LEARN AT THE GARDENS



We offer various sustainable gardening courses at M R Gardens—which has established no-till vegetable beds, culinary and medicinal herbs, native and beneficial flowers, holistically maintained orchards and a passive solar greenhouse. (For tours and short classes, see our Stay at the Gardens page.)

These courses are hands-on learning experiences. Owner Megan Riley, who has been helping clients create gardens at their homes since 2012,  believes participation is the key to remembering what is taught, as we embody the knowledge.


We have two main programs – Grow and Emergence. We are currently offering a Greenhouse Operator track. Scroll down to learn more about our program for professional gardeners.

Grow

Participate in the growing of your own food!
Learn new growing methods!
Take home a basket of veggies, fruit, herbs and/or flowers each week!



The main focus of Grow is the “Microbe Rich” method of growing plants, particularly healthy vegetables, with a focus on building the soil to make life above ground simpler and stronger. In addition, we'll touch on:

-       The “forest garden,” which is an orchard where fruit trees and shrubs are strategically placed and layered among herbaceous plants and ground covers so that they grow in symbiosis;
-       Beneficial flowers, which help create a healthy ecosystem so that predators keep garden pests in check;
-       Native plants, which are key elements of the food web, providing for the abundance of life;
-       Naturalized landscaping, which entails learning which “volunteers” to keep and which to remove;
-       Invasive vegetation, which we keep at bay to encourage diversity in the local woods;
-       Seed starting in a passive solar greenhouse, which is climate controlled by design, with no additional heat or cooling;
-       Medicinal herbs, which inspire a connection between the grower and the plants’ essence. 

At the end of each session, we pick the produce that is in season and split the bounty among the group.

We cover topics in bite sizes, and often circle around again, reviewing similar subjects in other classes to refresh our memories. In short, we're learning the basics of how to grow our own food in an ecologically sound way. Plus, we're establishing a routine of gardening, and creating an environment for you to connect.

In the past, we've hosted a group program, which we may offer again in the future. Currently, we are primarily training individuals one-on-one. If it sounds like something you'd like to participate in, call Megan at 828.333.4151 (voicemail only) to express interest. We can set up an appointment to talk together in the gardens. The fee to tour the farm is $25, which includes an interview about your goals and needs.



Emergence

This program is designed for students who hope to make income from a new way of horticulture. 

We are currently offering a sustainable greenhouse operator training for participants who anticipate residing in the Asheville area for the long-term. Read more at http://mretcllc-mrgardens.blogspot.com/2019/10/training-opportunity-passive-solar.html

We also offer training for professional gardeners who would like to learn more about native and edible landscaping. Often homeowners really want to have an edible and native landscape, and are even open to learning more about how to tend it, but they need to prioritize other areas of their lives – whether they are running after their kids or developing creative projects for the community or just trying to make ends meet. 

To fill this need, M R Gardens is training gardeners in our unique style of installing and maintaining landscapes so that they can serve clients with edible and native gardens. Sustainable gardening takes time to learn—even for those who have an extensive gardening background. So we hope to speed that process along.

Beyond just assisting homeowners, Emergence students might also coordinate group gardens on other sites such as:
  • businesses that want to improve the lives of their employees; or 
  • housing associations offering garden amenities; or 
  • on land of private homeowners who want to add gardens to their neighborhood.
The name of the program says a lot — “Emergence” (with the M R G standing for M R Gardens) reminds us of the seedling pushing out of the soil after two days, two weeks, two years or even two decades of waiting. Similarly, it is time for the grower inside of you to emerge.

Perhaps not coincidentally, Emergence is also just one letter off from “Emergency” – and while M R Gardens typically motivates through inspiration rather than fatalism, it’s important to at least mention the significant moment we are now in. Biodiversity and perhaps even humanity’s existence is dependent on our capacity to learn how to sustain ourselves in a way that is healthy to everyone and everything around us.

Yet “Emergence” creates a soft invitation to this new way of living. It’s the sweet calm on a lightly foggy morning, when birds are just beginning their day, and the sun is peeking from above the eastern mountains, assuring that the clouds will indeed soon lift.


Call Megan at 828.333.4151 to express your interest in Emergence, and set up an appointment to meet up in the Gardens.