The Whole Garden
As gardeners, beginner and experienced alike, we dig and plant, shape and amend, tend and support the soil beneath us. We build compost piles in our backyards, and we send our soil tests off to labs. At the end of the day, we scrub it off our fingers because it’s…well, dirty.
But how often do we pause to reflect on what soil truly is? What is the difference between dirt and soil?
Soil is a living, breathing being. Just one handful of healthy soil contains millions of living organisms. These microorganisms break down animal wastes, fallen leaves, and dead plants and animals. Soil, and the microorganisms within it, filter the water that sustains all life on Earth. Soil provides the ground under our feet and the food that nourishes us.
As gardeners, we envision the most beautiful, luscious herbs, flowers, fruits and vegetables growing in our gardens. But how do we nurture our gardens into these joyful sanctuaries?
When we change our perspective from dirt to the living entity of soil, we completely transform our gardens. And, in the process, the soil changes us.
Tending soil helps us to grow the most healthy plants that we can grow. Plants full of medicine and nutrition that help us maintain our own vibrant health and stability. In turn, when facing environmental and social crises, we are more grounded in our abilities to care for ourselves and our communities.
In this 6-week program, Deb Soule leads us through a season of The Whole Garden – beginning with establishing a new relationship with soil. You will learn how to build your soil through compost, cover crops, and supportive biodynamic practices.
You’ll learn how to grow medicinal plants from seed, how to gather the herbs, and how to make them into your own medicine.
You’ll learn the concepts and practices that Deb employs everyday in the Avena Botanical Gardens. And, we think that you’ll finish the course feeling more connected and more whole…because tending soil is really tending our own inner soul life.
What You'll Get Inside this Program
This course offers skillful guidance based on Deb’s expansive gardening wisdom. In this 6-week program, you will:
The Whole Garden also includes the following…
The Whole Garden Journal
A beautiful, printable PDF journal designed as a companion for this course.
Garden Walk with Deb
An intimate virtual tour of the gardens at Avena Botanicals.
Save 15% on Avena Products
A special offer just for The Whole Garden students!
We'll gather on the Fall equinox to celebrate our gardens!
All program participants are invited to join our online gardening community. We'll support one another as we learn and grow together!
Meet Your Teacher
Deb Soule (she/her) is an herbalist, gardener, teacher and author of The Woman’s Handbook of Healing Herbs, How to Move Like a Gardener, and The Healing Garden. Deb began organic gardening and studying the medicinal uses of herbs at age 16. Her faith in the healing qualities of plants includes a desire to make organic herbs easily accessible to women and families living in rural areas. In the fall of 1985, with her first mail order catalog and a small selection of herbal extracts and teas, Deb launched Avena Botanicals, an apothecary that now serves thousands of customers.
In addition to the core classes taught live by Deb, we’ve lined up 6 additional presenters to add even more depth to the topics!
Gaby Gonzalez is a soil scientist, an architect and a third-generation Mexican farmer, descended from a proud campesino grandfather and schooled by her father in the ways of modern industrial agriculture, an approach she found seriously flawed. The lessons she learned from both of them found a new meaning when she discovered biodynamic agriculture. It became its lifestyle and the way to attract tools for the challenges to come in life and the deepening in learning the language of nature.
Ceci Pineda is a queer gender non-conforming composter/earth steward, creative and facilitator learning how to live in more harmony with the land. Ceci’s climate resilience work is rooted in community practices that further land regeneration and reciprocally heal our communities. Most recently Ceci served as the Executive Director of BK ROT, a youth powered food waste bike-hauling and composting service in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Ceci fell in love with compost through volunteering with BK ROT and the NYC Master Composter Certificate Course. Formerly, they served as the resiliency coordinator at the Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES) and supported community driven agroecology/land regeneration work in Puerto Rico and Mexico. Through apprenticing at Soul Fire Farm, volunteering at Hattie Carthan Herban Farm and home-growing, they deepened their relationships with plant friends. They sing to inspire connection with Tlali, Land, and our whole selves.
Kwah Wa’Adabisha is a practicing astrologer, herbalist and therapist utilizing dream-work and shamanic counseling. Kwah holds degrees in psychology, philosophy, religion and is a lifetime practitioner of hatha yoga.
Kwah grew up in the Hudson River Valley of indigenous Pequot, Weckquaesgeek, Mohawk, Dutch colonists and freed enslaved Africans in New York state. Raised in the Shatamuck river (known as the Saw mill) bioregion where his ancestors lived amidst the dominant colonial society, farming traditionally.
