Soil-First Gardening: How to Grow Black Gold in the Backyard

Soil-First Gardening: How to Grow Black Gold in the Backyard

Soil-First Gardening: How to Grow Black Gold in the Backyard

Hands-on, permaculture, and beyond-organic gardening techniques to improve your garden soil for healthy plants & family

Language: english

Note: 0/5 (0 notes) 200 students  New course 

Instructor(s): Anna Hess

Last update: 2022-08-02

What you’ll learn

  • How to make or find and use the best compost, including compost worms and black soldier flies.
  • Keep your soil improving with no-till techniques like kill mulches and solarization.
  • Boost long-term microbial health with biochar and hugelkultur.
  • Choose and plant cover crops to grow darker soil and a healthy garden ecosystem.



  • No experience needed. Even if your thumb is brown, this course can help turn it green!



Grow twice the fruits and vegetables in half the space when you turn your soil into black gold!

Have you noticed the extraordinary flavors and yields that come from even a small garden when the soil is just right? If you’ve ever been envious of your neighbor’s dirt or just curious about homesteading, then this course is the perfect fit for you.

Both raw beginners and gardeners who already boast a green thumb will benefit from this course’s focus on hands-on techniques used to boost the quality of your soil on the small scale. Contents include:

  • Compost – why and how to buy or make and use the very best, including compost worms and black soldier flies

  • No-till organic gardening – keep the fertility cycling in your soil with chemical-free, no-till techniques likes solarization and kill mulches

  • Biochar – learn when charcoal boosts your soil and when it’s a fairy tale as well as how to turn waste wood ashes into biochar

  • Hugelkultur – use rotting wood for long-term soil improvement to please fungally-associated plants

  • Cover crops – grow easy ground covers that build soil, attract pollinators, lower weeding pressure, and much more

Each video tells the how as well as the why to help you follow along easily at home. In addition, printable fact sheets can come with you into the garden as a quick reminder of each step.

This course is brought to you by Anna Hess, author of The Weekend Homesteader and The Ultimate Guide to Soil. Based on 15 years of fruit and vegetable gardening in harmony with the natural environment, her books and courses take the guesswork out of beyond-organic and permaculture techniques.


Who this course is for

  • Home gardeners of all levels as well as beyond-organic farmers who want to improve their soil naturally.


Course content

  • Introduction
    • Black gold
    • From the Walden Effect team
  • Compost
    • Why compost?
    • Our composting system
    • Compost fact sheet
    • Top-dressing: A quick fix for poor soil
    • Compost quiz
  • No-till gardening
    • Why no-till?
    • How to plant into a no-till garden
    • Start a no-till bed from scratch
    • Using kill mulches to deal with weeds
    • Solarization: Another weed-killing hack
    • No-till Quiz
  • Adding wood to the garden with hugelkultur and biochar
    • Is biochar a fairy tale?
    • How to turn wood-stove ashes into biochar
    • Hugelkultur vs. biochar
    • How to build a no-till hugelkultur bed
    • Biochar Quiz
  • Cover crops
    • Why cover crops?
    • Our favorite cover crop: Buckwheat
    • Choosing how to kill your cover crop
    • Cover crop fact sheet
    • Cover crop quiz
  • Where to go from here
    • Where to go from here


Time remaining or 800 enrolls left


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