Austin Organic Gardeners meet the second Monday of each month (except December) at the Zilker Botanical Garden and visitors are welcome. In addition to an educational presentation, there is a question-and-answer session and plenty of informative conversation. Members often bring seeds or plants to share.
Meeting Times: Due to the current situation, AOG is meeting virtually. Please check individual meetings listed below for specifics.
Join us online via Zoom as we continue to celebrate 75 years of resiliency. Trisha Sutton from Urban American Farmer will be our featured speaker. Trisha will share her personal story and will do a demo on self-watering beds. Learn soil magic because organic farming is the future!
Note that we'll defer questions until the latter part of the presentation.
We're continuing to meet virtually via Zoom - here is the connection information:
Meeting ID: 811 5117 5811
For audio phone connections:
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
Check back for information on our August program
2020 Meeting History
Join us for our next meeting on the evening of June 8th as we continue to celebrate our club's 75th anniversary. Jeff Ferris, host of Gardening Naturally on KLBJ AM, will be our speaker and will discuss how to reduce our labor during our Central Texas summers while continuing to improve the soil and create a harvest. For the last few years, June has been our ice cream social meeting. This year, you'll have to bring your own ice cream but if you do, you can show your flavors on zoom!
Note that we'll defer questions until the latter part of the presentation.
Music Therapist, Andrea Cortez, is going to perform "The Secret Song of Plants". Andrea uses the power of music to create positive change in the listener. Her work focuses on how rhythm and harmony can help improve the health of our mind, body and spirit. She is also a sound artist, composer and sound meditation teacher. She has performed music with both animals and plants demonstrating the presence of music as a fundamental structure in the entire natural world. She founded Mind Body Music Center located in Austin, TX where she conducts live online events and now offers an online membership of her healing music work. Using headphones may provide a better experience though they're not required.
Due to the closure of the garden center, our April meeting will be on-line and include a photo show of our gardens.
David Barrow from Springdale Farm - David manages operations of Springdale Farm in East Austin. Though not a farmer by background, David is learning fast from the experienced staff and the close community of Austin's urban farmers. David will share his experiences with the farm, what he's planting for spring, and what's involved in providing produce for Eden East, a restaurant owned by his partner Sonya Cote and operated on the farm. His talk will include:
Nutritionist and agriculturalist Kara Kroeger explores how regenerative agricultural practices that improve soil health have a positive impact on human health.
Kara will discuss the five soil health principles and how healthier soils can prevent many common illnesses in humans through fostering greater nutrient density in our foods and improving the health of the human gastrointestinal microbiome.
Kara Kroeger's professional mission is to create awareness of human, animal, and ecosystem health through educating consumers about the use of our natural resources and how our choices impact our food system and the environment. She is a Sustainable Agriculture Specialist with the National Center for Appropriate Technology in San Antonio, Texas. Kara earned a bachelor’s in general agriculture at Texas State University in 2018. With a background in grass-fed beef production, she is knowledgeable in the use of regenerative management tools, such as the five soil health principles, to improve pasture health, productivity, and nutrient density. Her work includes developing and managing the NCAT Soil for Water initiative, which aims to create a critical mass of landowners who are applying regenerative agricultural practices. Additionally, Kara became a Certified Herbalist at the Rocky Mountain Center of Botanical Studies in 1999, a Certified Nutritionist at the American Health Science University in 2003, and started training as a chef in 2009 with renowned chef Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due. She has owned Foundation Culinary, a nutritional consulting/private chef business since 2009.
Phillip Balke, a founding organizer and current president of the Central Texas Mycological Society. will discuss Gardening with Fungi covering the best techniques for outdoor mushroom cultivation.
Phillip has been a resident of the North Central Texas Plains bio-region since 1989. Since early on, he has loved being outside enjoying the abundance of nature. He moved to San Marcos where he earned a degree in psychology with a minor in horticulture from Texas State University. He is currently working on masters in the interdisciplinary field of sustainability, focusing on regenerative agriculture, environmental ethics, and the relationship between people’s knowledge of the natural world, outdoor activity, and psychological well-being.
2019 Meeting History
Jeff Ferris, host of Gardening Naturally on KLBJ AM will discuss, The Mechanics of Organics: How it works and why it's the best option.
The discussion will include a look at what happens when you use organic techniques and why it leads to long-term benefits for your garden, landscape, and the planet.
|October 14th||Linda Wall will discuss ways to extend the growing season including row covers, shade cloth, cold frames, cattle panel
greenhouses, and passive and active heating and cooling methods.
