Spring Training for Gardeners

Grow Your Own! 

Spring Training 2024 awaits. Registration now open! 

Would you love to grow your own food but don’t know where to begin? Or have your previous attempts at gardening fruits and veggies fizzled?

Get in the game: We are here to help you grow a delicious bounty! This 5-week course was designed for total beginners to gardening as well as those who want to plan and maintain their most successful garden yet.

Click the ‘REGISTER’ button below to complete registration for Spring Training at the standard fee – Full Course ($299) and Online Course ($99).

 

 

 

 

Need a discount on Spring Training for Gardeners, Full Course or Online?

 

 

 

 

FFSD teachers & administrators: Spring Training is offered to you free of charge as a PAID PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT! Sign up with your FFSD email at the link below to register for the Full Course or Online Only.

 

 

 

 

Don’t need to take all 5 online classes, but interested in a few? To build your own custom menu of online classes, click the ‘À LA CARTE’ button!

 

 

 

 

Is someone in your life interested in learning organic vegetable gardening, while staying at home? Looking for that perfect, unique gift? Spring Training Online is available to anyone, anywhere, with internet access!

 

 

 

 

Wherever you are, Spring Training will meet you there: Whether you can join us for the Full Course (5 online classes + 3 hands-on workshops in Ferguson) or grow with us remotely with the 5-class Live-Online Course.

Round the bases as you learn step-by-step how to choose the best crops, determine the right site for your garden, prepare your soil, manage your plot throughout the growing season, and put into play our easy tips to maximize your yield.

All Spring Training course options are offered for a standard fee or at discounted pricing to keep this educational opportunity accessible to all, regardless of income. Read on for more details on pricing, course options & more!

During Spring Training you will…

How much does Spring Training cost? 

  • The full course (5 live-online classes + 3 hands-on workshops) is $299
  • The online course (5 live-online classes) is $99
  • A la carte course selection also available at $29/class

We are committed to making our programs accessible to all – discounts are available!

Registration is live! 

You choose the format that works for you!

Online Only (5 online classes)

Interested in learning organic vegetable gardening, while staying at home? Or perhaps you just want to get started remotely or brush up on your gardening know-how, and can’t commit to attending the three Saturday sessions at our farm in Ferguson. This opportunity is available to anyone, anywhere, with internet access!

You’ll log into our virtual Farm & Garden Zoom Classroom each Wednesday evening of Spring Training. Each of these 90 minute classes, led by EarthDance’s professional farmers and guests, will include a presentation, interactive learning, and plenty of time for Q & A with an experienced farmer. You’ll also receive a list of recommended tools and templates for each topic, including suggestions for where you can source any of the materials you’ll need to get started.

Ready for Spring Training and want to bring in an out-of-town friend? Already took Spring Training, but excited to spread the knowledge? Not your year for the course, but have someone else in mind? Gift Cards will be available for the Online Course on February 1st!

Full Course (5 online classes + 3 hands-on workshops)

Do you live in the St. Louis area?

You’re in luck! In addition to the 5 week live online Spring Training, you can join us in person for hands-on education at our 14 acre Organic Farm School campus in Ferguson. On Saturday, March 16th, Saturday, March 30th, and Saturday, April 13th, you can participate in-person to learn all about propagation and seed starting in a greenhouse, understand how to lay out your garden area, and feel confident in building your own bed and/or starting your own container garden. Both morning and afternoon sessions are available for the first two workshops – choose which time when you sign up!

The third in-person workshop, Plant it Forward, involves a tour and community work day at one of our partner farms or gardens and culminates in a celebratory potluck to complete the course together.

BONUS: Participants in the Full Course Live Online + Hands-on Spring Training will receive a variety of vegetable seedlings upon completion of the program!

2024 Schedule of Online Classes and Hands-On Workshops 

March 13 – April 13

Explore what Spring Training for Gardeners will look like in 2024!

I Want to Grow Food. Where do I Start?

Taught by Head Coach Jena Hood & Coach Rae Liening

Online: Wednesday, March 13, 2024, 6 – 7:30pm

Tools, Techniques, and Templates you’ll gain:

  • Sample garden plan
  • Template for creating your own garden plan
  • Garden glossary
  • List of where to source seeds and supplies

Learn how to create a garden plan! Are you brand new to gardening, and don’t know where to start? Or have you tried before, but didn’t see the results you wanted? After coming up with achievable goals for growing your own food and defining some basic garden terminology, we’ll walk you through understanding your resources and limitations for producing food. You’ll also learn what factors to consider when selecting your location and deciding what to plant to set yourself up for success!

