“A Proven Plan For Growing A Highly Nutrient-Dense Organic Garden”
Food grown today often has 60% less nutrition than the food grown 60 years ago.
And insect damage to food crops has doubled even though pesticide use has increased 1000%.
These 2 issues – decreased nutrition and increased toxins – are a major reason why we humans are experiencing such an epidemic of illness and disease.
Buying organic is a start, but it doesn’t mean the nutrition is getting back into the food – much organic food is nutritionally quite poor.
The nutrient-dense foods of just 60 years ago have effectively gone extinct to most of us. Few people will ever taste what a properly-grown tomato or strawberry tastes like, which means few people are getting the nutrition they require for optimal health.
Growing your own vegetables and fruits is the best way to guarantee you have that nutrition and great taste – without the toxins.
But because of soil degradation, past chemical use, lack of biodiversity and other factors, it’s very difficult to get there without knowledge of how to balance the soil.
I’d like to give you an opportunity to experience real food again, not just for that taste, but for your health…
Anyone Can Become A Great Gardener
- Get rid of pests and weeds without toxic chemicals
- Fix degraded soil and decrease water use
- Have inspiring, beautiful gardens
Most importantly, we can all bring ourselves back to optimal health – dramatically increasing the nutrition we take in while decreasing the toxins – by growing food ourselves.
I know all of this because not only am I a passionate follower of organic research from around the world, but I’ve put it into practice for myself and my clients.
I’ve experienced the pain many times when things go wrong, and I’ve figured out how to get it right.
To get it right, you need to do some things that most gardening courses and books are skipping over or not covering at all. That’s why I’m here, to give you the level of detail that’s needed.
So while I do teach the basics, I also teach the more involved tactics that really make a difference, like soil testing and fertilizing, making and using microbial inoculants, starting your own seeds and then saving them each year, and hundreds of other topics.
Why 2006 Was An Interesting Year For Me
Planting potatoes in the sheet mulch
If you’ve been following my work, you may know that I grew up working in a garden center and on a 9 hole, pitch & putt golf course owned by my parents.
Back then, I didn’t even know what ‘organic’ was. During the summers, I sprayed pesticides on the greens to get rid of a fungus called dollar spot.
I truly had no idea there were any disadvantages to spraying this stuff. All I knew is that it didn’t work for very long because I had to come back and spray every week or two. Then in my 20’s, I:
- Completed a Certificate in Organic Landscape Management
- Started an organic gardening business that I passed on to my sister
- Became a Certified Organic Land Care Professional
- Completed my Permaculture Design Certificate
- Started a business selling high quality organic fertilizers
- Taught gardening courses for Gaia College
- Wrote the book ‘Building Soils Naturally’
What I don’t talk about much is 2006, a year I’m happy to say is over. I’d just started my own gardening business. I had a lot of conventional gardening experience but was new at the organic method.
I knew the theory, but didn’t have the practice – and things went very wrong. Many of my clients had major weed issues, pest problems, and gardens that were just plain sick. I had seeds that wouldn’t germinate and plants that wouldn’t flower or fruit. I didn’t know how to deal with it and people were not happy with me.
I cried myself to sleep many nights because I didn’t want to let these people down and I didn’t know what to do.
Being stubborn, I dug into the organic research and started trying things out. A few actually helped. Most didn’t.
But I stuck with it. I learned how to make quality compost instead of the junk I’d been buying from the local providers. I also learned how to make quality compost tea, and how to use other microbial inoculants to bring benefits compost can’t offer.
I learned about proper soil testing – not the ineffective home kits sold at garden centers or the cheap tests done by university labs that are usually a waste of time.
I learned how to test properly, how to interpret the results and how to fertilize based on them. It turned out it wasn’t about throwing down the same organic blended fertilizer in every garden.
I figured out how to deal with pests, too, and it was not what is taught in most gardening books. In fact, it was very interesting and surprising how it all worked.
I eventually put together a holistic gardening system I could follow on any property.
