Category Archive Classes + Events


An Evening w/ Toby Hemenway: Turn Your Yard into a Permaculture Paradise

An Evening with Toby Hemenway –Turn Your Yard into a Permaculture Paradise

Tuesday, February 4  7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Brought to you by Foothill College/CLCA Horticulture Students Club and Common Ground Garden Supply and Education Center

Bring $3 for parking  Click here for other transportation options and directions

5:30 pm  to 6:30 pm: A Pre-Event  Book Signing outside the theater
6:45 pm: Theater doors open
7:00 pm: Evening lecture begins

Toby Hemenway is the author of Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, which was awarded the Nautilus Gold Medal in 2011, was named by the Washington Post as one of the ten best gardening books of 2010, and for the last eight years has been the best-selling permaculture book in the world. Toby has been Scholar-in-Residence at Pacific University, an adjunct professor at Portland State University, and has taught over sixty 72-hour permaculture design courses. He has presented lectures and workshops at major sustainability conferences such as Bioneers, SolFest, and EcoFarm, and at Duke University, Tufts University, University of Minnesota, University of Delaware and many other educational venues. His writing has appeared in magazines such as Natural Home, Whole Earth Review, and American Gardener. He has contributed book chapters for WorldWatch Institute and to several publications on ecological design. He moved to Portland, Oregon in 2004, and spent six years developing urban sustainability resources there. Toby and his wife now live in Sebastopol, California.


Fruit Tree Pruning

Saturday, January 25, 2014 from 10:30 AM to 2:00 PM, $42

Learn how to maximize tree health and fruit production and to identify dead wood. Espalier care also discussed. Meet at Common Ground and then proceed to a local orchard, rain or shine. YOU BRING: pruning shears, bag lunch and a notebook.

Taught by Kevin Raftery, a Certified Arborist with a degree in horticulture. He teaches at Foothill College and has been a long-time friend of Common Ground.


Hidden Talents of Backyard Edibles

Saturday, January 18th   2:00  to 4:00  $31

The vivacious tomato has long been the belle of the backyard ball, but it’s time you met some bashful but equally worthy garden edibles. Some of these more humble plants are remarkable performers when it comes to producing high yields in small spaces, and others are particularly satisfying when incorporated into your garden-based diet. We will study plants with impressive nutrient portfolios, and plants that will keep on giving throughout the seasons. We will consider specific varieties that will provide you with secondary harvests beyond their main crop, and plants with multi-tasking skills that will fill multiple roles in your garden. Taught by Eric Buteyn, Manager of the Ecology Action Headquarters Farm in Willits, CA.



Saturday, January 18th   10:30 to 12:30  $31

Your backyard is a living ecosystem. Learning to see your garden as an interdependent web of life will help you harvest more abundantly while supporting the well-being of all of your garden visitors. You will see how the principles of double-digging, carbon and calorie farming, composting, intensive plant spacing, companion planting, and using open-pollinated seeds combine to create abundance. Weather permitting, the class will tour the Common Ground Garden  and observe the principles and techniques of GB in action. If it rains an alternative tour date will be offered. Taught by Eric Buteyn, Manager of the Ecology Action Headquarters Farm in Willits, CA.


Grow Biointensive Special 9 Class Package

Saturday, January 18th  10:30  – Saturday, March 22  at 4:00, $218.00

Learn all about the GROW BIOINTENSIVE methods by taking all 9 classes & save! Biointensive classes through this package and pay only $218.00, a savings of $80.00 over the individual class price. The package includes

  • Saturday, January 18 am     Introduction to GROW BIOINTENSIVE
  • Saturday, January 18 pm     Hidden Talents of Backyard Edibles
  • Saturday, February 8     Early Bird Gets the Cantaloupe: Garden Planning Workshop
  • Saturday, February 22am   From the Ground Up: Backyard Soil Care
  • Saturday, February 22 pm   A Good Beginning: Growing from Seed
  • Saturday, March 8 am         Organic Matter: Mother Nature’s Secret Ingredient
  • Saturday, March 8 pm        One Man’s Trash Will Grow My Food: Compost for the Home Gardener
  • Saturday, March 22 am   It Takes a Village to Raise a Radish: Companion Planting & Rotation
  • Saturday, March 22 pm      A Generous Inheritance: Growing to Seed

This Series of classes will be held at the Common Ground Garden at the Palo Alto Christen Reform Church

687 Arasterdero Rd,  Palo Alto 94306


Edible Garden Series: From Design to Harvest 2014

5 Saturdays: February 1, March  1, April 5, May 3, &  June 7, 2014  10:00–3:00   $325

Learn garden design and planning, composting, soil testing and preparation, seed propagation and transplanting, watering and how to nurture healthy edible crops. You can create a garden oasis of beautiful edibles in the front, side or back of the home. Master harvesting techniques and learn what compost crops to plant after harvest. Permaculture design and GROW BIOINTENSIVE methods harmonize together in this special series. Homeowners and professional landscape designers will gain valuable knowledge to create gardens of nutritious and delicious organic food in your homes and communities. Make lasting friendships! Learn about proper tools, supplies, books and resources throughout the course. Bring your copy of How to Grow More Vegetables to all classes. One-hour lunch break; bring your own lunch. Class size is limited. Students will receive a certificate upon completion. Register early for this Popular Series

5 Saturdays: February 1, March  1, April 5, May 3, &  June 7, 2014

Taught by Drew Harwell who is an edible-garden and Permaculture consultant, the manager of Jesse Cool’s Seeds of Change Garden and the former Common Ground Garden Manager


Soil FoodWeb

Saturday, January 11th  10:30 to 12:30 pm, $31

Healthy garden soil is alive with life. There is a fascinating symbiotic relationship that goes on between soil life and plants. Learn about who these microscopic organisms are and why they are important to have in the soil and how they support the health of plants. Learn simple ways to encourage the beneficial organisms in your garden soil. There is a delicate and resilient balance in nature that we can support through our gardening practices. Taught by Theresa Lyngso who is the President of Lyngso Garden Materials, Inc. and a student of the web of life.


Hands-on Farming Instruction

Sunday, June 1, 2014
10:30 – 1:00 $39

Learn about veggie gardening, including tending soil, making hot compost, caring for plants and trees, raising chickens and the best tools for getting the jobs done. Class taught at Los Altos Hills farm by a local farming enthusiast who set out to grow half the food she and her husband eat. Several years into the effort , and she’s well past that goal! Recommended for gardeners of all levels. Taught by Pam Scott(and her fellow farmers), who is a Farm Correspondent for Edible Magazine and creative consultant to start-up companies and non-profits around the country. She is a long-time fan of Common Ground. Offsite Class directions given when registered.