In Kwah’s practice expect the use of vibrational methods of healing such as flower essences, color and sound therapy as well as traditional use of plant medicine, shamanic counselling and astrology.
Sonali Sangeeta Balajee
Sonali Sangeeta Balajee (she/her) is a proud mother, artist, organizer, facilitator, mindfulness/yoga instructor, and emerging health practitioner who works at the intersection of belonging, equity, and deep transformative change. She roots in her home cultures and lands of India and Sri Lanka and honors those from the Midwest (States) who also contributed to her growth and commitment to justice. Her formative education is in the arts, business, and educational reform. Her life work has focused on bringing forward ideas and strategies that speak to wholeness, specifically calling for leading with multiple truths and perspectives required for collective health. To those ends, she strives to elevate the connection between social and spiritual wellbeing, focusing on artistically embodying and animating the web of health, belonging, collective care, and liberation.
Megan Durney joined the Pfeiffer Center as an intern in 2006 and throughout the years has delved deeply into the art of Biodynamics through study and practice and has been involved in preparation-making, draft power, beekeeping, seed saving, intensive production gardening, and Biodynamic education and training. Currently, she is a part of a collaborative leadership team working alongside the Fellowship, an intergenerational community centered around the care of the elderly, integrating land and educational programs in a new cooperative endeavor, creating a mutually supportive association of work and community.
Charis Lindrooth, D.C. is founder and director of BotanicWise, a platform dedicated to authentic herbal education, where plant wisdom can be shared and where like-minded people can connect and build a community to steward land, medicinal plants, and supportive relationships with each other.
The BotanicWise Community is an online membership platform where herbalists can connect, and learn together.
Program Classes & Schedule
All classes start at 7pm Eastern Time. Deb Soule teaches the core classes on Tuesday.
Tuesday, March 22, 2022
Preparing our Inner Soul and Soil for Gardening
Designing and creating a healing garden full of healthy soil and vibrant plants includes tending the inner soul of the gardener. Gardening invites us to be awed by soil, seeds, singing birds, buzzing bees, the transformative processes occurring in compost, in soil, and within ourselves- day after day, season after season, year after year. Observing what is happening in the garden helps us to live in rhythm with the solar, lunar and seasonal cycles. Keeping a simple garden journal records the growth that is happening in the garden and within our own soul.
This first class will set the groundwork for seeing soil as sacred and getting excited for understanding living soil, compost, and the moon’s influences in the garden. The biodynamic planting calendar will be briefly introduced as a guide for planting seeds, transplanting seedlings, and digging medicinal roots. Detailed instructions for when and how to stir and spray the biodynamic soil preparation (BD 500) will be given. Various elements to consider when designing a garden will be discussed including arbors, altars, benches, walkways, gates, wind, water, deer fencing and where to build your compost pile.
Thursday, March 24, 2022
Community Get-Together with Charis Lindrooth
Let’s meet each other face-to-face (on Zoom of course!) and share gardening dreams, techniques, stumbling blocks, and anything garden-centered. One of the challenges many of us face is isolation. Let’s bring this community to life while we plan our gardens together!
Saturday, March 26, 2022 10am-1pm ET
Bonus Seminar: The Language of the Earth, Fundamentals of Soil with Gaby González
Enjoy this inspiring and introductory plunge into the depths of soil structure. Better understand living soil: teeming with healthy microbes including mycorrhizal fungi, various elements, ethers (a concept from biodynamic gardening), and how these all interact and communicate with each other, and the whole ecosystem.
For gardeners, herbalists, and anyone curious about soil, this class will give us a language that includes basic soil science; soil texture, soil composition, movement of water through different soil types, and pH and plant nutrients, along with understanding the role good quality compost and mulching play in nourishing and enlivening soil.
Tuesday, March 29, 2022
Waking Up the Garden in Spring
Depending on where you live, the energy of spring can be slow to begin, or can happen quickly and be quite overwhelming. Begin walking slowly in your garden or regularly sitting and observing where you wish to create a garden long before the soil is ready for planting. Bring your journal with you. Listen for inspiration from the voices of the wind, nearby trees and the seeds waiting for you to plant them. Offer songs and prayers for the land, the Ancestors, the seeds and the medicine you are tending.
We will talk about the long list of spring tasks and how to prioritize them based on weather and the biodynamic planting calendar: cutting back old stalks, noticing which perennials survived the winter and who didn’t, creating a seed altar, planting seeds indoors, good quality potting soil, tending indoor seedlings, seed planting prayer, and observing who reseeded outdoors in the garden.