Linda lives and grows much of her own food on a little farm west of Austin that's been in her family for over a hundred years. Growing up, her family headed by schoolteacher parents, grew almost all of the family's food, so Linda has first-hand experience raising and preserving everything from fruits and veggies to chickens and cattle, including a milk cow. She also worked as a horticulturist and class teacher at The Natural Gardener for over a decade. You can find her at TheRedneckHippie.com or AustinGardenCnsultants.com.
|September 9th||Fall gardening panel with representatives from four Austin non-profits growing food for our community:
We'll learn about their organizations, how they're using their harvests, what they're doing in their gardens for fall, and volunteer opportunities.
|August 12th||A 3-part program with a presentation on the Austin Public Library's Seed Library by Jace Furches, a discussion on saving
seeds by horticulturist Linda Wall from The Natural Gardener, and a seed swap.
If you want to contribute to the swap, bring any extra organically grown seeds you have in labeled, paper envelopes (coin envelopes from office supply stores work well). Label information should include the plant variety and the harvest date. Optionally but helpful information includes your name, email address, and approximate seed count.
|July 8th||Please join the Austin Organic Gardeners' club for our July meeting on Monday, July 8th with our
popular photo show. Club members will have 5 minutes to show pictures and describe what's going on in their gardens..
|June 10th||We'll enjoy some ice cream and divide into discussion groups based on areas of Austin.
|May 13th||Wizzy Brown,
Program Specialist – IPM – Travis County, will discuss managing insects in the garden.
|April 8th||Tim Miller of Millberg Farm will discuss heirloom alliums.
Tim has operated his certified organic, dry land farm near Kyle Texas since 1989 and grows only heirloom crops.
|March 11th||Hands-on pear tree grafting with Edward Self. Edward will guide us through the process of grafting
a pear scion (cutting) onto root stock. Root stock, scion, and tape will be provided while supplies last.
|February 11th||Nick Ulrich, the propagator from Barton Springs Nursery (BSN), will discuss ground covers and their role in soil conservation,
soil building, erosion control, the suppression of weeds, and the creation of habitat. Nick will feature several ground covers grown at BSN
that are off the beaten track. Nick will also discuss some plants that aren't generally billed as ground covers but can be used to good
effect as ground covers.
|January 14th||Joseph 'Pete' Van Dyck of Van Dyck Earthworks & Design will discuss, "Drought Proof Texas".
Pete will discuss the history and patterns of flooding and drought in central Texas and the link between photosynthesis and soil fertility with
the land's ability to hold moisture. Pete's talk will also include strategies for harvesting water in the landscape
starting from the hilltop all the way down to bottom lands, including:
2018 Meeting History
|November 12th||Coyote Creek Farms, local producer of chicken feed, will join us to discuss raising chickens and chicken feed.
|October 8th||Edward Self will lead a hands-on demonstration on fruit tree grafting.
Edward will have a limited supply of root stock available for sale. All
you need to bring is a knife suitable for grafting. Edward recommends
using a readily available, inexpensive utility or excel knife with a
locking or fixed blade. He suggests the cheaper, thinner blades and not
anything labeled heavy duty.
This should be an informative meeting whether you participate or just observe.
George Altgelt, founder and president of Geo Growers, will discuss composting.
We’ll discuss the club’s role in maintaining the organic vegetable garden at the Zilker Botanical Garden and how we can coordinate the effort.
We’ll also discuss how we can learn from each other. We’ll have signup sheets for being a mentor and needing a mentor. This can involve whatever level of commitment you can contribute from a phone call to visiting someone’s garden.
AOG is celebrating its 73rd year - join us with club old-timers discussing what our club and organics in general were like back in the day. We want to appreciate the good work and longevity others have put into our club. Club members are encouraged to bring your stories, photos, and clippings - everyone is encouraged to bring your gardening questions.
Join us for a good old fashioned ice cream social in conjunction with releasing our new directory. The directory will be sorted by areas of Austin so we'll divide into region-based groups giving you a chance to meet your fellow neighbor gardeners.
Trisha Shirey will discuss her 33-year association with Lake Austin Spa Resort where she created organic herb and vegetable gardens, an organic orchard, and a wealth of flowers to enhance the grounds and brighten the delicious low-fat dishes served in the dining room. She did plantings designed to be Texas tough, but beautiful and despite the foraging deer, flowers are in evidence year round. Many of the gardens are designed to delight the abundant butterflies and hummingbirds.