I somehow managed to make it through that year with mostly happy clients and beautiful gardens…
How I’m Able To Grow Such Nutrient-Dense, Chemical-Free Plants
Seeding broccoli in the sheet mulch
Cut to today and I have my own garden of vibrant fruits, vegetables and flowers without much of any disease, insect damage or weeds, certainly not enough to cause me any concern.
I’ve learned a simple approach for keeping pests at bay, and this approach also brings me abundant, nutrient-dense harvests from the vegetable garden, too.
In 2011 I put in a new garden on fairly average soil and grew 11 brix tomatoes and 15 brix carrots!
(If you don’t know about brix, don’t worry, I’ll be teaching you what it is and how to use it – it can be a useful test for growing nutrient-dense food).
And that was just in the first year – it often seems to take a few years until the garden really starts hopping.
The approach can be called “organic gardening,” but it’s more than that.
What often passes as organic gardening is simply piling on the organic matter – throw some compost and mulch on the garden and everything will supposedly work out fine. The thing is, that hasn’t been my experience or the experience of most people who have been doing this a long time.
I absolutely love compost and have seen how quality compost can do a lot of good, but it’s not a magic bullet – and again, using it alone doesn’t get me to my goals.
Let’s look below at these goals of mine and see if any of them are similar to yours.
And be sure to read this whole article because there are a number of hints about how to produce the best organic garden possible…
Do You Share Some Of These Goals With Me?
Here are some of my top gardening goals…
Growing healthy food
When I say growing healthy food, I mean chemical-free, nutrient-dense, delicious fruits and vegetables. I’m talking about food that is so much more nutritious than the food you can buy in the grocery store.
My fruits and vegetables not only taste better but are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes – even natural medicines. For those who know the term brix, I’m talking about high-brix.
The main purpose of growing this healthy food is because food is directly linked to your own health. You and I need to eat the good stuff and so do the people we care about.
Controlling pests forever
When I say controlling pests forever, I’m talking about a total shift in how we deal with insects, diseases and weeds. We mostly don’t want to spray things that kill them, whether chemical or organic, because it doesn’t fix the reason they’re there in the first place.
So when I say forever, I mean we transform our garden to a level where pests don’t want to be there.
The reason you want to get rid of pests is not only because plants are expensive, but because if your plants are covered in pests, that means they’re unhealthy, and we want healthy plants for our own nutritional benefit.
Creating an inspirational haven
When I say creating an inspirational haven, I mean designing a beautiful, relaxing place for you, your family and your friends, as well as a home for a diversity of plants, animals and other organisms.
While we’re growing food, we might as well grow some flowers, ornamental plants and trees, too.
You want bright flowers, birds, bees and butterflies, and even mushrooms. You want water. A hot sunny spot and a cool shady spot. We’re looking for that vibrant energy you feel when you’re in a place that’s alive.
Improving the environment
When I say improving the environment, I mean creating a garden that removes toxins and greenhouse gases while creating oxygen.
It provides food/shelter/protection for endangered honeybees and other important insects and animals, and otherwise improves the health of this planet.
Sustainability is not enough for us. We want to create abundance. We’re into leaving things better than when we started. We want so much healthy food that we have to give some of it away to our neighbors or local food bank.
How To Have A Successful Organic Garden
A garden should be a magical, inspiring place
To me, those are some exciting goals, because they’re all about health and abundance.
It takes a bit of work and knowledge to achieve these goals. More knowledge than work, really. If you’ve ever heard the saying “work smart, not hard,” that’s what this is about.
I’ve actually taken most of the hard work out of researching these topics for you.
I’ve made the mistakes and learned from them so you don’t have to. With my online gardening course, all you have to do is start with day one, and we’ll discuss everything you need to know before you take your first step.
When you follow my methods, you’ll actually save time and money in the long run. If you’re into that, I’ve got something for you…
How To Grow Healthy Plants…
You may have heard about or even read my book.
I’m very proud of it, but this project is on a different level – a comprehensive resource I’ve put together for you in the form of an exclusive membership website.
It’s called the Smiling Gardener Academy and it’s for people who want to go the extra mile to create health and abundance in their organic gardens.
