My name is Phil Nauta. I grew up working for my parents in their garden center.
I maintained the trees and shrubs we had for sale and eventually did some of the landscaping. I was also in charge of maintaining our little 9 hole, par 3 golf course.
I didn’t know what ‘organic’ was until 2005, when I completed a Certificate in Organic Landscape Management from Gaia College.
I never thought I would stay in the industry after so many years of cutting grass and digging holes, but I fell in love with gardening when I learned this organic way of doing it, and became incredibly passionate about the methods I was learning.
Since then I’ve done all kinds of fun, related things:
- Started an organic gardening business, subsequently run by my sister
- Was a Certified Organic Land Care Professional through SOUL for a few years
- Received my Permaculture Design Certificate
- Completed a Certificate in Sustainable Building and Design from Yestermorrow
- Started a business called The Organic Gardener’s Pantry, selling high-quality organic fertilizers in Canada, now run by my friend Christina (I still maintain the website)
- Taught courses for Gaia College and helped put together their cutting edge online learning environment (I still help out here and there)
- Spent 3 years on the board of directors of the Society For Organic Urban Land Care
- Wrote the book Building Soils Naturally (published by Acres U.S.A. and also translated into Dutch)
- Created the online organic gardening course, the Smiling Gardener Academy, now taken by more than 800 people
- Started selling organic fertilizers again, this time in the U.S.
My main areas of expertise are growing nutrient-dense food and improving soil and garden health.
I used to do a bit of consulting with people who are interested in growing vegetables and fruits of unparalleled quality – mostly useful for people growing food for sale, although home organic gardeners who grow a lot of food found this worthwhile, too.
I still have lots to learn about gardening myself and my passion is continuing to do so, but I’m most excited about passing on what I’ve learned to you.
About This Website
This website is for organic gardeners everywhere who are smiling because they’re growing – or want to learn how to grow – organic, nutrient-dense food.
But don’t let the happy name fool you. The information here is for people who want to go deeper into the art of organic gardening.
I spend plenty of time covering the basics, but I also get into more advanced organic gardening techniques. I give you the essential knowledge and skills you don’t find by reading most popular websites and books about organic gardening.
I think the main thing that differentiates this site from other sites is that I go into detail on how to build incredible soil and healthy plants.
Sometimes that involves getting a bit scientific, and sometimes that involves turning your views on gardening upside down.
If you’re a casual organic gardener, you’ll definitely learn a lot. If you’re serious about improving your organic gardening results, you have found the website you need to go to the next level.
Why Smiling Gardener?
I called this website “Smiling Gardener” because I want to focus on the positive side of organic gardening.
A lot of people get into organic gardening upon learning of the environmental devastation we’re inflicting upon our planet and it can get pretty overwhelming. I know I’ve spent my share of time being upset about it.
But you eventually figure out that worrying is not very helpful (or fun).
And when you study organic home gardening, you begin to see that there are all kinds of worthwhile reasons to garden organically and all kinds of positive outcomes we can achieve.
What Will You Learn Here?
If you master the techniques I teach, you’ll grow food that is healthier than any food you can find in a grocery store (including the organic section).
This may seem like a lofty statement, but the fact is you can improve your soil to the point when you are getting much more nutrition than is available in most food.
On this website, I share practical organic gardening tips you can put to use right now in your garden. While I really cover the A-to-Z of organic gardening, I focus on these 3 topics:
- How to grow your own chemical-free, nutrient-dense, impossibly-delicious foods
- How to control insects, diseases and weeds forever without any chemicals
- How to create healthy soil, contributing to a healthier planet and a healthier you
My main focus is the Smiling Gardener Academy where I’ve put in a new food garden and I’m recording the process on video from start to finish. I post some of the videos here and on youtube, but 90+% of them go into the private members’ area of this Academy.
I hope you enjoy the free organic gardening lessons I’ve put together for you and the journey of becoming an organic gardener.
I only answer gardening questions from current, paying Academy members (sorry, I wish I had time to answer questions from everyone).
I do respond to blog comments, though, so if you have a question about a specific blog post, please leave it in the comments below the post.
If you are an Academy member, use the Forum/Ask Me Questions area in the Academy.
My email ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) is mostly for other inquiries and it’s the best way to contact me.
Thanks for your interest – and keep on smiling! (Just kidding, that’s not really my tagline.)