to your "rules" on all counts, but if we were to bring her I thought non-common area overnight accommodations might be better for those who didn't want a dog for a roommate no matter how nice or affectionate or easy-going.



    The shandolier sounds like a better option.

    There is a spooky little wood stove in there right now.  We just moved the cottage rocket mass heater in there - but we are planning on giving it a proper overhaul before hooking it up.  So, either way, there will be heat in there.


    The second consideration is I have a small vial of medicine that needs refrigeration, but I only need access to it every couple days.  I also have a small portable fridge for it, but the fridge batteries won't last more than a day or two without recharging.



    Winter will be your friend here.

    We are transitioning away from a shared fridge during events, to providing freezer space and people can store freezer packs and use a cooler.  


    Is this the best forum to ask these kinds of questions?  



    Yes.

    Once you bought a ticket, we can offer email answers for things that require a bit more discretion.
     
    Marley Kelly
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    I know what you mean but I haven't found winter to be that helpful in the past.  It can't get too cold either.

    I want to be sure I can find lodging before I purchase a ticket.  Can you tell me what side of town I should be looking on?

    Thank you!
     
    Marley Kelly
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    The references to PMing Coco are in this thread from a couple years ago.  https://permies.com/wiki/rentals
     
    paul wheaton
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    Marley Kelly wrote:I want to be sure I can find lodging before I purchase a ticket.  Can you tell me what side of town I should be looking on?



    Missoula is less than an hour away if you want to do missoula.  

    If you want to wait until we have improved heat in the shandolier, that makes sense.
     
    Marley Kelly
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    I'd like to check out whatever hotel/airbnb/vrbo/other might be available that you're talking about that's 10 mins away. We definitely would not want to commute an hour to Missoula and back every day.

    I understand being protective of Wheaton Lab's location.  But, I assume you have some method for communicating which are the closest places to stay?  I'm a little confused at this point, how you normally work this... Can you not, say, tell me the name of a hotel, or pick a random intersection in the right vicinity so I know where to look for lodging?
     
    paul wheaton
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    As I said above

    Details after you purchase the ticket.

     
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    Hi, My husband and I would like to attend.  We have 3 kids and the oldest would like to attend here. Is there anyone that I can speak with to ask a few private questions?
    Thanks,
    Jenny
     
    paul wheaton
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    For private stuff, send email to visit at richsoil.com - it won't be a fast response, but it will be private.
     
    paul wheaton
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    First, due to reasons, the site formerly known as "the shandolier" is now renamed to "the AmayZheng Dog Star".  It will be a dog friendly plot.  

    Further, the boots in the bootcamp have moved the cottage rocket to the AmayZheng Dog Star and it will probably be fully online in the next week or so.  

    Here you can see the old stove and the new cottage rocket coming in



    That weird little stove was a bit scary.  We needed to clean the chimney a LOT!

    The AmayZheng Dog Star has a bunk bed, with a full size bunk on the bottom and a twin on top.  

     
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    Just got my ticket and am very much looking forward to this!

    I live in the Missoula area, is it possible to commute over to the classes each day or should I plan to stay overnight?

    Thank you!
     
    Liv Smith
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    Kellios Mac wrote:Just got my ticket and am very much looking forward to this!

    I live in the Missoula area, is it possible to commute over to the classes each day or should I plan to stay overnight?

    Thank you!



    Missoula is about an hour away, it may or may not be doable. You will be able to make a decision once we get you all set up for the course. Look for some emails from us:)
     
    paul wheaton
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    You could drive, but it would be a long drive.  

    Our bunks are pretty cheap.  So maybe sleep over most of the time and drive only if the mood strikes you.

     
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