It’s not a snobby members-only club, but it is for a certain type of person who wants to grow that nutrient-dense food that has been on the brink of extinction for decades.
So here’s what I did. I put in a new organic garden, from scratch.
Before and After
Day 2. I’ve started digging.
Day 15. Starting to grow.
Day 60. The harvest has begun.
I pulled on all of my education and experience from a lifetime of gardening – and especially since 2006 when I figured out how to succeed organically – and tried to use every strategy I could think of to make it the healthiest garden possible.
And I videotaped the whole process for you, from A-to-Z, over 500 short videos with accompanying text and 1000s of photos.
I’ve actually been blown away with the results in the first few years, and it gets better every year.
I’ve taken the pain I went through when I switched to organic in 2006, which drove me to create a system that I’ve been perfecting since then, and put it into an online gardening course for you.
Above are 3 photos are from the garden in its first year. You can see before, during and after by clicking the arrows.
Here’s How It Works
As a member of the Academy, you get access to a new section of the course every month with step-by-step videos and accompanying text and photos.
I show you the steps I took to design and install what is becoming an incredibly productive food garden.
(By the way, if you’re more interested in flowers and ornamental gardens, the lessons still apply – it’s the same process.)
And it doesn’t matter where you live because this online gardening course is not region-specific. My goal is to teach you how to improve your soil, control pests and build a thriving ecosystem, and that is the same process everywhere.
The full gardening course that I’ve been running since 2012 is 12 months long, and in 2015 I launched a condensed, 6-month version of the course that I call ‘Academy Light’.
Of course, regardless of which course you choose, you can stay in it just as long as you like – as long as you continue to feel you’re getting good value – and you can cancel any time.
I did my best to make the videos very practical. They start with some basics and get quite advanced on some topics.
I’ve written it with beginner and intermediate home gardeners in mind (although professionals will learn some things, too – I did landscaping for 10 years before I knew most of this stuff, and wish I had learned it earlier).
I also worked hard to make many of the videos as hands-on as possible, showing you exactly what to do, and when and how to do it. There’s background information and some science, but all with a view to let you know why we do the things we do in the organic garden.
And where it gets really cool is that we have a members-only community forum where you can ask and answer questions about each of the lessons.
So if you have a question, ask it. I spend a lot of time answering questions, which is a major benefit of being an Academy member.
If you’ve ever spent time looking for answers online, you’ll know how valuable this is. Online, you never know if the solution you find is right. With me, I’ll explain the science behind why it’s right and the practical side of how it has worked for me.
If you’ve ever asked a question in the comments on one of my blog posts, you may or may not have received a response, and if you did, you may have noticed it was one that was rather short and I often take days to respond – I can’t answer blog comments or emails in much detail because I’m really busy.
But Academy members get access to me through a special forum that I answer as soon as I receive it, usually within 4 hours.
Summary Of Topics
Here’s an outline of the full course (click the tabs to scroll through):
Starts With The Soil.
- How soil forms
- How to determine your soil texture
- How to determine your soil structure
- Introduction to soil fertility
- Cation Exchance Capacity and NHC
- The importance of organic matter
- The pH myth
Down And Dirty.
- The sedimentation test
- How to study your soil
- Looking at soil structure
- Finding earthworms/insects
- Water movement through soil
Preparing A Bed.
- Working with extreme soil textures
- Problems with incorporating soil
- General rules for working with soil
- How to put on an edge/remove sod
- Working soil with claw/fork/tiller
- Double digging vs sheet mulching
- Improving soil with organic matter
- The problem with landscaping fabric
- The 1 way stones can be a good mulch
- Peat and coir
- Bark mulch, wood chips and sawdust
- Grass clippings/leaves as mulch
The Soil Food Web.
