Select a Class by Discipline
gardening & farming
Organic Gardening Series:
Seed Starting Skills
Growing your own plants from seed frees you from the expense and limitations of store bought flats, gives you access to infinite varieties, and helps you extend your season! In this workshop, we’ll demonstrate how to successfully start your garden plants from seed yourself. We will learn about varying needs for light, heat, moisture, timing, nutrition and disease prevention that are crucial to seedlings. We will explore options in lighting and heat setups, seed choice, and seedling handling. When you master these skills, you can grow healthy, chemical-free baby plants at a low cost, increase self-sufficiency and sustainability, growing a larger garden, and experiment with rare and heirloom plants and vegetables.
Course Fee: $85 - Supply Fee: $5
Location: Folk School Victory Garden
Kitchen Potager Gardens
The kitchen garden, known as potager from the French tradition, is a very old concept of growing a compact intermingling of herbs, flowers, fruits and vegetables for immediate use, conveniently located to a kitchen, and with an element of beauty and organization. This course will introduce the basic elements of the kitchen garden, explore the plants typically grown in this style, and help you know what to do to create a beautiful productive place where you can quickly gather greens, herbs, fruits and vegetables for meals!
The Culinary Herb Garden
Learn to identify, seed, grow, and harvest a wide variety of culinary herbs! We will cover the cultivation needs of basic food herbs such as basils, dill, parsley, rosemary, thyme, oregano, mint, chives and cilantro. And we will also learn about the wide range of less-well-known herbs, including chervil, shiso, savories, sorrel, lemon balm, fennel, lavender, lovage, etc. We will talk about some of the qualities and uses of each herb. Learning will include hands-on demos in the on-site garden. Students will leave with sample potted herbs and a sown flat of your choice of herb seeds to tend.
Herbal & Compost Teas for the Garden
Plants enjoy tea too! Just as with human skin, plants can absorb many nutrients through the pores on their leaves, as well as applications to the soil. In this class, you will learn the basics of brewing plant teas made from aged manure, compost, and various herbs, and demonstrate their uses. We will learn about the properties of the plants used as fertilizers and teas, and why their use aids the growth of other plants. Making your own garden treatment teas is simple, easy, and inexpensive, and an essential skill in organic gardening. While not required, the Basic Composting class provides foundational information for this class.
Growing Great Garlic
Growing your own garlic can be easy and so rewarding, when you know how to work with the plant’s needs! In this class, you will gain the basic knowledge needed for planting, growing, and harvesting garlic successfully. We will cover the biological lifecycle of the plant, the growing cycle for our local climate, fertility and soil amendments, watering needs, mulching, how and when to plant and harvest, and how to cure and save seed garlic. We will talk about garlic varieties and how to choose wisely to get the best results, and discuss some of the common pitfalls that can affect your harvest. Hands-on demos and practice in the school garden will mingle with discussion, and students will gain the finer details to really make garlic growing successful!
Decorative Garlic & Onion
Braiding & Storage
Learn the simple, utilitarian method of storing your harvest to save space and improve storage length, that is also beautifully visually appealing! This class will teach several methods of braiding and twining onions and garlic to hang in long term storage, while we also discuss harvest, curing and storing needs for these culinary staples. After we master the basics, we will practice adding in dried flowers, herbs, and seeds pods for a decorative artistic finished product. Students will take home their finished braids.
Autumn & Cool Season Gardening
After the classic summer veggies are gone, comes one of the best seasons for other crops. In this 2-part workshop, we will explore why autumn is an incredibly rewarding growing season in our zone! Learn about how this surprising season is ideal for growing a range of cool temperature crops that are not as well suited to summer production. You will also learn how to prepare your garden and your plants to hold as long into the winter as possible, to overwinter, or to start production very early in the spring.
In this portion of the class, we learn about planning for autumn gardening by choosing crops and starting seeds now. We will explore the wide range of vegetables available to us for cool season growing, discuss the biology and needs of the plants, how temperature and light changes affect growth, how to start seedlings in hot and dry times of summer, and what to expect from plant growth and production as the season turns to autumn. You’ll practice with seeding, and leave with sample seeds, plant starts, and a plan for your individual autumn garden space!
