The Smiling Gardener Academy
Note: My online organic gardening course (The Academy) is currently full.
I'll be opening it up again for enrolment in 2017.
Feel free to enter your email below if you'd like me to let you know when that happens :)
"Your presentation is perfect for my learning style: 1) read and see pictures... 2) watch the video... 3) try it out... Cruising through websites (yours and others) is great too, but the in-depth information concentrated in your course and presented in a clear, concise manner has been a real problem-solver for us. This is only our second season gardening on this (primarily open field with a shaded pond) property and the harvest is already increasing, much of it thanks to your information helping us avoid serious pitfalls. We are getting super excited about starting to put in fruit, nut, nitrogen-fixer and pollinator-attracter trees this autumn. You're providing a wonderful service. Keep on keeping on, but take good care of Phil as you do so. You're a keeper.:)!"
Bonnie, Hawkins, TX
"Hi Phil, Truly you've put together such an awesome learning site, your brilliance to make it doable, along with such a great education simplified, is very much appreciated! I love that you are so real, relaxed and light-hearted, you truly have a gift to share with the world. You inspire me and give me lots of hope in the ability to grow incredible food for my family and I, thank you for all your effort!"
Debra, Kamloops, BC
"I want to take the opportunity to thank Phil as his Academy videos gave me the confidence to make a move to another country to work at growing my own food."
"I think you have done a great job with the content. I do like the videos — they are short enough to keep one’s attention while providing core information and references (when applicable). I signed up for this course to learn how to be a better organic gardener — I live in a “healthy food wasteland” and this is my third year growing some of our summer vegetables. What I have learned thus far (I’m up to Module 5) is exactly the basic info I needed to know in order to improve my gardening skills — like most people I started my organic garden by searching the internet for “how to” information (and getting different opinions), then I would plunk the veggies into the ground, hoping I didn’t have a problem. FYI - I was very impressed that you showed the forms for the soil samples with instructions as to what to complete — very thorough! I also enjoyed learning about the BRIX as I had not previously heard of BRIX. I appreciate the effort you have put into condensing this info in one place — trying to decide what to include and what to exclude could not have been an easy task."
Jane, Marietta, OH
"Thank you for the opportunity to learn such an important skill set. The content is all interesting and useful. Your websites are easily navigable. Membership details are laid out simply. The most important thing that I want to learn is how to give back to the earth through this knowledge and experience. This is a way that I can become self sufficient, and live in harmony with nature, in this beautiful practice of plant husbandry, if you will. The many heirloom varieties that I'll be growing will not only benefit the environment, but will bring harmony and balance within myself. It is so much more deeply nourishing on a cellular level to take up this life force into my own, and on a spiritual level, for so many reasons."
Zac, South Australia
"Loving your course! I have the MOST productive garden this year I think I've ever had, so many strawberries, raspberries and blueberries that my freezer is full and they just keep on coming!! Plus all the other bountiful veggie crops."
Kathleen, Bayside, CA
"Thank you again for your time on the phone with me today. I really appreciated it! I am looking forward to learning this next year in the Academy and putting into practice these things. Wanted to also say that thank you for all of your prompt emails and followups. It really says a lot about your dedication to your members and what you are sharing."
Kim, Elk, WA
"I've been a gardener all my life but am now semi-retired so I have more time and have been getting into it with a passion! I'm learning new things from you which is fabulous! Soil test from a lab, targeted mineral fertilizers, biostimulants and inoculants. I've recently added bokashi compost to my arsenal of composting and worm bins. Thanks for all the info you give, I appreciate that you are very detailed but also not rigid. I really appreciate that you make the videos succinct. I also really like the videos from Dan and others that you include, finding them very useful and informative. Thanks a bunch!!"
Kathleen, Arcata, CA
"I have been an Academy member for 10 weeks now - only learning and just the beginning of this new way but the results have been awesome! I just cut a 5 1/2 pound Cabbage and only found 2 cabbage worms in the lower leaves. Lots of squash, cukes and lettuce and our beets are 2inches in dia. and everything tastes great! I could go on and on but I know you are busy--Thanks again for all the great information etc. Every Tomato plant set fruit perfect!"
