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Ecological Gardening
Practical Permaculture for Resilience and Regeneration
Taught by Spencer Nielsen

We are living in a time in which a collective realization is dawning: our future is uncertain and our human-built systems and structures are faltering. Now is the time to develop practical skills in creating intensely local food systems, resiliently resourced communities, and to become allies of the Earth.


This practical, permaculture-based course will support you in developing and applying the skills needed to grow food and plant medicine, in harmony with living systems, and is taught in the mature permaculture garden that is Commonweal Garden. If you've been contemplating designing and installing a veggie garden but have been uncertain how and where to start--join us! Are you looking for community in sharing plant-growing knowledge? Interested in bringing an ecological awareness to your land stewardship and gardening practices to have an ever-more positive effect on the land? This course is for you.

This course is designed to support you in your own journey toward skillful, ecologically-attuned gardening. We will begin in September and conclude in May. Topics covered, by season include:



Elemental Site assessment

Permaculture Design: reading the landscape, designing with elements

Planning and starting your winter garden

Tools and tool care


Composting, compost tea

Home-scale soil tests

Mulching and sheet mulching

Cover crops


Seed sowing, tending seedlings, soil mixes

Perennial plant propagation

Growing annual veggies


Aquaculture and aquaponics

Rainwater harvesting: 

  • roof catchment with rain tanks

  • rain gardens

  • swales:finding contours and digging swales



  • Deciduous fruit tree selection, pruning

  • permaculture plant guilds

  • perennial plant propagation


  • Thermophilic compost 

  • Actively aerated compost teas

  • Seaweed 

  • Microorganisms

  • Biochar making and using

  • Vermicomposting

Animals in the Garden:

  • Supporting pollinators, working with bees

  • Integrative Pest Management

  • Animals on the Farm

Watering the Garden Wisely:

  • Grey-water system basics

  • Irrigation basics

  • Bioremediation

Course dates, 2022-2023: 

Fall: September 24, October 25, November 12, December 10

Spring: February 4, March 11, April 15, May 13

Please note-this is offered as one complete course, and meets from 10 am to 5 pm.

Please bring your lunch.

(Registration for 2022-2023)

Discounted Registration-Full program: $750

Actual cost Registration-Full program: $850

Full price + supporting another registrant: $1000

**We have limited capacity to further discount pricing for those in need. Please reach out to; special priority given to BIPOC, elders, single mothers, students, and those working in the nonprofit realm. Please reach out before registering! 
Registration Closed
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