Trisha will have copies of her book, “Vegetable Gardening for the Southwest”, available for sale for $21.60 incl. tax (cash, checks, or credit cards accepted).
Thomas Schroeder, the Sustainable Agriculture Specialist with National Center for Appropriate Technology, Southwest (NCAT) will discuss the soil food web - the roles that bacteria, fungi and other micro organisms play in the soil and how plants and animals are intricately linked into and are the driving units to this system.
Edward Self will discuss growing rare and tropical fruit in Central Texas.
We'll start with a 5 minute discussion on lasagna gardening following by hands-on demonstrations on propagating plants by cuttings. The demonstrations will be led by Nick Ulrich from Barton Springs Nursery and our own David Kraemer.
We'll start with a 5 minute discussion on how and if we kept our plants alive in this year’s crazy hard freeze - we'll share our techniques of what worked what didn’t.
For the program, we'll be doing hands-on seed starting. Ben from La Flaca farm and Troy from Bright Ideas will share their expertise and lead demonstrations. Please bring seeds, seed starting soil and pots you want to use and share as well as lights, heat mats, and trays if you want to show how you do it. We will have some materials available and Troy will have some for sale. Hopefully, everyone will take something home to nurture for our plant sale and/or your spring garden!
2017 Meeting History
|November 13th||Dr. Sam Feagley, a soil scientist at Texas A&M, will speak on carbon sequestration
|October 9th||Photos and 5 minute presentations from our club members.
|September 11th||Kathy Zarsky from HOLOS Collaborative, will discuss biomimicry - the use of models and elements from nature to solve human problems
|August 14th||George Altgelt, founder and president of Geo Growers, discussing Good Soil Nutrition and how healthy soil can prevent common plant problems.
Geo Growers has been providing excellent soils and compost to the Austin area since 1995.
|July 10th||Gardening Questions and Answers - Bring your gardening questions to our veteran club members.
Many of our club members have been raising vegetables, herbs, and ornamentals organically in Central Texas for a lot of years. They're very familiar with all of the challenges of our weather extremes, insects, and alkaline soils. Bring leaf and insect samples in a baggie or jar.
|June 12th||All About Flowers - Ginger Soule will discuss flowering bulbs that do well in our climate and
Mary Kraemer will discuss flowers for their edible, spiritual and emotional qualities.
Ginger says, "Bulbs are one of nature’s clever water storage devices, providing an array of enchanting blooms throughout the year, some lasting, some ephemeral, yet all delight our senses". Ginger's been a member of AOG since 1989, serving as member at large, vice-president, president and plant sale chairperson.
Mary will explore her experiences doing therapeutic horticultural - she'll share photos, stories, flower lore, and history. Mary says that using flowers is great for managing the emotions. She is the current Vice-President of the Austin Organic Gardeners Club, an organic gardener since 1986, and the owner and creator of Rosa Milagrosa Gardens where she facilitates groups and individuals to connect with nature to grow emotional and physical wellbeing.
Ginger will provide bulbs for sale and Mary will sell cards from her "Flower Mandalas Speak" collection.
|May 8th||Elizabeth McGreevy will examine the growing use of gravel in the landscape and explore why it is
being used, how it is being maintained, is it environmentally
beneficial, and are there better solutions.
Elizabeth is a landscape planner and designer and an ecological restoration consultant in the Texas Hill Country. She's been involved with the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, the upgrade of Fort Hood Military Housing, and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Elizabeth has a masters degree in landscape architecture with an undergraduate focus in ecology and she is a certified permaculture designer.
For more information on Elizabeth, visit landsteward.net
|April 10th||Winegrower Chris Brundrett of William Chris Vineyards, a 100% Texas-grown winery, discusses the importance of place in horticulture. Hear how William “Bill” Blackmon and
Brundrett have incorporated methods to grow sustainable vineyards in many different regions of Texas, each with its own challenging terroir.
|March 13th||Tim Miller will discuss the lunar planting system he's used for many years at Millberg Farm, his dry-land, organic farm in Kyle Texas. John Thundiyil will discuss growing tropical fruit in Central Texas. See Tim's 2017 planting dates on our planting guide page.
