fun to eat your harvest

You CAN Be a Successful and Savvy Gardener

Get Practical Steps to Make it Happen with
The Foundations of Organic Gardening Course

Score Resources to Use for Years

Topics Covered | Course Materials | Sessions | Schedule | Sign Up | FAQs | More Photos | Testimonials

happy garden students

If You have ever wanted to start a garden or find out why you've struggled to garden before - This Course is For You!

What this is Foundations is one Saturday a month for 6 sessions of over 35 hours of classes, workshops, demos and garden wisdom spread over 7 months.

Create, build and maintain a garden that works for you, in any size space, with whatever time you have. The Foundations of Organic Gardening Course will give you the resources you need to be a successful and savvy organic gardener.

You'll get information and resources to use for years in a fun, supportive and personal environment.

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TOPICS Include:
  • Garden Planning, long and short term
  • Annual plant varieties that grow well locally in all four seasons
  • Building Healthy Living Soil
  • Compost & Vermiculture
  • What to do each month in your garden
  • Critter & disease protection
  • Dealing with weird weather
  • Ways to layout your annual vegetable garden
  • Perennial crops including fruit trees and berries
  • Herb propagation methods
  • Plants vs. Seeds
  • Four Season gardening
  • Companion planting
  • Seed starting & saving
  • Container & small space gardening
  • Biodynamics for the home garden
  • How to make wise seed & plant choices
  • Sustainable home water handling
  • Permaculture design principles
  • Pruning & mulching
  • Garden structures
  • Plant guilds
  • Transplanting
  • Cover cropping & crop rotation
  • Resources
  • Get lots of worksheets and charts
  • Workshops and Demonstrations
  • and more !
organic gardening is fun
heirloom organic tomatoes

    Binder with
  • Over 30 Topic Sections
  • Over 8 worksheets
  • Reference Charts, diagrams and more
  • A note about our class handouts and worksheets - Put together, our handouts are really a book containing information and charts from our over 70 years of gardening experience and are meant to give you a go-to foundation of useful knowledge for many years to come. Our past students continue to tell us how valuable they find their binder.
  • PLUS ! You'll get slides from all the power point presentations


Each session is from 9:00 am - 4:00 pm & includes:
  • Class time with multi-media
  • Workshop
  • Demonstrations
  • Handouts & Resources
  • Worksheets
  • All supplies and materials
  • Time for Q & A relevant to your personal situation
  • Lunch and other breaks for discussion and community building
Please bring your lunch and whatever nourishment you require. Water and tea are provided.
a good laugh in organic gardening class
early summer veggie garden with cabbage, tomatoes, and peppers


"Debby and Russell are a rare combination of knowledgeable gardeners, landscape artists, herbalists, teachers, nutritionists - this list is endless. I highly recommend taking their course. I wasn't sure what to expect and was amazed to learn as much as I did. The whole course was well organized, from beginning to end." - MB, Vienna VA

"The course is filled with an abundance of gardener's secrets generously infused within the materials. To teach this course requires not only a knowledge, sensitivity and understanding of the relationship between soil, air, water and plants, but also of our relationship to them. Debby and Russell have these qualities, which brings the class alive. That is something you can't get from reading a book." - BI, Greenbelt MD

"This course exceeded my expectations. Debby & Russell provide their expertise and back it up with many illustrations and handouts for future reference. They both exhibit a passion to share their knowledge and love for gardening. If you are looking for a course to gain a better understanding of gardening, take this course. It is well worth the money! - TK, Reston VA

"I was impressed with Debby & Russell's breath of knowledge of gardening and permaculture - the practical tips given were fun and gives me the impetus to get started! The workbook provided is a resource which is so valuable and will be referenced and added to throughout my gardening year! Their planning tools & scheduling worksheets gives excellent structure to new students. - MR, Alexandria VA

"I've never gardened prior to this. I am so appreciative for Debby & Russell's willingness to run this course. It gave me the knowledge and confidence to start my own garden. The seeds are coming up and I', so thrilled and excite to grow my own food. If you are looking to get started, you won't find a better, more informative or welcoming class than this one." - JH, Great Falls VA gardening classes foster community

"Before Prior Unity Garden's Foundations Cause, I had a lot of ambition, but very little skill or knowledge. I grew up watching my parents gardening, but remembrered only the basics. After the course, I don't feel lost. I've learned so many things and now know trustworthy sources to find answers. I really don't think I can put a value to the information that I got from this class". - MR, Arlington VA

"Learning from Debby, a gardener who has been gardening since she was 5 years old, and who has trained Master Gardeners, is priceless in learning the fundamentals and gardening secretes of organic gardening. Her partner Russell is an added informative compliment to the Foundation of Organic Gardening Course with his knowledge of permaculture and soils." JI, Greenbelt MD

"My family was blown away by the binder, all the materials provided and how well organized it is." - EB, Herndon VA

" Loved the color slides, and information on bug control, composting, mulching, companion planting, mostly everything - thank you!" - AB, McLean VA

"Love the passion & dedication to growing -you live what you teach .. powerful" - AK, Sterling VA