- Who they are and what they need
- What pesticides do
- How plants survive
- Non-toxic pesticides
- Balanced nutrition
- Diverse biology
- Insects and diseases
- Homemade organic insecticides
- Homemade organic fungicides
- Purchased organic pesticides
- Using biological predators
- How to control slugs
- Why they’re there/nutrition
- Small-scale solutions
- Larger-scale solutions
- Homemade/Purchased organic herbicides
- Nutritional controls
- Calcium and molasses
- Buying compost
- Using compost
- Do you need a bin?
- Site selection
- Making a pallet bin
- Materials Introduction
- Carbon to nitrogen ratio
- Building the pile
- Maintaining the pile
- Making the bin
- Food scraps
- 2 methods of Harvesting
Introduction To Inoculants.
- Why we need them
- When and how to use them
- Cultivating your own indigenous microbes
- Using mycorrhizal fungi
- Inoculating legumes like beans and peas
- Other inoculants
Effective Microorganisms (EM).
- What is EM
- EM for humans?
- Using EM in compost tea
- Application/dilution rates
- How to apply
- Making and using bokashi
- Aerated compost tea
- Looking at the research
- Making tea
- Ingredients and a recipe
- Using compost tea
Soil nutrient testing.
- Looking at the cost
- The limitations of testing
- When to test
- How to take a sample
- Choosing a soil lab
- How to package/send your sample
Soil test results.
- Base saturation
- Reams test
- Example soil test results
- Example CEC and Lamotte
- Example trace minerals
- Looking at your soil
- Why organic
- Mineral vs blended fertilizers
- Fertilizers from plants/animals
- Dry vs liquid
- Where to get them
- How to apply them
- Recommendations for example soil
- Design objectives
- Inspiration goals
- Site usage goals
- Ecological goals
- Permaculture Principles
- Making connections
- The design process
- Your design goals
- Drawing a site plan
- Analyzing the site
- Functional diagrams
- The concept plan
- The planting plan
Aesthetics Of Design.
- Natural vs formal
- Number of plants/spacing
- Many examples
- Many examples
- General guidelines
- Choosing seeds
- Navigating a seed catalog
- Choosing plants and trees
- Transporting/storing plants
- Using a biodynamic calendar
- Preparing the seed bed
- Soaking seeds
- Making seed balls
- Planting in soil/sheet mulch
Planting a tree.
- Plant placement
- What to do with containers
- Detailed planting process
- Making your own potting mix
- Supplementing heat and light
- Protecting seedlings
- Sea minerals
- Rock dust
- How to apply them
- Herbal tea
- Wood ash
- Egg shells
- Quarry rock dust
- Tree paste
- Legume examples
- Grass examples
- How to choose
Chemicals and Micronutrients.
- Problems with chemicals
- Benefits of chemicals
- Growth vs fruiting
- How to apply
- Staking perennials
- Basic fertilizing
- Hand pollinating
- Dividing plants
- Winter garden prep
- How plants react to pruning
- Good and bad reasons to prune
- Tools and how to use them
- Time of year to prune
- Many pruning examples
- Thinning and coppicing
- Pruning hedges
- Pollution and toxicity
- Testing For Contamination
- Collecting rainwater
- Storing water in the soil
- The problem with drip irrigation
- How to water properly
- Plant factors affecting irrigation
- Soil factors affecting irrigation
- Determining the application rate
- Irrigation equipment
- Using the online irrigation calculator
10. Food 1
- Choosing a location
- Companion planting
- Succession planting
- Using crop rotations
- Creating polycultures
- Taking notes
- Cross pollination
- Harvesting vegetables
- Saving seed/bolting
- Choosing materials
- Recipe for protecting wood
- How to build it
- How to install it
- Many more…
11. Food 2
Winter And Trellises.
- Floating row covers
- Using cold frames
- Hoop houses
- Making the hoops and cover
- My hoop house
- Simple trellises
- Sturdy trellises
- Sprouting greens/wheatgrass/peas
- Making healthy ice cream
- Indoor gardening tips
- Overview of containers
- Choosing houseplants
- Why hydroponics
- The container
- Growing mediums
- Types of systems
- Preparing rockwool
- Starting seeds
- Environmental conditions
12. Food 3
- Design considerations
- Choosing trees
- Building guilds/communities
- Housing solitary bees
- Should you prune?
