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Building Your Soil: Sheet Mulching and Soil Ecology

  • Apr 6, 2014 · 1:00 PM
  • Elizabeth's Backyard

Imagine gardening without digging—especially here in Colorado, where rocks greatly outnumber the soil. It turns out that digging creates its own problems, encouraging weeds to grow rather than the seeds you’ve planted. Instead, build a lasagna garden—a method of layering soil (unfortunately, it isn’t a method of growing lasagna).

With this workshop, you’ll learn how to build your garden. It starts on an undisturbed piece of land (aka: on top of your grass!) You then can layer in composting materials, including all sorts of things you have on hand, such as fallen leaves, other composting material, and cardboard. With this method, you reduce waste and also reduce the amount of watering required, because composted soil retains water well—perfect for Colorado’s dry climate.

Join us to learn the basics of soil ecology and techniques you can use to create topsoil in 3 months—greatly speeding the process of creating topsoil that takes nature thousands of years. This technique is part of the practice of permaculture, which is a sustainable method of agriculture. Once you’ve built great soil you can grow your dream garden. In this workshop you’ll gain hands-on experience in sheet-mulching (the more technical name of lasagna gardening) and can take that experience home with you to create your own topsoil.

If possible, please bring a shovel or a stiff-tined rake, and a pair of garden gloves. All other materials and supplies will be provided.

Born and raised in Wisconsin, Instructor Tara Rae currently garden-farms on the Front Range of Colorado. Tara Rae holds an Advanced Permaculture Design Certificate and Permaculture Teacher’s Certificate. An avid composter, she has been vermi-composting for over a decade, starting dozens of folks with worm farms every year. She teaches at her home as well as around the state of Colorado offering various Permaculture and urban farming classes at schools and festivals. She has managed several greenhouses, USDA-organic, non-certified organic, and permaculture farms with experience in 3 climate zones – cool and wet; cool and dry; and warm and wet. Over the last 15 years, Tara Rae has worked in scientific laboratories for universities, taught water quality monitoring classes, and authored a nature center field guidebook. She holds a Master’s Degree in Freshwater Ecology, and works as an environmental scientist/ecologist for HDR EOC. Her passion for sustainable living has led her to volunteer for the Sustain Arvada Advisory Board to City Council, making recommendations for sustainable community development and vitality.

This workshop is offered by the Living Arts School, a folk school in Boulder County.

No experience necessary. All materials and supplies provided. For participants of all ages (children 10 and under are free), minimum of 5 participants, maximum of 20. Pre-registration is required. Participants at all LAS workshops are required to sign a liability waiver and an image release as a part of our "Peace and No Worries" policy. Thank you for your understanding.

Cost: $22

Please Note: We thank you for your RSVP on Meetup, however we will not be able to save your spot in this workshop unless you complete your registration by visiting: or calling[masked]-4406. Thank you for your understanding!

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