Spring Training Classes

List of live online and hands-on Spring 2021 classes offered by EarthDance.

I Want to Grow Food. Where do I Start?

Online: Wednesday, April 14th; 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

Hands-On: Saturday, April 17th, 9:00am -11:00am OR 1:00pm – 3:00pm

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 that Grow Well in STL

Online: Wednesday, April 21st, 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, fruits, and herbs that grow well in STL

Looking for your best starting line-up for gardening success? This class will help you choose which veggies, herbs, and fruits to grow that do particularly well in the St. Louis region. 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. And finally, you’ll learn about the “Dirty Dozen” list, and which fruits and veggies you’ll want to choose (and try to grow!) organic whenever possible.

The Down and Dirty: Secrets to Great Soil

Online: Wednesday, April 28th, 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

Hands-On: Saturday, May 1st, 9:00am -11:00am OR 1:00pm – 3:00pm

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!

Online: Wednesday, May 5th, 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

Online: Wednesday, May 12th; 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, May 15th, 9:00am -1:00pm

Meet at various sites at 9am; convene at EarthDance, 233 S Dade Ave, 63135 for final celebration at 11:30am

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!

While urban agriculture is often praised for stimulating local economies, improving air and soil quality, and promoting sustainable growing techniques, one of its most important qualities is its encouragement of community cooperation, growth, and social justice. There is a growing number of nonprofits and community gardens in the St. Louis region whose missions are to educate their communities on growing fresh and organic food. We’ve partnered with some of them to provide you with an opportunity to experience how others in our region are tackling food insecurity in their own communities.

To start the day, you will receive a tour of a community garden and a behind the scenes look at garden operations from how the organization coordinates volunteers, what these gardens are growing, and where the food is being distributed. You will have the opportunity to 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. 

And afterward, 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!

*Please note: while we’d like to celebrate in true EarthDance form with a potluck, our food sharing will depend on best practices for Covid-19 safety at that time. If need be, we will still convene, but with a BYO-everything style, socially distanced picnic on the farm that afternoon.

  • List of community gardens looking for volunteer support., (4 sites; Tiffany, Jena, Molly, Deb) Emerson YMCA, Rustic Roots Sanctuary in Spanish Lake, A Red Circle
  • Known and Grown farmer directory and local farmers market guide.