- Creating scaffolds
- Pruning examples
- Limb spreading
- Starts with the soil
- Design steps
- Soil prep
- Planting the tree
- Preparing the bed
- Mulching the tree
- Health management
- Lemon balm
To quickly summarize, the main principles you’ll discover in this Academy are:
- Proven techniques for how to grow optimally healthy food which creates optimal health in you
- How to make living soil that produces this food and other healthy plants
- A hands-on plan for doing these things, so there’s no guesswork
- Keeping things simple and practical, while still learning some science
- Focus on the soil food web, because these organisms actually make your plants healthy
- How to garden with sustainable practices, in harmony with nature
- A lot of instructions on how to use organic fertilizers and inoculants
- How to control pests without chemicals
- How to do it all without spending too much money
3 Benefits To You
- Better Health. You’ll grow food that’s full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and natural medicines, to contribute to your health today and for the rest of your life. Plus, with gardening you get exercise, you stimulate different parts of your brain. Personally, it just makes me happy to be in the garden.
- Save Money. You’ll save money on maintenance costs by not having to replace dead plants and not having to hire a designer/landscaper/gardener, plus of course the money saved by growing a lot of your own food.
- Help The Planet. When you intensively study organic gardening, you can’t help but become motivated to be a steward of the earth. I’ve become interested in saving honeybees and other endangered species, banning toxic pesticides and GMOs, using renewable inputs and energy, and the list goes on and on.
Who Shouldn’t Get This Resource?
This isn’t for keeping up with the Joneses
The steps outlined in the Smiling Gardener Academy are for people who want an optimally healthy garden, who want to grow nutrient-dense foods and vibrant ornamental plants and flowers.
But it’s not so much for people who want to keep up with the Joneses.
That means that although you certainly don’t have to toil in the garden for hours every weekend in order to get things done, there’s a little bit of work up front.
When I was a full-time gardener, you would have spent thousands of dollars hiring me to implement the steps for you, but now you can take advantage of this Academy and do it yourself, and even do a better job because you can watch the changes in your garden day to day and season to season.
Free Bonuses – $120 Value
I wanted to make this resource so valuable that it’s an easy decision for you to jump in and take your garden to the next level.
I have some bonuses for you that are worth many times more than your first month in the Academy and will help you reach your gardening goals:
Free Bonus 1 ($30) – Gift Certificate For my Organic Fertilizers
As you may know, in 2014 I started selling the same high-quality organic fertilizers and microbial inoculants I’ve been using for many years in my own gardens.
These products play a big part in growing nutrient-dense food. They bring in the beneficial biology and broad-spectrum chemistry that our gardens are often lacking.
I teach you how to choose and use them in the Academy, and whenever you’re ready, you can use this gift certificate to order them shipped directly to your door.
Note: The gift certificate code will be listed on your receipt when you order.
Free Bonus 2 ($90) – 1 Hour Phone Consultation With Me
After you’ve gone through a few of the sections and are ready for some help with your garden, I’m going to give you 60 minutes of my time on the phone, 1 on 1.
You can ask questions about anything you want to know about organic gardening, food growing, pest control, permaculture design, soil testing and fertilizing, microbial inoculants, composting, etc.
My members say these chats are invaluable, and the great thing is they’re also lots of fun for me because I love to chat with other gardeners, both experienced and inexperienced, so this bonus is really a win-win.
1 Year, Risk-Free 100% Money-Back Guarantee
I really want you to see this course and have lots of time to go through it and implement the techniques, so I’m offering you a risk-free guarantee:
- 30 Days. If the information isn’t what you were expecting, let me know within the first 30 days. I’ll refund 100% of your money, no questions asked.
- 1 Year. Or if you stay through the full course, implement many of the strategies I teach, and still aren’t happy with what you’ve learned and with the results in your garden, let me know. I’ll still refund 100% of your money – or whatever you see fit – and I’ll just ask that you email me with a little detail on how I can improve the course.