Thanks again, Ed, Greenwood, SC
"My Scott has returned from a successful trip from Kitale. Three beautiful, thankful girls with their healthy babies, have 'graduated' from our Esther Home. They've been totally reconciled to their families with care for babies and training for work or furthering their education. Miracle!! Thank you for your part in this Phil! Scott implemented your soil ideas as much as he could. Scott said he overheard the greenhouse staff calling these garden strategies "Nikie Technology". Haha. Trust me, as we get success in these cashcrop greenhouses, I will be telling them all about my friend, Phil Nauta and the Smiling Gardener Academy!! You are amazing, inspirational and I appreciate you so much. As always, totally enjoying the Academy. Keep up your good work friend and God bless you!"
Nikie, Bend, OR
"Firstly let me say I am really enjoying this course. You have put so much hard work into it and I'm getting a lot out of it, it's turning out to be exactly what I hoped it would. I'm new to gardening having just moved from apartment living 6 mths ago to an acre of land. As a newbie I have found all the information you give easy to take on board and of an adequate depth. Your passion for what you do easily comes through on the videos and I feel really excited and inspired after watching them to get out and try what you have demonstrated."
Nicky, Ceres, Australia
"I am a beginner gardener (2 years) with a small area, so questioned whether the academy would make sense for me. I was drawn by the ability to ask questions. I am enjoying going through each video. Not all of it is something that I can apply but it is giving me the bigger picture so I understand the reasons for doing certain things in the garden. I have developed a calendar and journal of maintenance activities based on your checklist for the garden. I have incorporated all but 6 items. In time I am sure those will be included as well. I am now less concerned about the health of the current plants and more concerned about building the soil. As you would expect, once I started building the soil the plants became a lot healthier. I don’t see aphids anymore and all plants are more alive and healthy looking."
Bonnie, San Luis Obispo, CA
"Your course is excellent and really helpful. I've been gardening for about 10 years now at my community garden plot in Los Angeles. I have learned a lot in that time, but recently took a workshop and somehow ended up on your website. I left the workshop thinking that my mind was blown (with regards to content), but it was so disorganized I wasn't sure what I had learned. You course is organized, thorough, and accessible to all levels of gardeners. Thanks much."
Tatiana, Los Angelas, CA
"I definitely have seen a difference in my plants. It has been an extremely dry summer here in the northeast. I wasn't watering as much as I should have in the beginning of the season and my plants did fine; they were a little slow to take off but were blooming like crazy! I know if I didn't build my soil up with compost and use the regimen they would have been stressed. I have learned a great deal in all the modulars! I go over the science parts again and again until they sink in! It's surprising how I find myself explaining to fellow gardeners what I have been using and why. My Master Gardener group noticed a difference in my plants; they are still green and blooming when most of theirs are shrivelled. Because of the dry weather most gardeners have finished this time of year. My stuff still looks pretty good."
"Every lesson has been very valuable. Just to let you know, my neighbors have started spraying my lilacs in front of my house and because I've fertilized as you taught, I'm getting minimal damage. And the peaches just from the 1 49er peach tree had enough peaches to for me not to miss the 2 that were recently destroyed. Thank you so much for helping me to get rid of peach leaf curl. I have been telling all my friends about your site. Now when I go to the coast, I look for seaweed and crab shells instead of agates!"
Clare, New Milford, CT
"I love everything you do...particularly the care and detail you put into all you present on your site. You have a very welcoming presence that makes me feel at ease just listening to you! Thank you so much for offering the Academy and for all the hard work you put into it—-it doesn't go unnoticed. Your generosity is written all over your site, by the way. On some of those bad news days your words can restore my faith in humanity. Keep up the great work you are doing!"
Linda, Salt Spring Island, B.C.
"First, I would say that your videos are most educational, compelling and entertaining - these are not easy adjectives to achieve, so bravo on your work. All-in-all I am a big fan of you, your site and course material and have recommended it to others. I feel you and your video brings true value to the organic gardener, especially to the “visual learner”."
Jess, Mettawa, IL
"I like the fact that your videos are short and I can watch one whenever I have a few minutes. The possibility to have access to such a quality course as I am in a remote area is just the best! Keep up the good work!"
Caroline, Fort Simpson, NT
"I visited the member area of your new site and was quite impressed by the quality of the educational material you've brought together. Your videos go beyond what many instructional garden videos offer and are presented in a friendly and competent manner. I think you can feel quite proud of that."
Roger, Scarborough, ME
"Your lessons have already been helpful and I’m excited to be a part of this group so we can all expand our knowledge and share ideas about something we are all passionate about."
Anthony, Burnaby, B.C.
