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.

No Watering Required: Water-Wise Garden Design!

Kirk R. Brown—Award-winning designer and president, Garden Writers Association

All the latest tips and techniques to bring your residential landscape into the Green Millennium with new methods and practices for water-wise design. The Three “R’s” (reduce, reuse, and recycle) make for sensible garden designing in combination with practicable water management. The seminar covers a breadth of current-event landscape design topics: rain gardens, rain barrels, storm water management, bio-retention, green roofs, dry stream beds, latest plant introductions—natives and species hybrids, and new design/install water features.

Wednesday, Feb 7 at 12:30 pm / Hood Room

A Plant’s-eye View of Your Gardening Practices

Anne Biklé—Biologist and co-author, The Hidden Half of Nature

Breaking discoveries about the plant microbiome—the communities of bacteria, fungi, and other microbes that swath and coat a plant’s body—continue to up-end our notions of what it means to be a gardener. Sometimes what we think is good gardening practice (soil disturbance, fertilizers, pruning, fall cleanup tasks, and even plant choices) actually isn’t. Learn how you can modify your practices so that they best support the grand inner workings of a plant’s green body with its microbiome.

Wednesday, Feb 7 at 5:45 pm / Rainier Room / Book signing to follow

Sustainable Design for Wildlife and Home

Benjamin Vogt—Designer and owner, Monarch Gardens LLC and author, A New Garden Ethic

It is time to expand our notion of “garden” to include all interconnected communities of all voiceless flora and fauna. Working in concert with nature, our home landscapes can help wildlife thrive while also reducing our carbon footprint. This seminar will explore strategies to create year-round habitat for birds, bees, and butterflies, how to minimize chemicals and labor in the garden, and delve into planting design strategies that will decrease your home’s energy needs.

Thursday, Feb 8 at 1:45 pm / Hood Room / Book signing to follow

You’re Stuck With the Soil You’ve GotNow Deal With It!

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

This seminar will address the most common problem seen in residential landscapes: poor water movement. We’ll demonstrate how mulches and amendments can either improve or worsen drainage. What happens when you use gravel in the bottom of pots? Does water move best through landscape fabric, newspaper, cardboard, or wood chips? You’ll see the evidence for yourself! Handouts containing the text of the talk will be provided.

Friday, Feb 9 at 3:15 pm / DIY Stage / Book signing to follow

The Key to Soil Mastery: Become a Soil “Chef”

Hendrikus Schraven—Healthy soil evangelist and founder, Hendrikus Group and Hendrikus Organics
Nirav Peterson—Healthy soil evangelist, founder and President, Hendrikus Organics

Creating a healthy vibrant soil is akin to the art of cooking. Using the similarities in the craft of fine cuisine you will learn how to test and improve your soils, how to sweeten, spice, blend and mix amendments to improve the nutrient density and fertility. Become a Chef in your own garden and use this unique culinary approach to create soils that are catalysts for growing nutrient abundant edibles and vibrant, healthy plants.

Friday, Feb 9 at 5:45 pm / Rainier Room

Growing a Revolution: What’s the Buzz About Soil Health?

David R. Montgomery—Award-winning Geomorphologist and author, Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life

Soil health is the new buzzword in agriculture. But what does it mean for your garden? How do you know when you have it? Recent advances in soil ecology reveal the key practices that define a path to soil health. Simple and effective in settings ranging from a window box to a large garden or farm, you’ll learn the recipe that builds soil health—as well as the beautiful plants and nutrient-rich crops it produces.

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

How to Create, Restore and Maintain a Sustainable Yard

John J. Albers—Author, The Northwest Garden Manifesto and founder, Albers Vista Garden

You can create a beautiful and sustainable yard by creating and preserving healthy soil, planting and maintaining healthy plants compatible with our Mediterranean climate, using sustainable methods and materials, protecting and enhancing habitat for wildlife and pollinators, protecting water and air quality, conserving energy and potable water. You will examine practical, hands-on, small scale ways to create a garden that enhances biodiversity and that is both functional and aesthetic, maintainable and cost-effective, and environmentally sound.

Sunday, Feb 11 at 1:00 pm / Rainier Room / Book signing to follow

Understanding Roots for Healthier, More Productive Edibles

Robert Kourik—Owner and publisher of Metamorphic Press, and author, Understanding Roots

There are amazing beneficial fungi that promote the healthiest roots of native and ornamental plants. Nearly all plants, especially trees, need this symbiotic relationship for superior growth. This fascinating seminar will explain what the relationship is, where in the roots it happens, how to promote it, how it increases yields and whether or not purchased inoculants are needed. When a plant’s roots are happy, the plant is heathier, and edible plants are more productive and nutritious!

Sunday, Feb 11 at 3:00 pm / Hood Room / Book signing to follow