Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Basics of Urban Farmsteading Class

More and more folks know that there is wonderful security and satisfaction in being able to prepare many of our meals from abundant gardens around our homes, but don't know where to start. Imagine FRESH omelets and meat from a backyard henhouse, home grown organic salads, or expensive "exotic" crops such as arugula, Barbados Cherry, cassava, chaya, papaya, many herbs and staple crops for Thai and other ethnic cuisines fresh your own yard. Organic landscape consultant and garden writer John Starnes (St. Pete Times, Fine Gardening, Florida Gardening) shows how to make the transition in stages based on your time, temperament, budget and goals, using his jungly south Tampa "urban farm" as the classroom. Learn the ease of "sheet composting" vs. buying an expensive compost bin, using household graywater and urine (sounds "gross" to some but is a totally safe key aspect of permaculture) to nourish your crops and cut your water bill, cheap and easy organic pest control, plus a very effective, low-labor method for killing lawn areas in place and turning them into productive gardens. Take a quick peek at low-tech solar cookers and shower water heaters made from scavenged materials. You will receive a detailed class handout, but be sure to bring a notepad and pen, and, if you wish, a camera, as people tell me that my classes are very information dense. You will also receive two packets of hard-to-get vegetable seeds and instructions on growing and preparing the crops. I will be teaching this well-received class four more times in January, on the 2nd, 10th, 17th and the 30th, from 11 AM until 1 PM, followed by a 30 minute Q & A session. The cost is $25 per person, or $20 per person in carloads of four or more to help foster considerate parking for my neighbors. My address is: 3212 West Paxton Avenue Tampa 33611, which about 6 blocks south of Gandy and 1 1/2 blocks west of MacDill. Look for the jungly yard. I hope to see folks then eager to transform their yards into sources of sustenance and spiritual satisfaction. John Starnes

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