The reason I feel great offering this guarantee is because I’ve spent many thousands of hours teaching horticulture in a classroom setting and through this course.
I know it will help you develop an amazing organic food garden that provides you with non-toxic, nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables. It will save you money and move you toward optimal health at the same time.
Also, I believe most people are honest and will only request a refund if they believe it’s fair, and if they do, I’m always happy to give it to them.
Of course, you can also cancel any time during the course and no further charges will be made to your account.
Supporting Organic Gardening In Africa
With every Academy enrolment, I send $1 to Organics 4 Orphans and other similar organizations.
That means $1 for each month you’re in the course – not just when you sign up.
What I love about the O4O approach is that they’re working with the world’s poor in a wonderfully holistic, sustainable, focusing-on-the-root-cause sort of way.
They’re helping communities implement the following four very integrated activities:
- Disease prevention. Using plants as medicine, such as the neem tree (in Swahili language, it’s known as ‘the tree that cures forty’, meaning forty diseases).
- Better nutrition. Shifting to eating more nutrient-dense foods such as kale and medicinal plants such as moringa, rather than less nutritious foods such as corn, which is currently being over-consumed in many parts of the world.
- Growing food. Growing their food and medicinal plants using biointensive organic gardening methods. Growing biointensively is more physical work, but it’s highly productive, sustainable and affordable.
- Income generation. From the surplus organic food, people are able to earn an income as well as taking care of the orphans in their communities, hence ‘Organics 4 Orphans.’
My hope this year is to (again) send at least $1500US, which is enough to start projects in 25 new communities!
Join Now – Enrolment Ends Monday, February 27th at 9pm Eastern Time!
Enrol now and you get instant access to month 1 of the course.
The ‘Academy’ is the same one I’ve been running for years, with close to 500 members so far. It’s for people who are planning to grow a lot of food, and who are ready to put in some effort in the first couple of years in order to do that. It’s also for farmers, market gardeners, professional gardeners and landscapers who are looking to update their knowledge and skills.
The ‘Academy Light’ is a shorter course where I’ve removed some of the more advanced lessons and certain specialty sections that aren’t needed by everyone. It’s for people who also want to grow an organic garden, but who have less time to devote to it right now, so they want to learn just the most important steps they need take to have a successful garden.
I’m happy to be able to offer this abbreviated course that’s 70% shorter, costs 70% less, and takes only 6 months to complete instead of 12, and I’m excited to continue offering the main course as well.
More than 80% of people choose the full course, but if at any point during either course you want to switch to the other course, you have the option to do that.
I’m also almost finished a process I’ve been working on for over a year giving both courses a huge makeover to update them with some new research, and I’d like to get some feedback as I do that.
If you’re okay with answering a few short online surveys during the course, today I’m offering you a reduced fee of 30% off the course in exchange for that feedback.
|Vegetables and fruits||✓||✓|
|Free Bonus 1 ($30) – Gift Certificate for Organic Fertilizers||✓|
|Free Bonus 2 ($90) – 1 Hour Phone Consultation With Phil||✓|
for 12 months
for 6 months
To summarize, this course is especially for people who want optimum health for your garden and yourself, which means fewer disease problems for your garden and yourself.
It’s for people who want higher yields of food, with more flavor than you can get anywhere else, and who value being healthy, now and as you get older.
If you want to bypass the pain I went through of killed plants, weeds and pest infestations, tasteless foods and money wasted, this is for you.
The membership includes exclusive access to the Smiling Gardener Academy with over 500 videos with accompanying text, thousands of photos, and a like-minded community of organic gardeners. With the 1 year money-back guarantee, I hope the choice is easy.
Be sure to join before Monday night at 9pm Eastern Time when I’ll stop accepting new enrolments so I can work with existing members.
Thanks for reading. I hope to see you inside.
P.S. Do you have any questions about the Academy that I didn’t answer here? Feel free to email me at email@example.com and I’ll be glad to answer.
Before and After
Day 2. I’ve started digging.
Day 15. Starting to grow.
Day 60. The harvest has begun.
"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