Community Event

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Introduction to Sustainable Gardening Series – Spring 2019

Saturday | March 09, 2019 | 10:00 am — Saturday | March 23, 2019 | 12:00 pm

Sponsored by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

The Introduction to Sustainable Gardening series is a three-part workshop series designed to help you transform your backyard into a thriving, sustainable garden. This course will teach you everything you need to know to plant flourishing perennial gardens that save water and attract pollinators and beneficial insects.

San Francisco is a beautiful and unique city, with mild temperatures year-round and dry, foggy summers. Learn what plants are adapted to our coastal climate and grow without the need for toxic pesticides or large amounts of water. This course will focus on native and drought-tolerant ornamental gardens, but will cover broad topics that can also apply to vegetable gardening.

The full series is $30, but you will get $10 gift cards to the Urban Farmer Store or Cole Hardware at each workshop (for a total of $30 in gift cards if you attend all three workshops).

Part I: Sustainable Garden Design

March 9th, 10am to 12pm

Instructor: Ellyn Shea

This workshop will teach you how to design a beautiful, functional, and thriving home garden space. San Francisco urban gardens come with all sorts of unique challenges (fog, wind, steep hillsides) and it can be difficult to know where to start. Our expert guest instructors will take you step by step through designing your dream garden.

First, you will learn how to evaluate the most important aspects of your garden such as the soil, sun, shade, and wind. This will include an introduction to soil types that you might have, the basics of compost, and how to design your space to maximize water efficiency. Finally, you’ll go over to an area of our garden that you will be helping to redesign and learn about what plants would do well there and why.

You’ll leave this workshop with lots of concrete ideas to help plan, design, and start your dream sustainable garden.

Part II: Water-Wise Gardening

March 16th, 10am to 12pm

Instructor: Ellyn Shea

This workshop will take a more detailed look at the many beautiful plants that grow well in San Francisco and how you can care for them without using large amounts of water. Even with San Francisco’s dry and foggy summers, there is an amazing palate of climate appropriate plants that will thrive here with little or no summer water so that you can protect our water resources and save on your water bill.

The best way to deliver water to your plants in our summer-dry climate is through drip irrigation. This class will teach you more about installing your own drip irrigation system, and give you the opportunity for some hands on irrigation practice.

You’ll leave with an understanding of what plants will do well in your garden and techniques you can use to grow them using as little water as possible.

Part III: Organic Pest Control

March 23rd, 10am to 12pm

Instructor: Ellyn Shea

This workshop will cover common pests, diseases, and weeds in San Francisco and how you can get rid of them without harming the ecosystem with toxic pesticides and herbicides. A non-toxic, organic garden is healthier for our children, our soil, and our communities. For 29 years, Garden for the Environment has maintained a beautiful and flourishing space without ever using chemical fertilizers and harmful pesticides.

In this workshop, our expert instructor will teach you how your garden can promote biodiversity, attract beneficial insects, and keep pests at bay naturally. You will learn a step-by-step process known in the gardening world as IPM (integrated pest management), which will give you the tools to approach any pest problem, in any garden, at any time. We will also cover our favorite non-toxic natural pest care remedies that you can make from things found in your kitchen cupboards. Then, we’ll work on a real pest problem at GFE and check on the new plants you planted the week before.

You’ll leave this workshop feeling confident about caring for your new garden using sustainable and non-toxic methods and techniques.


What are my transportation/parking options?

Although there is street parking available, it can be challenging on weekends. Public transportation is frequent and nearby, so it’s a great option! The 6, 36, 43, and 44, bus lines and the N Judah all run within a few blocks of the garden. Forest Hill Station is also nearby and you can take the 43 or 44 directly from there to the garden.

What should I bring to the workshop?

Classes are held outside in our teaching garden. We recommend bringing a hat and sunscreen, comfortable closed toed shoes, a full water bottle, and lots of layers. You may also want to bring a notebook to take notes on what you are learning and you are welcome to bring food and join us for a picnic lunch in the garden at noon.

Do you ever cancel workshops?

We try our best not to cancel, but if the weather forecast suggests it is very likely to be pouring rain, we will cancel the workshop and notify attendees by 5pm the day before. We do hold classes in drizzling weather, however, so come prepared with rain gear. We are also occasionally forced to cancel workshops due to other unforeseen circumstances. In any case, we will happily register you for another workshop or refund your workshop fee.

Happy gardening!

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Cost: $30
Please contact organizer for wheelchair accessibility information.

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