It Starts with Soil: Sustainability, Permaculture and Garden Health

It Starts with Soil: Sustainability, Permaculture and Garden Health

“Sustainability” it a vital concept, but what does it mean for home gardeners? It’s very simple: take care of the earth, and it will take care of you. We have some exceptional seminars that will help you get started on gardening more sustainably, and it all starts with the soil.

If you make small changes to create a more sustainable garden, you will soon reap the benefits of spending less time and money, for a garden that is more rewarding—to you and the environment around you. It’s never too late to start.


Be sure to download our full Show Preview Guide! It will be available online to download in December.

The show preview guide will include the full Seminar Schedule, Seminars by Category, as well are other show highlights and show info.

The Seminars by Category are listed in chronological order. Each of the seminars listed below will tell you the speaker name, seminar topic, seminar description, date, time, seminar location and if there is a book signing afterwards.

Please check the full Seminar Schedule for a full list of ALL our seminars.

Food for the Soil: The Relationship Between Soil Life, Plant Health and Nutrition

Anne Biklé and David Montgomery—Biologist, geologist and co-authors, The Hidden Half of Nature

Seasoned gardeners know that it’s the soil that makes a garden flourish. Organic matter is the lifeblood of soil; building soil fertility delivers nutrients to a plant’s roots, so you have a good-looking garden filled with thriving plants, both ornamental and nutritious. In this fascinating seminar you’ll discover the soil-making techniques that best build soil fertility and deliver nutrients to a plant’s roots, and get a clear idea of what you can do to improve and maintain the health of your garden’s soil.

Wednesday, Feb 22 at 12:30 pm / Hood Room / Book signing to follow

Home Grown Goodness: Keeping Your Vegetablesand Your FamilySafe

Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott—WSU Asso. Professor and author, How Plants Work and The Informed Gardener

Interest in home gardening is increasing along with our desire for healthy food and environmental sustainability. Yet even in home-grown produce may not be completely safe, especially when grown in untested soils. This seminar will introduce the most common sources of soil and vegetable contamination, particularly heavy metals. We’ll then compare the relative abilities of vegetables to take up and accumulate heavy metals, and finish with some simple but effective strategies on how to avoid problems.

Thursday, Feb 23 at 10:00 am / Hood Room / Book signing to follow

Soil Mastery: The Key to Growing Outrageously Nutritious Plants

Hendrikus Schraven and Nirav Peterson—Healthy soil evangelists and founders, Hendrikus Group and Hendrikus Organics

Learn how to master the craft of soil making and determine what is truly going on with your own soil. Hendrikus and Nirav will share their innovative techniques for crafting soils that boost nutritional edibles as well as solving common soil problems. Gain a new understanding of the critical role of soil to our health and how to produce high nutritional edibles wherever you garden—containers, raised beds or rows, rooftops or urban farms.

Thursday, Feb 23 at 4:15 pm / Hood Room

Grow Your Health: The True Taste of Vitality

Hendrikus Schraven and Nirav Peterson—Healthy soil evangelists and founders, Hendrikus Group and Hendrikus Organics

Using both new science and age-old methods, Hendrikus and Nirav will discuss the importance of nutrient density in edibles, and how that directly relates to your soil and your health. They will cover the true meaning of flavor, texture and vitality of the plant and how it links from the soil to your health. Learn the building blocks to soil performance and how to optimize the nutrition and vitality in all the edibles and herbs you grow.

Friday, Feb 24 at 12:30 pm / Hood Room

Fungus Among Us: Teaming with Mycorrhizal Fungi!

Jeff Lowenfels—Columnist and best-selling author, Teaming with Microbes and Teaming with Fungi

400 million years ago fungus associated with the first terrestrial plants, feeding them in return for a bit of carbon. Without these fungi there would be no plants on earth. Amazingly, this partnership continues today in 90% of all plants, including most of what we grow in our gardens. Years of scientific study have revealed the powers of these mycorrhizal fungi and how to harness them to advance agriculture and home gardening. Learn how to use mycorrhizal fungi to improve the health of your garden!

Friday, Feb 24 at 5:45 pm / Rainier Room / Book signing to follow

A Journey to the Heart of Your Garden and Your Gut

Anne Biklé and David Montgomery—Biologist, geologist, and co-authors, The Hidden Half of Nature

There are stunning similarities between your gut and the root of a plant. Much of a plant’s body-wide defenses stem from the root microbiome, while our defenses—our immune system—heavily rely upon our gut microbiome. This puts roots and the gut at the center of well-being in both plants and people. Just as what we put into the soil feeds a plant’s roots, certain foods in our diet better nourish our gut microbiome. Discover how you can best feed both your plants and your own gut for your own built-in “health plan.”

Saturday, Feb 25 at 10:30 am / Rainier Room / Book signing to follow

Good Bugs vs Bad Bugs: Maximizing Safe, Beneficial Pest Control in Your Garden

Eric Lee-MäderPollinator Conservation Co-Director, Xerces Society and co-author, Gardening for Butterflies

Native beneficial insects that attack plant pests are an invaluable but overlooked resource. Vast numbers of such insects are at work in our gardens, but few of us know much about them, or how to use them for pest control. Learn how to integrate beneficial insects into your garden or urban farm for truly natural pest control as Mother Nature intended—without the use of chemicals. This seminar presents the science in clear plain language, fun anecdotes and amazing original photography.

Saturday, Feb 25 at 5:45 pm / Rainier Room / Book signing to follow

The Down and Dirty: Soil Building Secrets for Greener Gardens and Farms

Elizabeth Murphy – Soil scientist and author, Building Soil: A Down-to-Earth Approach

How do you grow more productive, greener, and healthier gardens and farms, with less time and money? The secret is soil—healthy, living soil, that is. Join soil scientist, author, and former small farms instructor Elizabeth Murphy in unlocking the secrets of living soil. Learn how to recognize healthy soil, feed and nourish the soil food web, and build fertility using natural strategies and techniques that come from getting down to the ground, a soil-eyed view that will change the way you grow.

Sunday, Feb 26 at 12:30 pm / Hood Room / Book signing to follow

Top 10 Homesteading Hacks for Beginners

Jessi BloomOwner, NW Bloom, author, Free-Range Chicken Gardens and co-author, Practical Permaculture Design

Are you looking to save time, money and your sanity as you embark on your homesteading journey? Do you want to grow your own food, raise animals, and live a simple life? Expert Jessi Bloom walks the walk on homesteading! She’ll help you get started, share her top 10 tips, tricks and wisdom—gained from her own experiences—for anyone looking to make their life easier in the garden, on the farm and inside the home!

Sunday, Feb 26 at 1:00 pm / Rainier Room / Book signing to follow