Module 1: Going Beyond Organic


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“Having a successful vegetable garden takes time, effort and commitment. The feeling of accomplishment you get when you watch the seeds sprout and then turn into fabulous-tasting food is one of the great pleasures in life. Start out small, grow what you love to eat, have fun, relax, and enjoy healthy food on your table.” – Catherine Abbot, author of Grow Your Own Vegetables “If there is no gardener there is no garden.” – Stephen Covey

Books and new experts about food gardening abound. And that is how it should be. There is organic gardening, chemical gardening, intensive gardening, square foot gardening, no-dig gardening, biodynamics and permaculture to mention just a few. Each of them has their pros and cons; good features and bad features; and we might add their disciples and opponents. The latter sometimes fiercely so.

It all goes to show that everybody gardens in a different and unique way.

Yet underlying this diversity is a consistency of natural laws and key success principles that apply to every food garden and every food gardener.

As the word “GO” in the Go Food Gardening System indicates, it is first and foremost a pragmatic hands-on approach. So remember to get out a pen and dot down your AHA’s (Eureka! Moments) as you work through the lessons in this course.

Food Gardens Defined

“In a healthy town every family can grow vegetables for itself. The time is past to think of this as a hobby for enthusiasts; it is a fundamental part of human life.” – Christopher Alexander

Our definition of a food garden is simply any space devoted to growing edible crops with the intention of consuming them. It can be a single jar of sprouts on a kitchen sink, a few potted herbs on a windowsill, a tray of baby greens, a single lemon tree in a decorative pot, a small herb garden or veggie patch, or an extensive herb/vegetable/fruit garden.

Upon completion of Module 1 you will be able to:

  • Apply the ‘secret underground’ treatment protocol to any ailing plant
  • Apply the 186 year old  Law of the Limiting Factor with a modern twist
  • List the key features and benefits of the Go Food Gardening System
  • Assess your own food gardening skills
  • Define your primary role as food gardener
  • Explain the problems with conventional agriculture and why we need to grow-our-own
  • Appreciate the benefits of an eclectic approach to food gardening
  • Realize that building your own system on a proven template is not rocket science

Lessons in Module 1

Sorry, you don’t have access to the beginners lessons. Please Enrol in the Beginners Course.

Beginners Course Lessons

1. A Quick Overview of the Go Food Gardening System

2. The Food Gardening Skills Assessment.

3. Your Role as Gardener

4. Problems with Conventional Agriculture

5. The Power of Having Three Gardening Systems in One

Please note: There are no advanced lessons in this module.

Dig Deeper – Grow Your Food Gardening Skills

…additional (optional) resources for Self-Starters and those that want to make the most of this course…

#1 Organic Gardening Magazine

Everytime that my new digital issue of Organic Gardening Magazine arrives I thank Steve Jobs for my iPad. According to the publishers:

“Organic Gardening readers are women and men who enjoy growing and eating the freshest food, want a garden that is beautiful year-round yet safe for people, pets and wildlife, and take deep satisfaction from working in harmony with nature.

They rely on Organic Gardening for well-researched, in-depth reporting on the best plants to grow in their conditions, the most effective pest and weed control strategies, tips and techniques for keeping plants healthy, plus ideas for sustainable living indoors and out. “

Organic Gardening Magazine is published bi-monthly and it comes with a risk-free 30 day trial for new subscribers.

#2 Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening: A Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Healthy Garden

When the inspiration hits to start an organic garden, many novices could benefit from a guidebook that speaks directly to their enthusiasm, their goals, and, of course, their need for solid information that speaks a newbie’s language—from the most trusted source for organic gardening methods.

In Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening, general garden-building skills (from “Do I need to dig?” to “Where do I dig?”) and specific techniques (from “How do I plant a seed?” to “How much should I water?”) are presented in growing-season order—from garden planning and planting to growing and harvesting.

Many other need-to-know topics like soil, compost, seeds, pest control, and weeds are explained in simple language to ensure success, even on a small scale, on the first try. More than 100 common garden terms are defined, and Smart Starts sidebars offer doable projects to build confidence and enthusiasm for expanding a garden when a gardener is ready.

With a “no question is unwelcome” approach, a troubleshooting section lessens frustrations and encourages experimentation. Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening is everything a beginning gardener (or one who’s new to gardening organically) needs to get growing and keep a garden going strong all season.

#3 Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times  by Steve Solomon.

Designed for readers with no experience and applicable to most areas in the world except the tropics and hot deserts, this book shows that any family with access to garden land can save on their food costs using a growing system requiring just the odd bucketful of household waste water, perhaps a few dollars worth of hand tools, and about the same amount spent on supplies — working an average of two hours a day during the growing season.

I’ll mention this book in future sessions as well. But for Module 1 just read Chapters 1 and 2. Especially the “Helping plants grow” section in Chapter 2 for another explanation of Liebig’s Barrel.

If you knew nothing more than the content of Chapter 2,and if you spread some manure, dug the ground once a year, followed the vague instructions on the back of seed packets, you would have a productive garden.