The Foundations of Organic Gardening will not be held until further notice due to COVID-19

Prior Unity Garden COVID-19 Policies, September 2020:

Indoor classes and courses have been suspended. This includes the Foundations of Organic Gardening. Although we may do this popular course in the future, for now it is being suspended in favor of other offerings.

Coaching is done on the phone or by video.

Consultations are done with social distancing and masks. The follow-up meetings are now being done virtually.

Plant sales may resume in Spring by contactless-pickup. They will not be held this fall.

transform your lawn into a beautify voundy of food and flowers

What is the organic gardening goal you have?

  • Maybe it is like Mandy, who’s family had gardened, but she never had and now wanted to learn how.
  • Or like Margaret who had bought a larger property and wanted to learn what to do with it,
  • Or Monique who wanted to teach her daughter to grow and eat healthy, yummy home grown food,
  • Or Robbie and Jeannie who wanted to grow in containers, build a hoop house and grow food all year round,
  • Or Deanna who wanted to grow her own trusted food supply
  • Or Dave, who wanted to transform all his property into a market garden
  • Or like Andrea, Akila, Mark, Tracim Eric and loads of other folks who wanted to find out why here garden wasn’t doing well and get the skills to take their garden to a new level.

The common solutions to any of these problems is to either do nothing and keep wishing for a solution, or to jump on our computers, grab our phones, do a quick internet search, snatch the first solution that pops up from the whole internet and hope, yes, hope it will work for us.

But then what happens when it doesn’t work so well? We either do that all over again, or we tend to give up.

That is why I say … 

“When you seek professional gardening advice, and get training, you overcome the blind spots to you gardening success.”

And when folks did just that one thing In the Foundations Course:

  • Mandy gained the confidence to start her garden
  • Margaret was able to design her whole property to include everything that was on her wish list
  • Monique built a garden at with her daughter
  • Robbie and Jeannie not only successfully container gardened and made worm compost for years, they got approval from their townhouse homeowner’s association to build a raised bed and hoop house in front and grew greens all winter
  • Deanna understood how to grow her own trusted food supply
  • Dave transformed a couple acres of lawn into a thriving market garden and added an orchard and food forest
  • And Andrea, Akila, Mark, Traci, Eric and many other folks got specific answers to their individual gardening questions and found got the skills to take their garden to a new level. And I love getting all the photo updates on their beautiful and abundant gardens.
"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!"
Tiffany Kolostilk
Estate Manager
"The Foundations of Organic Gardening 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."
Judith Loomas
Interior Designer
“I’m so happy that I took the Foundations of Organic Gardening. I’m not new to gardening but Russell and Debby have taught me how to be more successful gardening, not only during the summer but also in all four seasons! Now I know what I should be doing each month to prepare and enjoy my garden. Every year I will implement new ideas to create the garden of my dreams. Thank you Russell & Debby!”
Dr. Traci Jones
Doctor of Osteopathy
"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 remembered 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".
get personal help planning your garden
Mandy Rhodes
Project Manager & Aromatherapist
"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."
Margret loves taking prior unity garden classes
Margret Brady
Retried Mom, Tai Chi and Herb Lover
"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."
Robbie loves prior unity garden
Robbie Iacovazzi
Cloud Scientist

More details on the Virtual Version coming soon - you can see more about the in-person version that we are not doing due to COVID-19, below ..

Ever wanted to start a garden or find out why you’ve struggled to garden before… 

This Course is For You!

The Foundations Course is held once a year.

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

Session 1 - Planning Your Garden

You’ll learn how the pros create garden plans and site 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. Possibly most important session of all.

In Session 1 you’ll:

  • Choose the size and type of garden that is best for you
  • See how permaculture design ethics, principles, zones and sectors insure your productive garden into the future
  • Observe your resources to save money
  • Get tips and tricks for dealing with unpredictable weather
  • Enjoy practical design considerations
  • Prioritize aspects of your garden for long and short range planning
  • Consider what garden structures you may want and best to place them
  • Go over must have and nice to have garden tools
  • Choose what materials you’ll need to achieve your garden dream

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

Enjoy Russell’s passion for building soil. Continue to build your knowledge and garden design by considering perennial crops and how they can add depth and beauty to your home food production.

In Session 2 you’ll:

  • Understand good quality living soil
  • Get methods and formulas for making soil that grows healthy plants and better tasting food
  • Understand how to compost and vermicompost
  • See how to incorporate perennial crops, including berries and fruit trees into your foodscape
  • Enjoy how to include a permaculture food forest and mushrooms
  • Learn herb propagation

Workshop: Continue your garden planning and design.

get personal help planning your garden
Session 3 - Annual Plants & Seeds

Share Debby’s infectious zest for good high quality plants, seeds and seed starting and start planning your annual veggie garden.

In Session 3 you’ll:

  • Consider getting plants vs starting from seed
  • Know Your Seed – Truly understand seeds of different kinds of seeds so you can make smart seed choices
  • Find out what grows well in our community and get charts of proven varieties
  • Gain confidence in starting your own plants and how to access thousands of varieties – that’s food diversity !
  • See how seed saving increases your sustainability and how to save seed of various type of crops
  • Get steps to grow sprouts and microgreens

Workshop: Use seed catalogs, seed packets, charts and worksheets to choose varieties for your garden

seed starting rack
Session 4 - Veggie Garden Layout

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.