Detailed information on how to grow the following medicinal herbs from seed or cuttings along with when and how to gather and prepare them for medicine: boneset, dandelion leaf and root, heartsease pansy, nettle leaf and seed, skullcap (American), sweet cicely
Thursday, March 31, 2022
Spirit of Soil and Compost – A Biodynamic Perspective with Megan Durney
We aim to raise life for human and animal nutrition on our farms, the foundation being our soil. Soil is a living, soulful organ of our Earth. Together we will explore the life and potential that soil, compost, and plants have in common. How do we enhance and renew our soils in order to give back what has been taken by food production? How can we carry and experience imaginations of the spirit of the soil, which can guide our practices towards stewardship? In striving to understand soil as a living, soulful organ our practices can help the soil gain the capacity for healing and resiliency.
Tuesday, April 5, 2022
Weeding, Watering, Gathering and Drying Herbs
Summer’s expansive nature can be both energizing and exhausting. Self-care for gardeners is essential so we can truly enjoy the beauty we are tending-taking time to create sun teas and flower essences, swim, dance in the full moon and dry herbs for winter’s medicine. Weeding and watering are on the summer gardener’s to do list. We will discuss how to make nettle and comfrey fermented teas, gathering herbs, tending the drying room, knowing when herbs are dried, record keeping, and making and using flower essences.
Detailed information on how to grow the following medicinal herbs from seed or cuttings along with when and how to gather and prepare them for medicine: Rosa rugosa, blue vervain, chamomile, calendula, thyme, yarrow, and nasturtiums (in window boxes)
Thursday, April 7. 2022
Kinship across Compost with Ceci Pineda
Composting is a powerful ancestral practice through which we can cultivate relationships across fungi, plant, animal kin and one another. Join Ceci as they share more about the wonders of compost and how we can build thriving composting systems across urban and rural settings. This workshop will also explore how compost can be a medium to nurture youth power, reconnection to Black and Indigenous composting lineages, and an active practice of building reciprocity.
Tuesday, April 12, 2022
Digging Roots and Putting the Garden to Bed
As we enter the waning time of the year, there are many autumn garden tasks that need to be done before the frosts come and the ground freezes. One of my favorite fall tasks is the gathering of fall green nettle leaves and preparing a nourishing soup stock for freezing or canning for winter soups. Instructions for how to can soup stock alongside digging roots, preparing the compost pile for winter, and composting and mulching garden beds will be discussed. Covering any bare soil with mulch is important before winter arrives.
Detailed information on how to grow the following medicinal herbs from seed along with when and how to gather and prepare them for medicine: Baikal skullcap root, Echinacea root, Elecampane root, Teasel root, Valerian root
Thursday, April 14, 2022
The Wisdom of the Compost Pile with Deb Soule and Sonali Sangeeta Balajee
The medicine of our time is learning from the spiritual art of composting, both in our gardens and within our social and political systems. Join Sonali from Our Bodhi Project and Deb in a creative conversation, as they explore the resonances in these areas as vital wisdom for our time. This creative conversation will touch on the warmth needed for the gardener’s compost pile and the ongoing, conscious composting needed in human-led organizations and communities.
Tuesday, April 19, 2022
Trees offer many gifts when planted in or along the edges of gardens or fields. Information on choosing the right placement for trees, preparing the soil, transplanting and watering them, protecting them from deer, and wood chip mulch will be discussed along with details of how to tend the following medicinal trees and when and how to gather and prepare them for medicine: Elder, hawthorn, ginkgo, linden, white oak, and white pine
Thursday, April 21, 2022
Measurements of the Moon with Kwah Wa’Adabisha
The interconnectedness of the sky above and the earth below form a matrix of correspondences. The movements of the stars and planets influence the archetypal underpinnings of everyday life. The lunar and solar cycles guide the rhythm of the seasons and gardening.
This class explores our own lives as a garden and how to ride the circular attunements of self and constellation.
Astrology is a pathway to wisdom that helps us understand our place in the world and cosmos. It is a 6,000-year-old science that is the progenitor of other disciplines that we accept in the modern world as explaining the nature of life. Astrology is a symbolic tool manufactured to understand the essential self and the purpose of the universe and our place in it. Yet, astrology most naturally, is the science of cycles and the art of how to best live with the constantly changing patterns of life. When one is able to discern the nature of cycles and to make choices in harmony with the rhythms of life, one is able to live successfully, and peacefully ride the transitions that life brings.
Tuesday, April 26, 2022
Weaving the Inner and Outer Life with Deb Soule and Kwah Wa’Adabisha
Kwah (guest teacher on April 21) and Deb join together in a presentation that weaves an understanding of the symbolism and inner meaning of the 12 zodiacal constellations, a western astrological understanding of the monthly movement of the moon through these constellations, and ways we can pay attention to the moon’s daily messages. We will speak to the four elements-Earth, Air, Water, Fire; their energetic association with the inner soul life and healing, and the guidance they offer the outer activities of the gardener.
