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Backyard Sustainability Programs

We offer two certificate courses that focus on backyard sustainability.

Nutrient Dense Gardening Program

Grow for Flavor and Nutrition in Your Own Backyard

For the home gardeners, community gardeners, CSA Growers, market gardeners, church and school gardeners, and anyone thinking about growing food, this course is designed to guide students step-by-step through the principles, practices, and materials that will optimize the health and productivity of your garden.

By creating the ideal environment for the plants being grown, the plants will reach their fullest potential. This means that the nutrient content of the plants will be at their peak, they will produce more yield, and pests and diseases will be avoided due to the plant’s natural defenses. Students will create conditions for the plants to thrive as nature intended.

The program starts at the soil, where it all begins. Students will learn to identify soil mineral deficiencies and how to rebalanced them with a variety of materials, mainly rock minerals, sea minerals, organic matter, and some biological inoculants. In addition to the biological inoculants, bacteria and fungi, food for the soil life is added such as fish, kelp, humates, and sugar or molasses.

From the soil the curriculum moves on to seed inoculation, transplant inoculation, and monitoring soil and plant health. As the course progresses students will learn the details of plant and soil monitoring, nutrient drenches and foliar sprays. Other details that will be discussed are plant physiology, plant and fungal/bacterial symbioses, the timing of growth and fruiting cycles, and foliar sprays designed to affect leaf or fruit growth will be explained.

Small Scale Wildlife Habitat Restoration

Create a Thriving Ecosystem in Your Own Backyard

For the naturalists, bird watchers, homeschoolers, sensitive people, parents, and landscape designers, this program will teach you how to turn your backyard, balcony, or any space you have available into a wildlife habitat buzzing with life. By creating a garden that attracts wildlife, you are helping to restore habitat in commercial and residential areas. Wildlife you will be assisting will include pollinators like bees, insects, birds, bats, small mammals like rabbits, reptiles such as turtles, and amphibians like frogs and toads.

The program will cover the core foundations that every thriving wildlife habitat needs: healthy soil, ecological gardening that provides food, clean water, natural cover, and a place for wildlife to raise their young. In addition, students will also gain skills in natural and sustainable landscaping practices. Not only will this habitat be for wildlife, but the program covers the aspects and installments for human enjoyment as a part of the ecosystem creation.

As a bonus students will also be building many of the habitat structures to take home and use such as bat houses, toad houses, pollinator houses, and bird houses.

Course and Registration Information

Select the course title below for course schedules and online registration.

Nutrient Dense Gardening Program
Course Offerings (1)
May 9, 2017 through June 3, 2017
Tuesdays: 6:00 - 8:00 pm
Saturdays: 9:00 - 11:00 am
Instructor: Jessica Smith
CRN: ENV217.02
Fee: $300
Schedule revised 1/25. Current days, dates & times are accurate.
Description
REVISED. For home gardeners, community gardeners, CSA Growers, market gardeners, church and school gardeners, and anyone thinking about growing food, this course is designed to take you step-by-step through the principles, practices, and materials that will optimize the health and productivity of your garden. The basis behind this series is that by creating the ideal environment, plants will reach their fullest potential. That means that the nutrient content of the plants will be at their peak, they will produce more yield, and pests and diseases will be minimized due to the plant's natural defenses. You will learn to identify soil mineral deficiencies and how to re-balance them with a variety of materials, mainly rock minerals, sea minerals, organic matter, and some biological inoculants. In addition to the biological inoculants, bacteria and fungi, food for the soil life is added such as fish, kelp, humates, and sugar or molasses. From the soil we then move on to seed inoculation, transplant inoculation, and monitoring soil and plant health. As the course progresses we will learn the details of plant and soil monitoring, and nutrient drenches. Other details that will be discussed are plant physiology, plant and fungal/bacterial symbioses, the timing of growth and fruiting cycles, and foliar sprays designed to affect leaf or fruit growth.

Contact Us

Professional & Continuing Studies
Special Programs Building
28 Westhampton Way
Univ. of Richmond, VA 23173

Phone: (804) 289-8133
Fax: (804) 289-8138
spcs@richmond.edu