" I liked the natural approach and just how much information was provided" - MB, Leesburg VA

"Thank you for offering this course. I think everyone would take this course to know how to grow your own food and live a heathy lifestyle." - SW, Centerville VA

"The organization of the material to help keep us focused and on point and the vast information was great. They are the 'real deal'". - LB, Herndon VA

"The Foundations of Organic Gardneing is a totally fabulous course and all the knowledge necessary to plant, cultivate and reap organic food for you and your family. Know exactly what, where and when to create your own organic food source."- JL, Reston VA

"Debby's warm and engaging style was instrumental in building my self-confidence. She imparted knowledge and experience in a comfortable and fun way and her handouts are excellent. Watching your seeds come up is so exciting and eating food you have grown yourself is priceless and delicious." - HP, Arlington VA

"Debby was very flexible and helpful with me coming on metro and the course definitely met my expectations. I liked the way the group interacted. The fact the course was hands-on and spread over several sessions gave plenty of room for questions." - MS, Washington DC

"There is life in my box! So exciting to see all these little plants." - SG, Fairfax Station VA

Session 1 - Planning Your Garden

food garden design You'll earn how the pros create garden plans so you can create one that works for you. A well planned garden will save you time and money and prevent you from redoing things. Possiblymost important session of all.
Topics include:

  • Choosing the size and type of garden that is best for you
  • Begin to use Permaculture Design Ethics and Principles - Permaculture is truly the thinking person's means to lazy gardening
  • Being to observe your resources and use them to your advantage when planning your garden
  • Using permaculture zones and sectors.
  • Plan for weather and four seasons, it can save you down the road.
  • Practical design considerations.
  • Prioritize aspects of your garden for long and short range planning
  • Consider what garden structures you may want at some point and how to decide the best place for them
  • Workshop: Use worksheets for a proven step by step approach to planning your garden to pull together what you learn.

    Session 2 - Your Gardens' Foundation

    organic garden tips

    Enjoy Russell's passion for building soil. Continue to build your knowlesge and garden design by considering perennial crops and how they can add depth and beauty to your home food production.
    Session 2 includes:

  • Building Living Soil - Our soil, when healthy, is a living organism ! Get methods and formulas for making it and maintaining it so it grows healthy plants, containing more nutrients and better tasting food.
  • Composting & Vermiculture - Understand why people compost, how to compost and how to choose the right compost and/or vermiculture situation is best for you.
  • Perennial Crops such as berries and fruit trees are a wonderful addition to your foodscape. Find out how to support these plants so you can do less work. Choose what perennial crops are right for you.
  • Ideas for including a Permaculture Food Forest and adding mushroom production.
  • Herb gardening & propigation
  • Workshops: Building the fall compost pile (weather permitting) & continuing our garden designs and planning

    Session 3 - Annual Plants & Seeds

    quality organic seed makes a difference

    Share Debby's infectious zest for good high quality plants, seeds and seed starting and start planning your annual veggie garden.
    Session 3 includes:

  • Consider getting plants vs starting from seed
  • Know Your Seed - Truly understand seeds of different kinds of seeds so you can not only make smart seed decisions and help others make them as well.
  • Find out what grows well in our community and get charts of proven varieties.
  • Seed Starting - Gain confidence in starting your own plants and have access thousands of varieties by doing so - that's food diversity !
  • Seed Saving increases your sustainability. Understand how to save seed of various type of crops.
  • Learn about growing sprouts and micogreens
  • Workshop: Use seed catalogs, seed packets and charts to choose varieties for your garden

    Session 4 - Veggie Garden Layout

    garden design You've planned your garden, learned how to build its foundation and become proficient at choosing what you want to grow, now it is time to lay out your annual veggie garden. From container gardens to large gardens.
    Session 4 includes:
  • Transplanting & hardening off
  • Container & small space gardening
  • Explore the beauty and functionality of companion planting, letting the plants do work for you
  • Understand square foot and other garden layout methods as a foundation to learning Debby's Garden Design System to create your own garden style
  • Workshop: Use charts and worksheets to lay out garden beds or containers based on Debby's Garden Design System and building on last month's workshop.

    Session 5 - Organic Gardening Practices

    biodynamic stir Explore some organic gardening practices to help you bring your garden to another level and you to a new level of gardener with this collection of topics! Session 5 topics include:

  • Disease protection
  • Critter Protection
  • Pruning
  • Biodynamics for the home garden - Enter the miraculous world of Biodynamics. Learn the basic concepts and methods of biodynamic gardening and how to apply them to your garden including the biodynamic gardening calendar and the use of the basic preparations
  • Workshop & Demo: Weather Permitting, we will make a preparation called 'tree paste' which can be used to improve the health and protect any type of tree. We will also have a pruning demo.

