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2023 Certified Garden Master Course

January 2nd to January 6th, 2023, 2023
Near Missoula, Montana




2022 Certified Garden Master Course with Helen Atthowe


Super Earlybird price of $650 in effect NOW until May 31st.  Don't snooze!

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 18 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 1st)
Please plan to arrive the day before the event begins (January 1st, New Years' Day). 10am to 5pm airport pickups, registration and getting settled in.

Arrival: Register and settle in.  Please plan to arrive within this window of time.
Airport pickups - 10am to 5pm.
Arrival by car: 1pm to 5pm.
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.
Quiet Time: 9:30-pm - 6am

Day 1: Introduction and Overview: Ecological Interactions & how everything is connected. (Monday, January 2nd)

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 3rd)

    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 4th)

    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 5th)

    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 6th)

    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 6:00am – 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.

    For information about where to stay at Wheaton Labs, visit
    permies.com/wiki/rentals


    Earlybird price of $780 in effect NOW until August 31.
    Regular price will be $1150.

    click here for prices to garden master course
    COMMENTS:
     
    pollinator
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    Can't come to Montana in January,  but would be interested in virtual/recorded class.  Will this be available after event?
     
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    First post here at Permies*.   About lodging for the 2023 GMC: I have not been successful at determining whether the course is to be held at Base Camp or Wheaton Labs, so... wondering about where to seek rented lodgings- and wondering if we need to be able to trek back and forth the couple o' miles from lodging to course site, etc. daily.   Also, I found a forum for rental listings for 2022.. but not 2023.  Is 2022 the one to use, or am I missing a 2023 info page?  Thank you for your help with this.

    *Thus my boundless ignorance.
     
    gardener
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    Lori Price wrote:First post here at Permies*.   About lodging for the 2023 GMC: I have not been successful at determining whether the course is to be held at Base Camp or Wheaton Labs, so... wondering about where to seek rented lodgings- and wondering if we need to be able to trek back and forth the couple o' miles from lodging to course site, etc. daily.   Also, I found a forum for rental listings for 2022.. but not 2023.  Is 2022 the one to use, or am I missing a 2023 info page?  Thank you for your help with this.

    *Thus my boundless ignorance.



    It is going to be here at Wheaton Labs. Rentals can be found here: https://permies.com/wiki/sepper
     
    Lori Price
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    Excellent, thank you.  Um... next question:  having paid for a rental - within that process, I did not see a process for designating when the rental is sought.  (Cooper: Trying for Jan 1 check-in, Jan 8 check out.  Again, thank you.  
     
    Jeff Bosch
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    Lori Price wrote:Excellent, thank you.  Um... next question:  having paid for a rental - within that process, I did not see a process for designating when the rental is sought.  (Cooper: Trying for Jan 1 check-in, Jan 8 check out.  Again, thank you.  



    Someone will reach out via email or PM to confirm the details.
     
    gardener
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    Hi Lori - I'm emailing you presently.  
     
    master pollinator
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    Lori Price wrote:First post here at Permies*.   About lodging for the 2023 GMC: I have not been successful at determining whether the course is to be held at Base Camp or Wheaton Labs, so... wondering about where to seek rented lodgings- and wondering if we need to be able to trek back and forth the couple o' miles from lodging to course site, etc. daily.   Also, I found a forum for rental listings for 2022.. but not 2023.  Is 2022 the one to use, or am I missing a 2023 info page?  Thank you for your help with this.

    *Thus my boundless ignorance.



    To clarify, because I haven’t seen it mentioned here, the class will be held at the “basecamp” portion of Wheaton labs where our classroom is. Not at “The Lab” portion. There is typically a shuttle that transports people up and down each morning and night and often there are attendees that carpool together. That might determine which structure/bed you choose to rent.
     
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    Jeff Bosch wrote:

    Lori Price wrote:First post here at Permies*.   About lodging for the 2023 GMC: I have not been successful at determining whether the course is to be held at Base Camp or Wheaton Labs, so... wondering about where to seek rented lodgings- and wondering if we need to be able to trek back and forth the couple o' miles from lodging to course site, etc. daily.   Also, I found a forum for rental listings for 2022.. but not 2023.  Is 2022 the one to use, or am I missing a 2023 info page?  Thank you for your help with this.

    *Thus my boundless ignorance.



    It is going to be here at Wheaton Labs. Rentals can be found here: https://permies.com/wiki/sepper



    I did not even realize that the first page is for 2022 instead of 2023. And it said the SEPP link was for non-event accommodation? So I paid for an accommodation but it did not specify the date and I might have paid the wrong amount. Not sure what do do. Please help?
     
    Beau Davidson
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    Shilpa Tilwalli wrote:

    I did not even realize that the first page is for 2022 instead of 2023. And it said the SEPP link was for non-event accommodation? So I paid for an accommodation but it did not specify the date and I might have paid the wrong amount. Not sure what do do. Please help?



    Hi, Shilpa! I'll get you totally taken care of, not to worry. Be looking for a couple emails in an hour or so, okay?
     
    We find this kind of rampant individuality very disturbing. But not this tiny ad:
    Our perennial nursery has sprouted!
    https://permies.com/t/174246
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