In Session 4 you’ll:

  • Understand transplanting & hardening off
  • Get tips to maximize your garden space – from containers to large gardens
  • Dive into container gardening
  • Explore the beauty and functionality of companion planting – let plants work for you
  • Learn 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.

grow great veggies
Session 5 - Organic Gardening Practices

Explore organic gardening practices to help you bring your garden to another level and bring you to a new level of gardener!

In Session 5 you’ll:

  • See how to handle common diseases
  • Get solutions for critter protection
  • See how to prune – from tomatoes to trees
  • Enter the miraculous world of Biodynamics by learn the basic concepts and methods of biodynamic gardening and how to apply them to your garden

Demos: Biodynamic preparations and a pruning demo.

usda organic symbol 2
Session 6 -The Yearly Cycle

Wow, you’ve learned so much by Session 6, you’ll pull it all together by looking at the yearly garden cycle.

You’ll understand how all you learned ties in together and where the gardening practices you learned fit into the cycle and add a few more organic gardening practices to your skillset

In Session 6 you’ll:

  • See how to handling “Weeds” and weeds
  • Understand cover cropping & crop rotation
  • Look at types of mulches and their uses
  • Learn the benefits of fall, winter and overwinter gardening
  • Extend your design skills from one season to four
  • And remember to harvest!

Workshops: Create Your Personal Season by Season Garden Activities Calendar for the next year. Extend your veggie garden design to four seasons.

you got this 1


get resources, worksheets and charts to use for years

You’ll get a binder with

  • Over 30 Topic Sections
  • Over 8 worksheets
  • Reference Charts, diagrams
  • Additional resources 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
"My family was blown away by the binder, all the materials provided and how well organized it is."
Eric loves to garden and make music
Eeic Benson
Computer Programmer & Musician
"Their planning tools & scheduling worksheets gives excellent structure to new students."
Mary R.
Health Coach

You CAN Be a Successful and Savvy Gardener – Get Practical Steps to Make it Happen

Do You …

  • Have a garden that hasn’t produced as you hoped
  • Want to start a garden but unsure the best way to do it
  • Yearn to transform your landscape into a productive & beautiful place to enjoy
  • Look at your yard and have no idea where to start to achieve your garden dream

This Course Will …

  • Guide you through how to successfully garden organically so you are confident and
  • Insure you understand how to grow yummy organic food
  • Clarify you are using your garden to your best advantage
  • Keep you focused and on track to achieve your garden dream so you’ll
  • Be a victorious gardener and
  • Positive you are starting, or improving the right garden for you to
  • Secure you grow the garden of your dreams

Are You Feeling …

  • Confused about all the things you have heard about gardening
  • Bummed out by how your gardening has gone
  • Afraid you’ll start a garden that doesn’t work
  • Concerned you are not on track to achieve your garden dream
  • Frustrated with lack of focus on your garden project
  • Overwhelmed about the whole gardening thing

This Course is For You if Want to…

  • Be a successful and savvy gardener
  • Learn how to garden organically from the pros
  • Get personal ongoing guidance for your garden
  • Insure you are starting a garden that will work for you
  • Understand why your garden has failed
  • Bring your garden to a new height of productivity
  • Enjoy input and support of community in a safe space
  • Score Resources to Use for Years
  • Desire to grow your own yummy healthy food
workshop choosing what to grow in your garden

About & FAQs

About the Course

2019 & 2020 Tentative Dates (all dates are Saturdays) for Fall/Winter 2019-2020 Session

Session 1 – September 28, 2018 – Planning Your Garden

Session 2 – October 26, 2018 – Your Garden’s Foundation

Session 3 – November 16 2018 – Annual Plants & Seeds

Session 4 – January 25, 2019 – Four Season Garden Layout

Session 5 – February 22, 2019 – Organic Gardening Practices

Session 6 – March 21, 2098 – The Yearly Cycle

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

No, all materials, including the course binder, 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.

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. We want our students to be comfortable.

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

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

Our local Master Gardener program is not focused on organic growing or home food 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 in Session 6.

This course is designed for those who want a broad foundation 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.

 Your instructors are Debby Ward and Russell Furbush

You will benefit from over 70 years of experience. Your Instructors have taught Master Gardeners, for the Mason Sustainability Institute, for Washington Gardener Magazine, for the Grow Your Health Festival, Take Back Your Health Conference, and many other local organizations and groups..

About the Sessions 

2019 & 2020 Tentative Dates (all dates are Saturdays) for Fall/Winter 2019-2020 Session

Session 1 – September 28, 2018 – Planning Your Garden

Session 2 – October 26, 2018 – Your Garden’s Foundation

Session 3 – November 16 2018 – Annual Plants & Seeds

Session 4 – January 25, 2019 – Four Season Garden Layout

Session 5 – February 22, 2019 – Organic Gardening Practices

Session 6 – March 21, 2098 – The Yearly Cycle

9:00 am – 4:00 pm

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. We want our students to be comfortable.

Because everyone has varied diets, we do not provide lunch.  Please bring your lunch. We have a full kitchen available for students to use including fridge and stove. Lunch is community time when we have fun getting to know each other and building relationships.

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.

Classes are held at our private home 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.

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.  We will work to schedule and hour outside of regular class time to catch you up on the material you missed.


$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.

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: Contact Us to arrange other options – we want to make it work for you!

Foundations of Organic Gardening
  1. Seniors over 65 : $700.
  2. Sign up with a friend and you both get $100. off the regular price.
  3. We have one apprentice space for the course for $700. Contact us to inquire.
  4. Full-time students with ID: $700.
  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.

Foundations of Organic Gardening
Foundations of Organic Gardening