Starting from Seed

Taught by Head Coach Jena Hood & Coach Will Delacey

Hands-On: Saturday, March 16, 2024, 9 – 11 am or 1 – 3pm

Tools, Techniques, and Templates you’ll gain:

  • Tips to take care of your seedlings at home
  • Seed starting schedule for the St. Louis growing region

One of the most important ways to take control of your food and be self–sufficient is the ability to successfully start your own plants from seed! In this hands-on class, we’ll demonstrate how to start your own seeds successfully. Starting your seeds indoors allows you to develop healthy seedlings that will be ready to transplant into the garden. Learn what seeds to choose for your location, the right timing for seeding, what kind of soil to use and why, soil temperature and watering for success. Don’t have a greenhouse? No problem! We’ll discuss various DIY options to get you started at home. You’ll receive a handout with our tips for maintenance as well as a seed starting schedule for our growing region.

BONUS: You’ll plant your own tray of seedlings to take home! (We’ll have tomato and pepper seed varieties on hand for you to choose from.)

Top 10 Veggies for Home Gardening Success

Taught by Head Coach Jena Hood & Coach Jo Phillips

Online: Wednesday, March 20, 2024, 6 – 7:30pm

Tools, Techniques, and Templates you’ll gain:

  • Sample crop rotation diagram
  • List of plant families (and common crops in each)
  • List of Top 10 veggies and a few honorable mentions

 

Looking for your best starting line-up for gardening success? This class will help you choose which veggies to grow that will help you have home gardening success. You’ll be guided through our “Top 10 List” and learn what to consider when choosing varieties, growing techniques, and planting locations for each. This list will have suggestions for what to try your hand at growing if you’re a complete rookie, and also some ideas for you gardeners with a few seasons under your belt.

The Down and Dirty: Secrets to Great Soil

Taught by Head Coach Jena Hood & Coach Ro Kicker

Online: Wednesday, March 27, 2024, 6 – 7:30pm

Tools, Techniques, and Templates you’ll gain:

  • Composting diagram
  • List of what to include and what to avoid in your compost pile
  • Soil food web diagram

How do you grow an abundance of nutrient-dense food for yourself, your family, and your community? The secret is in the soil! In this virtual class, we’ll explore ways to bring soils to life and grow naturally productive gardens. You’ll learn how to recognize healthy soil, feed and nourish the soil food web, and build soil fertility using simple strategies and techniques available to every gardener. We’ll also discuss how to best use compost, amendments/cover cropping, and so-called garden “waste” to meet the nutritional needs of your soil and your plants. We’ll cover tips for building better compost and the pros and cons of organic materials in your own backyard (Note: This is not a soil science class, although some concepts will be discussed.)

From Grass to Garden: Bed Building Basics

Taught by Head Coach Jena Hood & Coach Ro Kicker

Hands-On: Saturday, March 30, 2024, 9 – 11 am or 1 – 3pm

 

Tools, Techniques, and Templates you’ll gain:

  • Supply list for building your own raised bed
  • Suggested places to source bed building materials

In this hands-on class, you’ll learn the steps needed to turn your lawn into a bountiful garden. We’ll demonstrate how to remove grass (without using chemicals) and cover the basics of raised bed/container gardening. Picking the right spot is key to maximizing your harvest! We’ll review various raised bed designs and the materials you can use to create your own raised bed garden. You’ll receive hands-on instruction in sheet-mulching/lasagna gardening, building a raised bed, planting best practices and tips, including how to best fill the bed for maximum garden potential. We will also discuss a variety of techniques that you can use for season extension and pest management. Perfectly timed to get you ready for the warm growing season, this experience will help you take your first step into that backyard herb garden or veggie plot you’ve been wanting. No tilling required!

Pests, Weeds, and Plant Disease – Oh My!

Taught by Head Coach Jena Hood & Coach Will Delacey

Online: Wednesday, April 3, 2024, 6 – 7:30pm

Tools, Techniques, and Templates you’ll gain:

  • Recipes for homemade organic pesticides
  • Common weed ID sheet
  • Common garden pest sheet

Do you love to grow your own food but can’t seem to control the bugs and weeds? Not sure if you’re over-watering your tomatoes? In this virtual class, follow Farmer Jena around the farm and into EarthDance demonstration gardens to learn how to organically manage pests and weeds! Gain the knowledge needed to identify pest and disease problems early and take the appropriate actions to keep them at bay. We’ll explore different tools and tricks for managing the weeds that never seem to stop. We’ll also discuss when and how often to water and fertilize your garden. By the end of this class, you’ll have a lot of new tools in your toolbox to grow with confidence!