"I really enjoy all your gardening information. Love to watch your videos. Very informative and refreshing. I am looking forward to using your techniques on my new 1 acre plot. Since I have taken the Organic Master Gardening course it has opened my eyes. I had never thought about the living organisms as providing the health and sustainability to a better system of gardening and just well being of everything around it. Keep up the good work as it is appreciated."
Mary, Kimberly, B.C.
"Your content is good. It is obvious that you know what you are talking about! The best parts were the ones that gave me something to do...the soil tests, and sheet mulching segments."
Sara, Langton, ON
"It's all good for me. I really dig what your doing. Your gardening philosophy is one that I really believe."
Justin, Covina, CA
"Weston A. Price proved to the world, early in the 20th century, that nutrition, the consumption of nutrient-dense, whole foods, was a major prerequisite to good health; and, the prerequisite for a balanced, and nutrient-dense, whole food is a healthy soil. This is the philosophy and foundation of your teachings and that is why I have joined the Smiling Gardener Academy. I look forward to learning from you all those techniques and principles that I will apply to grow wholesome food for myself and my family."
Eduardo, Miami Beach, FL
"When I entered the course, I had very little knowledge of growing plants, for food or otherwise. When I would pick up books, well I'm sure you've had the experience, the information seems so daunting and cumbersome to get a hold of when you look at the thick books. I was impressed as to your approach. The human being you have become has helped you to communicate information in a way that helps people get excited about learning. Even though the presentation is done using simple technology and techniques, the information that you are providing and the learning that comes across is amazing... don't veer off course too much. It helps keep the costs down and therefore, affordable for us who do not have the gobs of money to invest in schools, which have become cost prohibitive, to say the least. Now, 2 years later, its amazing how much I have incorporated into my life: growing food in the same containers as ornamental plants so as to utilize the space, creating various composting piles, including bokashi composting which I have been doing for over a year now, and yes, I make my own bokashi and EM, taking soil samples every spring as well as paying attention to what is happening in my gardens, looking for the different opportunities in front of me to utilize any organic matter to use in making compost so as not to expend more energy."
Desmond, Los Angeles, CA
"I wanted to write to you and tell you what an awesome time I have had in this academy of gardening you put together. I started last year learning about soils. And did I. My garden had been floundering for a couple of years. My yard has been giving me fits for 23 years. In 2013 I almost gave up altogether. My tomatoes were dying from fungal diseases, My beets were coming out with almost a sour taste to them, and my carrots….. well God help me cause the carrots weren’t. I searched for items that could help me figure out what was going on in my garden. I thought I had been doing all the right things. I added manure every year, used no chemicals, added Dolomite Lime, and every year the plantings just kept getting worse. I did stop gardening for a year, and in 2014 did nothing. But after seeing you on you tube a few times, then going to your web site, I wanted to learn more. Then your offer came last year for your academy. So, I signed up. In 2015, I sent in soil samples to CSI for both my yard and garden. I got the results back. I couldn’t believe the wacked out numbers I saw. I spoke with Ron at CSI and between his recommendations and yours I put minerals and biostimulants on my garden. You both had said “Don’t expect great results right away” since the soil had to rejuvenate from years of poor maintenance. I had to determine where to start. There was just so much wrong that I needed to work on. I got the minerals and such that I would need. I mixed my first batch of EM, I spread my minerals and then I rototilled one last time since my soil was sooooo compacted. Then I planted. Things were slow to take off. I had some vegetables that did not do so well. But for the most part everything improved an amazing amount. My beets were much sweeter (30 Quarts canned), my beans took off (75 Quarts canned), Okra the best year I have ever had, Watermelons grew well, Muskmelons had a lot of powdery mildew and no good fruit, carrots not so well they were all stunted, Cucumbers were amazing (We love these things), and then the Tomatoes…….. No Disease what so ever) They tasted wonderful. That is not all but a good sampling. This year I expect that the crops will do even better. I really was encouraged last year. In 2016, No till whatsoever. My soil was not compacted, I raked off the mulch and evened out the beds, and replaced the mulch and added more. The tilth is starting to look good, and I didn’t mention with the use of Mycorrhizal fungi, I saw some around roots last year that is proving to be a large help to the plants. I have begun to see more worms than ever in my soil before. I never could figure out what was wrong and why there were so few worms in my garden. Well, there is a long way to go yet, but thank God your course was what I needed to get everything on track and get my soil healthier and working again. I will continue to care for it in a way that is sustainable and organic. Best of all I am looking forward to my garden this year. Thanks."
Gary, West Kingston, RI