In this second portion of the class, we will explore how to create microclimates by growing plants under protective coverings, in order to extend the food production and harvest season. We will learn about the techniques of mulching, fabric covers, low tunnels, and glass and plastic frames and structures. We will have an emphasis on easy, quick, affordable and creative options you can adapt to your own needs and garden space. We will have plenty of hands-on practice with building simple low structures in the school’s garden!
Course Fee: $120 - Supply Fee: $5
Location: Folk School Victory Garden
Basic Organic Garden Design
What do you want to grow, where do you want to grow it, and what can you grow in the space you have? This is the course that begins at the beginning – whether you have never made a garden before, or struggled with establishing gardens in the past, or if you have experience gardening and want a refresher of the concepts and inspiration, this course will provide the solid basics needed to build your organic garden that suits your needs. We offer this 2-part series, spaced out during the spring, that will help to establish a new garden and learn how to harvest a successful bounty.
Focusing on understanding your own garden space and applying techniques we discuss will help you get the most from the areas you will be gardening. We will incorporate visuals, on-site garden tours, and hands-on learning to explore garden site elements, site preparation choices, and garden design options.
This portion of the course explores basic plant biology, plant groups and types, how to use this knowledge to match your garden space to what you want to grow, and how to decide what works best in the space you have to work with. Class is a dynamic mix of hands-on demos, plant specimens, and in-garden learning time combined with discussion.
Course Fee: $110 - Supply Fee: $5
Location: Folk School Victory Garden
Bugs In The Garden
This course helps gardeners understand the insects and pests they are most likely to encounter in their southeast Michigan gardens. We will learn about beneficial insects, and pollinators, insects that cause harm to plants, and how to make decisions about interacting with all of these in organic gardening philosophy. We will have some demonstrations of pest prevention, learn about ways to support beneficial insect populations, and basic organic methods of enhancing garden health.
Explore the different methods of composting that are possible in any location! In this interactive hands-on class, we will learn about hot composting piles, passive composting in limited space, and vermicomposting indoors. We will discuss basic biology of composting, the important roles of decomposers, and how to manage a composting ecosystem to reduce landfill waste, produce nutritious compost for plants, and control odors and appearance. Learn about the greens and browns, what is ok to compost, how to turn and finish compost, and how to build a system into your garden and home. This class is a good preparation for the follow-up class on Compost Tea!
Heirloom Tomatoes: Pruning, Trellising, Fruiting & Harvesting
This in-depth class is for the homegrown tomato lover. Whether you are a beginner or have grown your own before, this class will have lots to offer to help you understand how to accommodate tomato needs to produce the best, most luscious, longest crop of whichever of this diverse group is your favorite. This is the place to pick up hacks and hints to deal with pests and predators, to learn grow in challenging places, to get hands-on practice with trellising and pruning techniques. Being in tomato season, we will have on-site specimens to study, and will also discuss the botany of fruit ripening, how to pick and ripen, season extension, and basic seed saving. We will also learn about some basic use and preservation ideas to make the most of your homegrown harvest.
Seed Saving Skills
Seed saving is the very heart of sustainable organic gardening, preservation of heirlooms and plant variety, food security and economy in growing your own crops, independence from patented seed, and understanding and supporting the circle of botanical life. In this workshop, we will cover some basic plant biology and typical lifecycles, learn about seed production and methods of encouraging seed production in the home garden. We will learn which plants are suitable to which methods of seed production, when and how to optimally harvest seed, and processing and storage of seed. We will learn about how different types of pollination affect our seed. We will have plenty of hands on material and demonstrations and opportunities to practice techniques yourself. You will be ready to start saving your own seeds this fall to get ready for next year!
Backyard Edible Mushrooms
Together we will explore the world of fungi. In this class you will cover the basics of mushroom growing requirements, several easy ways to create your own mini-mushroom farms and explore some of the mystery of the incredible world of fungi. By the end of class you will be armed with a prepared mushroom log of your own and the knowledge to continue to inoculate. Prepared to be surprised by the wonders of fungi.
Course Fee: $80 - Supply Fee: $20 Location: Folk School
Microgreens are an essential part of the kitchen grocery. Tiny as they are, these young plants pack remarkably intense flavors, vibrant colors, interesting textures and are absolutely bursting with nutrients. Now you can grow your own at home, inside, all year long. You'll receive a brief introduction in how to use them, seeds and soil medium. Turn an ordinary meal into something gastronomically delicious with your homegrown microgreens.
Course Fee: $70 - Supply Fee: $15
Location: Folk School