|February 13th||Kathleen Burke will present a talk entitled 'Listening to the Land' on the history and some of the gardening practices of the Findhorn Foundation (FF) in Northern Scotland. FF is a 54 year old educational and spiritual eco-village which was founded on communication with plant and animal life as well as one's own inner guidance. Kathleen was a community member there from 2004 to 2009
where she served as a full-time gardener in their landscape garden. In Atlanta, GA she co-founded two intentional co-housing communities, one of which is East Lake Commons, and has owned and operated Gaia Gardens, a CSA organic farm since its inception in 1999. She holds an MS in Urban Management and prior to FF, served in Community Relations for a variety of non-profit organizations. The author of two poetry books, she uses her inner listening to speak through poetry- 'The Findhorn Years' and 'Haiku Texas'
|January 9th||Compost is at the center of organic gardening and an important component of Austin's goal to acheive zero waste -
join us for a panel discussion with local compost experts on the future of organic waste. The panel will discuss
questions like: what does compost have in it, what does it do and how does this affect you. Come meet the local
experts: George Altgelt of Geo Growers, Lisa Boatman, a DilloDirt engineer from Hornsby Bend, Phil Gosh from
Organics by Gosh and Ashley Fisher, AICP, Planner Senior of Austin Resource Recovery | City of Austin.
2016 Meeting History
|November 14||Rey Salazar, a Lipan Apache from Corpus Christi, will speak on the native approach to gardening.
Rey has worked in agriculture most of his life starting as a migrant worker and was harvesting at the age of 12 between school semesters.
He’s the owner and care taker of Xochicalli Gardens, a family farm which raises organically grown fruits and vegetables sold at farmers’ markets.
He is a founding member and vendor of GrowLocal STX and the Corpus Christi Downtown Farmers’ Market.
Rey is also the keeper and founding member of Kalpulli Kune Tsa Native American Church and is the former agriculturalist of the Lipan Apache Band of Texas.
|October 10||Bill McCranie, a McDade, Texas farmer will discuss biodynamic farming and ranching.
|September 12||Kirby Fry will discuss "Sustainable Design and Perennial Food Gardens" - how he and a group of volunteers have implemented many gardens through events called permablitzes.
For more information, please visit: earthrepaircorps.org and southernexposureaustin.com.
|August 8||Donna Hoffman, Eco Wellness Director for the American Honey Bee Protection Agency will speak
about AHBPA's Bee Clever bee education program.
Donna, a long time environmental educator, also serves on the Board of Directors of Blackshear Bridge coordinating the school garden and farm stand at Blackshear Elementary School.
For more information, visit http://ahbpa.org/ and http://blackshearbridge.org/
|July 11||Edwin Marty, City of Austin Food Policy Manager,
will discuss his role in the Office of Sustainability as well as the work being done to promote school gardens.
|June 13||Austin garden blogger, Sheryl Williams, will discuss overcoming the challenges of Summer Gardening in Austin. Visit Sheryl's blog at http://yardfanatic.blogspot.com/
|May 9||Expert Gardening Panel - A very popular program which opens up the microphone to questions from the audience
about gardening organically. The panel consists of three veteran club members: Tim
Miller of Millberg Farm operates a dry-land farm in Kyle, Texas and has been certified
organic for 26 years. Ginger Soule, a long-time club member, specializes in bulbs and beneficial insects. Forrest Arnold who has been a member
of the Club since 1984 specializes in composting and beneficial insects.
Bring your burning gardening questions you'd like answered!
|April 11||Do you ever wonder how the experts grow tomatoes? Our April meeting is your chance when 3 long-time tomato growers from Sunshine Community Garden
will share their methods and varieties. Randy Thompson, Jeff Taylor, and Jim Willmann will bring their experiences from
their gardens as well as the tomato test plot at Sunshine.
|March 14||Lauren Swindell discussing exercises for gardeners and Gordon Wybo from Sustainacycle's Sustainable Living Center of Kyle discussing soil amendments
|February 8||Chris Sanchez will discuss straw bale gardening. Chris is the culture and art education specialist for Austin Parks and Recreation. You can
see an example of this technique at the Zilker Garden Center vegetable garden area near the blacksmith shop.
|January 11||January is the time to think about fruit trees and Tim Miller, a dry land farmer in Kyle, Texas and long-time AOG member, will discuss their selection, planting, and maintenance
2015 Meeting History
|November 9||Gayle Engels, Special Projects Director with the American Botanical Council, will discuss "Healthy Living with Herbs". Gayle will cover some of the herbs that grow well in Austin and have medicinal uses supported by tradition and research.
|October 12||John Dromgoole, creator and owner of The Natural Gardener, will discuss spiritual gardens including the historical background and ceremonial uses of specific plants as well as creating sacred spaces in your garden.
