Schedule a soil class/workshop/event with Ea Murphy
Over the past few years, I’ve shared a love of soils with thousands across the US. Whether just starting out, wanting to take your garden or farm to the next level, or generally interested in the state of our soils, I try to make practical information accessible to all. I believe that we can all understand the science behind soil to grow better gardens and a greener planet.
The Down and Dirty: Soil Building Secrets for Greener Gardens
How do you grow more productive, greener, and healthier gardens, with less time and money? The secret is in the soil – healthy, living soil, that is. Unlock the secrets for bringing soils to life and grow naturally productive gardens. In this class learn how to recognize healthy soil, feed and nourish the soil food web, and build soil fertility using natural strategies and techniques available to every gardener. Get down to the ground level for a soil-eyed view that will change the way you grow.
Compost and Amendments the Natural Way
Just like us, gardens need food to thrive, and the best nutrition feeds both plants and the soil. Compost and organic amendments in the garden are the tried and true way to do this, but cover crops and garden residues also offer valuable nourishment. This class explores how to best use compost, amendments, and so-called garden “waste” to meet the nutritional needs of your soil and your plants. We’ll cover tips for building better compost, the pros and cons of organic materials in your own backyard, and natural solutions to maximize garden nourishment.
The Water-Friendly Gardener: Drought proof your garden by starting with the soil
Even in times of abundance, water plays a critical role in how our gardens grow, particularly in the dry summers of the western states. Of course, plants need water to grow and thrive. But water is also critical for living soil organisms to stay active and abundant, the true foundation of healthy gardens and a living planet. Luckily, the steps we take to grow healthy living soils are the same steps we take to mitigate and even help our gardens thrive during dry conditions. By starting with growing healthy soil, any gardener can drought-proof the garden to grow more with less water. Learn how to plant a water friendly garden, catch and keep the water that’s available, and maximize the benefits of organic matter to grow healthy living soil and plants all year round.
The Carbon Connection: Soil Climate Solutions
Soil is life, and life is carbon. The carbon and organic matter in soil plays an important role in capturing greenhouse gases, protecting water resources, and feeding a growing planet. How we treat soil on farms, in cities, and in our backyards is an important part of the solution to many of the global environmental dilemmas we face. To understand how the local affects the global, come learn about the cycles of organic matter and the role of soil carbon in the garden. This class will cover how to build organic matter, manage nutrients, develop natural soil communities, and promote other ecosystem benefits to grow gardens, cities, and farms that are not only more bountiful, but more climate friendly as well.
Whole Soil Fertility Management
A whole soil is a living soil. Like any living thing, soils and the crops they grow need proper nutrition to thrive. But how do we determine the nutrients our plants need, how do we know what the soil has, and what’s the best, most cost effective way to add fertility to the soil? For farmers using organic and sustainable practices, traditional soil tests provide only limited guidance for fertility management. This class presents the step-by-step fundamentals and the latest research-based tools to meet farm nutrient needs from a whole soil perspective. Learn how to account for natural soil fertility, increase nutrient capture and retention, and address and assess nutrient deficiencies and soil fertility problems. Improve production and quality with whole soil fertility management that maximizes nutrient use and availability, while minimizing external fertilizer costs.
Integrating Animals on the Farm
Animals and plants are linked across all global ecosystems. Agricultural ecosystems are no exception. Despite this, recent practices have led to increasing separation of animals and crops on the farm. Reversing this trend and integrating animals and plants in production practices presents many benefits, helping whole farm ecosystems to close the sustainability loop. This class will explore how, when, and why to incorporate animals and crops together in farming practices to improve nutrient cycling, reduce pest and weed pressures, and stack functions leading to increased farm productivity and profitability. A discussion of legal and regulatory concerns will be included.
Soil Test Interpretation
If you’re in the business of growing food, you’ll have a soil test report. But what does it actually mean? How does it inform organic or sustainable management? And what are it’s limitations? The living soil system is the foundation of farming, but a soil test report is only one piece of evaluating and managing its health. Growers, bring your test reports, your problems, and your questions to this two hour advanced soil science class. Soil scientist, Elizabeth Murphy, will present strategies and practical approaches to integrate knowledge about the chemical, physical, and ecological properties of the soil to refine nutrient management, improve soil health, and maximize production. Pre-class questions and soil test report submission are encouraged.
Dirt! It’s good for you…