Maximizing Your Yield for Year-Round Deliciousness

Taught by Head Coach Jena Hood & Coach Kaitie Adams

Online: Wednesday, April 10, 2024, 6 – 7:30pm

Tools, Techniques, and Templates you’ll gain:

  • Companion planting chart
  • Seed saving chart

The best way to keep top-quality, organically grown produce on your table year-round is to grow as much as you can, and preserve plenty to eat for when your garden isn’t producing. This is a worthy goal, as organic, homegrown produce is more nutritious, delicious and sustainable than the typical store-bought fare. In this class, you’ll learn how you can implement many creative growing strategies to maximize your harvest. We’ll discuss planning for abundant garden production (i.e., growing high yielding crops, using perennials); ways to use your space more efficiently (i.e., vertical gardening, companion planting); smarter garden harvesting techniques (i.e., cut and come again crops); how to limit inputs of time and money (i.e., seed saving, making and using your own compost); and how to stock up for winter (i.e., growing crops that store, options for preserving the harvest).

Plant It Forward – Community Work Day & Celebratory Potluck*

Hands-On: Saturday, April 13, 2024

Now that you’ve accumulated a wealth of knowledge and experiences in organic gardening, it’s time to put it into practice! You’re invited to participate in a day of “Planting it forward,” and also celebrating the completion of Spring Training!

  • Join a tour of a community garden & behind-the-scenes look at garden operations on school campuses. EarthDance’s partnership with Ferguson-Florissant School District provides students with the opportunity to have thriving school gardens as living classrooms. Empowering students with garden-based education allows the district to tackle food insecurity and through experiential learning, students participate in seed-to-table right at school!  
  • Participate in hands-on garden/farm work and put into practice some of the things you’ve learned through the spring training program. Tasks will vary but may include: raised bed building, spreading compost/mulch, planting trees, weeding, and tidying up the site.
  • Celebrate! We’ll convene at the Dick McBride Community Pavilion at EarthDance to share food together, and acknowledge your accomplishment at completing this 5 week course! If you’ve attended every session, you’ll receive a certificate of completion and a 4-pack of veggie starts to get you growing at home!

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

I don’t have much gardening experience; is this program right for me?

Spring Training was designed for you if you have never grown a vegetable garden before and are eager to start! Or, if you have had a garden, but didn’t have as much success as you wanted to. Or if you’ve gotten started, but want to learn more so you can increase the frequency or volume of your harvests! This program is NOT FOR: seasoned, veteran gardeners or folks who can’t spare 2-3 hours each week for 5 weeks.

What are the 2024 dates of this program?

Live-online classes are Wednesdays 6:00-7:30pm, March 13th, 20th, 27th, April 3rd & 10th. Hands-on workshops are Saturdays, March 16th, March 30th, and April 13th at EarthDance Organic Farm School in Ferguson (or nearby schools!).

What is the difference between Live Online classes and Hands-on workshops?

Live online classes will be held over zoom each week. During classes you will interact with EarthDance farmers, the presenter of the week and fellow online class attendees. Hands-on workshops will be held at the EarthDance Organic Farm School campus, located in Ferguson Missouri, on Saturdays. See dates above!

Can I register for Live Online Classes a la carte?

Yes! If you do not want to participate in all 5 weeks of the online course, you can choose which class to sign up for, and pay a la carte.

Can I register for Hands-on workshops a la carte?

No. In-person, hands-on classes are only available with the Full Course Spring Training Online + Hands-on Option.

Are you still doing the Apprenticeship program?

In 2024, EarthDance will offer TWO apprenticeship opportunities!

Since 2009, more than 450 Farm & Garden Apprentices have come to EarthDance Organic Farm School to explore their farming dreams. EarthDance’s Farm and Garden Apprenticeship is the teaching farm’s flagship and longest running program. Teaching people to grow food in a hands-on, community-based way has been at the heart of our work for 15 years. Learn more about our incredible apprenticeship alumni over the years here!

Have another question or would like to contact us directly?

Email us: programs@earthdancefarms.org.