Gardening: Nourishment from the Ground Up


Our yearlong program provides a rich, multifaceted understanding of the gardens’ seasonal personalities. Classroom and hands on garden activities offers a well-rounded learning experience. Seeing, doing and talking about the subject matter is an integral part of the TIOSN experience.

Sustainable ecosystems around the world thrive without the use of man made chemicals, genetically modified seeds, herbicides, pesticides and fungicides. Nature has its own mineral and biological amendment strategies. What can we learn from these ecosystems and apply to our garden? We will introduce how to make and apply sustainable, regenerative mineral and biological amendments using local materials available at little or no cost. Long and short-term application strategies will be discussed and applied in the TIOSN garden.

Soil mineral proportions are an integral part of plant health. Plant health defines the health of the people and livestock consuming them. Soil health principles will be taught in the classroom with hands on experiences in the garden. Measuring soil mineral content, understanding mineral proportions and amending the soil to obtain these proportions are explained and applied in the TIOSN garden. Using nature’s strategies and local mineral sources to amend the soil is sustainable, regenerative and low cost.

Soil biology breaks down minerals and builds complex compounds that feed the plant through the root system. Biological diversity defines the soil’s resilience, and enables plants to reach their optimal health. Learn about the importance of soil biology, how to capture and use local sources to nurture the soil plant ecosystem. Discover how local soil biology is regenerative, sustainable, free and easy to harness.

Weeds are an overlooked, local, bountiful food source and are an integral part of nature’s mineral redistribution system. Learn about the mineral content of some popular weeds, their use as a food source. Learn how to make and use shelf stable amendments from these mineral rich, local plants. Choose your weeds wisely.

Bee and insect pollination is a fascinating and essential garden experience. The school has a small apiary that is used to introduce bee keeping. We work in and monitor the hive throughout the year. We never really know what the bees will present to us year after year, but it is always enchanting.

The annual cycles of the sun, moon, planets, seasonal changes, food availability and animal activity will be discussed. Nature’s cycles provide an unavoidable connection to the world around us.

If it is true that “we are what we eat” then we need to understand how to grow high quality, nourishing food from the ground up to maintain our health. Food is our medicine.

Some of the hands on activities experienced during the year

  • Create soil inoculates using local biology
  • Create sustainable mineral amendments using plants, shells and closing the “waste” cycles
  • Identify local macro mineral sources
  • Weeds as food, mineral source, cover crop and defining soil mineral content
  • Measure the soil’s present mineral content to define long and short term needs
  • Measure plant quality and amendment efficacy, using a refractometer
  • Capture and stabilize local, indigenous soil biology
  • Make a highly mineralized, balanced, living, soil amendment
  • Apiary magic, evaluate, maintain and sometimes build homes for bees