Thursday, April 28, 2022
Final Q&A and Community Give-Away
This final class will provide an overview of the core material and bring the pieces together. There will be plenty of time for discussion and Q&A.
The Whole Garden
From Healthy Soil to Healing Plants with Deb Soule
Are you ready to nourish your body and soul today?
6-week online program with live classes
All classes are recorded
Lifetime availability to recordings
Access to a dynamic student community
Bonus: Printable Garden Journal
100% Worth It!
We are so committed to our programs we will happily refund your full tuition price within 30 days of the start of the program if you are unhappy with it.
Need Help or Have Questions?
Who Is This Program Perfect For?
The Whole Garden is a 6-week in-depth program that offers skillful guidance in tending soil, making compost and compost teas, biodynamic preparations, growing herbs from seed, knowing the best time to gather each herb, gathering and preparing medicines with gratitude, and building your confidence in calling upon medicinal herbs for daily and seasonal well-being, and for common acute health conditions.
This course will take place within BotanicWise’s virtual Mighty Network Community.
The BotanicWise virtual community is compatible with all devices so you can conveniently access all class materials at home or on the go. You can download the Mighty Networks App directly from the App Store or Google Play Store by searching for "Mighty Networks." The iOS app is compatible for both iPhone and iPad, and the Android app is designed to work perfectly on your favorite Android device. Otherwise, you can use Text Me the App, the prompt at the bottom of your Personal Settings page of your Mighty Network account.
If you wish to attend classes live, core classes taught by Deb Soule are held on 6 consecutive Tuesdays, beginning March 22, 2022, at 7 PM ET. Each core class is approximately 90 minutes and includes a live Q&A. Guest speakers will be teaching on Thursdays at 7 PM ET for 60 minutes. If you cannot attend classes live, recordings will be available indefinitely.
The course is ideal for folks with access to some form of garden. Container planting will be covered but the curriculum is optimized for small-scale gardeners.
While Deb’s focus will be on plants that grow in Zones 5 through 7, our guest presenters will offer guidance from around the world. (Find your zone here)
No, this program contains new content. Returning students will take a deeper dive into gardening and growing medicinal plants.
No, it is not necessary to be a student of The Healing Garden.
Tuition and Guarantee
Full tuition for this in-depth course is $499.
There is no expiration date for access to course materials.
No, there is no need to renew membership. Your tuition includes ongoing access to course materials.
Yes! We offer a 100% “Worth It” guarantee. We are so committed to our programs we would happily refund you your full tuition price if requested before the due date of April 18, 2022.
Yes, we have a limited amount of funds available. Please consider your needs carefully before filling out our scholarship application.
About the IN LIVING COLOR BIPOC Caucus and Connection Space
Over the years, BotanicWise has provided herbalists a vibrant container to connect, learn, and grow as a community. While the work being done within in Western Herbalism is vital, there has simultaneously been a lack of diversity of the communities represented within the greater culture.
In recent years, there has been a desire within the herbal community to broaden the reach of the greater network in an effort to create a more diverse and healthy learning environment for all seeking to learn about herbalism. The BIPOC space is a way to welcome BIPOC educators and participants into the BotanicWise community, by providing a safe entry point and intentional container throughout the course.
The BIPOC space is a place for all folks of color, which definitely includes and celebrates all of our community, whether you're white passing or not. With that said, it’s important for us to be aware of our privileges while in space together, and to keep in mind to take space and make space when appropriate.
The In Living Color space is a container for BIPOC course participants only. We ask that this boundary be respected by non-BIPOC students.
If you have any questions regarding the In Living Color BIPOC space please reach out using the form below the FAQ.
- Why People of Color Need Spaces Without White People, by Kelsey Blackwell, on the importance of these spaces when we gather.
- Racial Microaggressions Are Real. Here’s How to Navigate Them, by Ruth Terry, on microaggression culture.
- Why BIPOC Spaces are Vital to Healing, by Brittany Sharoff
- Woke Without The Work, an online workshop for Non-BIPOC Herbalists, who are seeking to move beyond optical support of our communities, towards active, tangible, and embodied practices of equity.
Last Little Details
Yes! Classes include live Q&A sessions, plus you may reach out with questions at any time via the BotanicWise community chat feature.
BotanicWise does not yet provide certificates or continuing education credits.
Please reach out to the BotanicWise Team with any questions using contact form below!