GivingTree Farm Herb Company

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2015 Spring Gardening Apprenticeship



GivingTree Farm Herb Company will offer a 40 hour Spring Gardening Apprenticeship Program. This introductory-to-intermediate course is designed for someone who is completely new to gardening or has been gardening for just a few seasons or less. To keep the quality of instruction high, the program will be limited to just 8 to 10 students.

Classes begin Saturday afternoons on April 4th, from 11 - 3pm, and continue through June 13th for ten weeks. There will be at least one Saturday Field Trip to a regional herb nursery that the class selects sometime during the Gardening Apprenticeship.

Certificates of Completion will be awarded at the end of class & scheduling an optional Summer Gardening Apprenticeship will be discussed before the end of the Spring program if there is interest.



The Willamette Valley is an ideal place to garden. Blessed with our fairly mild maritime climate we have year-round gardening opportunities. As Gaia undergoes potentially radical climate change, knowing how to grow one’s own food and medicine will become critical. Our goal is to teach you the essentials, supporting and inspiring you to keep on going and growing (and growing...) We will employ holistic, sustainable, and organic approaches without chaining ourselves to a rigid gardening philosophy. Students will be encouraged to figure out what works for them, rather than to just rely solely on “experts.”

Our topics of exploration will be driven by student interest and may include:

Basic Garden Planning and Design

Art in The Garden

Container Gardening

Common Plant Diseases -- How to Treat and Avoid Them Naturally


Cover Crops - “Green Manures”

Culinary Herbs

Water-wise and Xeriscape Gardening

Gardening as a Political Act

Greenhouses and Cold Frames

Green Roofs

Herbs as Flowers

Herbs as Landscape Plants

Medicinal Herb Gardens

Nutritional Aspects of Herbs

Horticulture and Horoscopes -- Gardening Astrologically

Planetary Gardening By The Sun, Moon and Stars

How to Choose the Right Plant for Your Needs

Insect Pests and Beneficial Bugs

The Art of Propagation - Choosing Seeds or Starts?

Protecting and Promoting Native Plants

Proper Pruning Techniques

A Selected History of Gardening

Spiritual Aspects of Gardening

Weather, The Seasons and Persistence

The Vital Importance of Building Your Soil

Practical Water Catchment

...just to name a few...

You will learn several important skills: how to plan and design your new garden, improve upon your already established garden; decide what seeds or plants to buy; how to grow, harvest and preserve food from your garden; how to organize, harvest, process and store your own seeds; how to grow and use culinary and medicinal herbs; and how to make and use compost and compost tea.

We will be using my small urban garden as a living laboratory. We will include comprehensive discussions and demonstrations of where, when and how to prepare a garden bed. We will also go over how to plant seeds in containers and how to effectively direct seed. You will discover how to transplant and care for your plants in the ground and how to harvest and preserve food and medicinal plants.



The cost of the Gardening Apprenticeship is $275 dollars. A $75 deposit is required to hold your place in the class. Unless otherwise arranged, the full amount of the Apprenticeship is due by March 20th, 2015. Please make all forms of payment payable to:  Lawrence Birch.

Your payment is your registration. Our refund policy, in the event that a student is legitimately unable to complete the course, is on a pro-rated basis. Full refunds will be given up to March 5th, 2015. Refunds after March 5th but before March 20th will be returned --minus a $25 fee.

No refunds will be given after March 20th.



Obtain these 6 essential tools by our 2nd Saturday class - a shovel; a hoe; a bow rake; a hand trowel; a hand pruner; and a hand file which you will use to keep the blades of your hoe and shovel nice and sharp. Expect to spend approximately $100 - $200 dollars on good quality tools. If you are unsure what tools to buy, we will discuss what tools to look for on our first day of class. Make sure you bring gloves to class to protect your precious hands. And please come well prepared for Oregon’s lovely spring weather! Wear warm, waterproof, comfortable garden wear.



Lawrence Birch has been gardening for over 25 years, since 1986. At the age of 18, needing a healthy distraction from the rigors of academic pursuits, he began an extensive herb garden at his grandfather’s house in North Albany. Eventually, his mother joined in the act and for a number of years they pursued a part-time herbal business at the Albany and Corvallis Farmer’s Markets, selling everything from Elephant Garlic to Salsa and Pesto.

After moving to Eugene in 1988, he continued to garden in a variety of locations and was a fixture more often than not at either the Eugene Farmer’s Market or Saturday Market for many seasons. Now, after moving back to Albany, his gardening experience has come full circle. He is looking forward to the next 25 years of gardening.

GivingTree Massage
GivingTree Farm Herb Company
Lawrence Birch, Owner and Herbalist



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