Friday, August 26, 2016

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a consultation?
A consultation is just a fancy name for me coming to your house to help you solve your gardening problems and answer your gardening questions, right there in person.  I can help you with lawn problems, teach you how to water effectively, help pick out the perfect site for your new vegetable garden, or lay out grazing pastures for your cows.  Want to get into water gardening?  I can help with that, too!  And probably have some plants you can have...

How long does it take?
That depends on what kind of advice or help you want.  Most consults last an hour, though many have lasted longer.  One hour is usually enough to cover most garden problems/plans.

The longest I've done was four hours - the new owner of fifteen acres wanted help laying out an orchard, vegetable garden, horse stalls, riding arena, hay fields, etc., and wanted to learn about rotational grazing.  The shortest was fifteen minutes (I do charge for the entire first hour, but that customer was happy with the quick answers to his problems and, despite my insistence on finding anything else I could help him with, handed me a check and waved me away, saying, "See you tomorrow at The Natural Gardener when I come get that compost!")

What subjects do you have experience with?
My gardening experiences are quite varied.  I have extensive experience with vegetable gardening and raising livestock (cattle, horses, chickens, pigs, goats...).  I've also grown many natives and other ornamentals.  I currently have a 700 gallon koi pond and a 300 gallon goldfish pond, the latest incarnations of my decades of pondering.  I don't currently have a lawn, but have years of experience diagnosing lawn problems.  I'm proficient with fruit trees and can help you with your orchard whether you're a seasoned hand or a new grower.

I've worked at The Natural Gardener for eight years now, quite a few of those at the Info Desk, diagnosing garden problems and teaching new gardeners and old how to care for their yards and gardens.  I have learned as much from our customers as I've taught them.  I LOVE my job!

What qualifies you to do this?
I grew up on a 600 acre cattle ranch and hay farm, in a family who grew all our own food.  In addition to an almost one-acre vegetable garden and large family orchard, we raised and butchered our own beef, chicken, and pork, as well as harvested venison and catfish.  I even helped my father keep bees.

I've continued that "family tradition" throughout my life, all 47 years of it, up until today.  I've branched out in my gardening efforts to try just about all kinds - natives, annuals, tropicals, bulbs, edible landscaping.  My favorite is still edible gardening (veggies, herbs, and fruit), but a close second is water gardening.  I even have planted aquariums!  And bees.  I love my bees.

Then I was hired at The Natural Gardener where I still am today, eight years later.  I do many things at The Natural Gardener: besides being a horticulturist at the Info Desk, I'm The Natural Gardener's Free Class Series Host and Teacher, Safety Trainer, and am even a member of the Maintenance Crew (I. Am. The Toilet Whisperer.).  I love my job and can't imagine myself ever doing anything else.

Where can I see you in person?
Why, at The Natural Gardener, of course!  I work weekends year 'round.  My schedule sometimes varies during the week, but almost every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I'm there.  I also teach regular gardening classes every Tuesday in the Revival Tent, though sometimes my fellow Free Class Series Educator Neil Schmidt steps in.  You'll like him as much or more than me.
First Tuesday     : Veggie Gardening 101
Second Tuesday: Seed Starting
Third & Fourth Tuesdays: Varies - Organic Weed Control, Small Batch Canning, Seed Saving, and more.  Sometimes we'll have a guest speaker on these Tuesdays as well.

And here's a little video clip of me condensing my entire one-hour Seed Starting class into two minutes.