    Session 6 -The Yearly Cycle

    grow great food year round

    You'll pull it all together by looking at the yearly garden cycle including:

  • How all you learned ties in together and where the gardening practices you learned fit into the cycle
  • Plus:

  • Handeling "Weeds" and weeds
  • Cover cropping & Green Manures
  • Types of mulches and their uses
  • Fall & Winter Gardening
  • Four Season Gardening & Design
  • Overwintering
  • Harvesting
  • Workshops: Create Your Personal Season by Season Garden Activities Calendar, pulling together all you've done in this and the previous 5 sessions & Extend your veggie garden design to four seasons


    2018 & 2019 Tentative Dates (all dates are Saturdays)
        Fall/Winter 2018-2019 Session
        Session 1 - September 29, 2018 - Planning Your Garden
        Session 2 - October 27, 2018 - Your Garden's Foundation
        Session 3 - November 17 2018 - Annual Plants & Seeds
        Session 4 - January 19, 2019 - Four Season Garden Layout
        Session 5 - February 16, 2019 - Organic Gardening Practices
        Session 6 - March 16, 2098 - The Yearly Cycle
    Foundations of Organic Gardening

    Call for additional payment options or with questions - 703.281.7743


    What is the Cost?

    $900. for over 35 hours of instruction including workshops, demos and presentations. Cost also includes your customizable binder that includes all handouts, worksheets and charts that are really a small book from our over 70 years of gardening experience. These are meant to give you a go-to foundation of useful knowledge.

    Are there payment plan options? Yes !

    Option 1: Payment if full when you sign up
    Option 2: Half down to reserve your space, half at the first class
    Option 3: Call us on 703.281.7743 to arrange other options - we want to make it work for you!

    Are there any discounts?

    Yes! The following community discounts are available:

    1. Seniors over 65 : $600.

    2. Sign up with a friend and you both get $100. off.

    3. We have one apprentice space for the course for $600. Contact us to inquire.

    4. Full-time students with ID: $600.

    5. We have one deep discount for any videographer who can film every session and provide us all the videos with no copyright or distribution limitations.
    Contact us if you are interested in the apprentice or videographer spaces.

    What are the dates of the next course?

        2018 & 2019 Tentative Dates (all dates are Saturdays) for Fall/Winter 2018-2019 Session
        Session 1 - September 29, 2018 - Planning Your Garden
        Session 2 - October 27, 2018 - Your Garden's Foundation
        Session 3 - November 17 2018 - Annual Plants & Seeds
        Session 4 - January 19, 2019 - Four Season Garden Layout
        Session 5 - February 16, 2019 - Organic Gardening Practices
        Session 6 - March 16, 2019 - The Yearly Cycle

    How long is each class? 7 hours with an hour lunch and other breaks

    What time are the sessions ? 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

    How is the class structured ?

    Class is interactive with time for questions throughout. We split each session up between class, workshops and demonstrations with a lunch break in the middle and other breaks as we choose. You are welcome to bring something to eat or drink during class if you need to. We want our students to be comforatable.

    Is lunch provided ?

    Because everyone has varied diets, we do not provide lunch, so please bring a bag lunch. We have a full kitchen available for students to use including fridge and stove. You are welcome to bring something to eat or drink during class if you need to. Please, no alcohol. We do provide water and tea. We want our students to be comfortable.

    Where are the classes held?

    Classes are held at our private teaching space which includes a full kitchen and bathroom. The space is a short walk from the Vienna Metro. If you have further questions, please contact us.

    Are there any additional required texts?

    No, all materials are provided in the course price. Additional resources will be provided for subject areas that you can purchase and study on your own for topics you want to dive deeper into.

    What if I cannot make a session ?

    If you are unable to make a session for any reason, you may make it up, at no additional fee, the next time it is offered. No discount will be provided if you cannot make a session. You will still receive all the handouts, charts and worksheets for all sessions even if you cannot make them in person.

    Can I start a session in the middle?

    The course is stuctured so each class builds upon the previous ones, so you cannot start in the middle.

    Are there any course requirements ?

    Only a desire to you learn to grow your own food.

    Is there any guarentee for the course?

    We guarantee a fun filled, info packed course or your money back.

    How does this differ from the Master Gardener program?

    Our local Master Gardener program is not focused on organic growing or home food and medicine production. We are strictly ORGANIC focused! Here, you learn how to grow food not lawns. We have walked the walk all our lives and pass on all we know. The Master Gardner program requires at least 24 hours of volunteer work each year, we do not. The Master Gardner program takes about 3 years to get certified. We certify at the end of the course.

    How is this different from a Permaculture Design Course?

    This course is designed for those who want an overview of organic gardening knowledge with personal instruction for their situation. This course could lead one into a Permaculture Design Course as a profession or for personal interest. Most people in our community have requested in-depth organic food gardening information and this course fills that desire. We have roots in Permaculture and Biodynamics so you do get the benefit of how to use some of these elements as part of the course.

    Who are the instructors?

    You will benefit from over 75 years of experience. Your Instructors have taught Master Gardeners, for the Mason Sustainability Institute, for Washington Gardener Magazine, for the Grow Your Health Gardening, Food and Wellness Festival, Fairfax County events, and many other local organizations and groups. Your instructors are Debby Ward and Russell Furbush.

    Have any other questions ? Call us on 703.281.7743 or email us on


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    Foundations of Organic Gardening

    Call for additional payment options or with questions - 703.281.7743