|September 14||Kirk Walden, a Travis County Master Gardener, will discuss container gardening
|August 10||Judy Barrett, founding editor and publisher of HOMEGROWN, will discuss fall planting
|July 13||Trisha Shirey, author and head gardener at the Lake Austin Spa Resort, will discuss her Top Tips and Favorite Things. Trisha will also have copies of
her latest book, "Vegetable Gardening in the Southwest", available for purchase.
|June 8||Ed Parken will discuss rain water collection. Ed is the Vice President of Special Projects for the Austin Area Garden Center.
|May 11||We'll show photos and videos from our member's gardens including veggies, herbs, ornamentals, and fruit growing in yards of some of Austin's finest gardeners
|April 13||Annelies Lottmann of Yard to Market Coop will present "Your garden can pay you back!" Whether you’re clearing out your beds and want an alternative to the compost pile, or are interested in learning how to turn your hobby
into a thriving home business year round, this talk explores how to be a successful market gardener at any scale.
|March 9||Ryan Sansbury of Logro Farms will discuss growing mushrooms sustainably
|February 9||Tom Philpott will discuss soil fertility and peak phosphorus - Tom is the food and ag correspondent of Mother Jones and cofounder of Maverick Farms, a center for sustainable food education in Valle Crucis, North Carolina
|January 12||Join us for our first meeting of 2015 with Raj Patel presenting: What Organic Farming in Malawi can Teach the World. Raj is an author and Research Professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs - he will show a film clip
from an upcoming documentary on farming in this southeast African country and then host a discussion on the topic.
2014 Meeting History
|November 10||Long time AOG members, Tim Miller of Millberg Farm and David Kraemer - David will discuss home seed starting for spring veggies and Tim will discuss methods and varieties for growing tomatoes in winter|
|October 13||Lisa Lennon, horticulturist and landscape architect will speak on "Native Bees and Beneficial Insects: The Secret to Successful Organic Gardens"|
|September 8||Arturo Arredondo will discuss transfarming - how to transform your yard into a food producing ecosystem using techniques like aquaponics, wicking beds, and hugleculture|
|August 11||Glenn and Paula Foore from Springdale Farm will discuss their fall activities including, resources to plan and source, tricks to keep the birds and pests away, and how to get carrots to win over weeds|
|July 14||'Embracing Local in the Kitchen' - Edible Austin publisher, Marla Camp, will discuss tips and resources for cooking seasonally out of your garden and from the farmers markets by growing (or shopping for) complementary ingredients and how to use them in meals together that fit the seasons.|
|June 9||'The Mechanics of Organics: How they work and why you should use them'. Join Jeff Ferris as he discusses how organic fertilizers and pest and weed control work and why they are more effective than chemicals. Jeff has been a gardener in Austin for over 25 years. He's a certified Permaculturist, teaches at ACC, and is the staff horticulturist and diagnostician at The Natural Gardener.|
|May 12||Bill Boytin will show us how to sharpen our pruning shears, mower blades, knives, and other garden tools with his presentation "Sharp Tools Make for Easy Garden Work". Bill is a member of the Garden Club of Austin and the Austin Bonsai Society and has been sharpening tools for over 50 years.|
|April 14||When is Nature Better than Technology? - join Dr. Laura Pressley, co-founder of Pure Rain Water Co, and founder of Austin Smart Meters, as she discusses public water health issues|
|March 10||Learn how to identify plant diseases and help keep your plants healthy - Master Gardener Pat Mokry will share insights from her First Detector Specialist training|
|February 10||Are you looking for new ideas on gardening? Taelor Monroe, co-host of Permablitzes, a hands-on permaculture workday and workshop, will discuss the virtues of permaculture with a special look at hugelkultur|
|January 14||Amanda Moon, co-owner of Trinity Gardens here in Austin, will expound on the virtues of edible landscaping|
2013 Meeting History
|November 11||Patrick VanHaren, owner of Microbial Earth, will discuss the wonders of biochar and its use as a soil amendment to build a stronger eco-system|
|October 14||Chris Doggett, with Williamson County Beekeepers Association, shares his knowledge and appreciation of one of the most critical factors for garden success--bees!|
|September 9||Sharing her lifelong love of gardening will be our very own Ginger Soule, giving a program entitled 'Flowers from Bulbs throughout the Year' which includes photographs of her extensive bulb collection|
|August 12||Master gardener and lifetime AOG member, Forrest Arnold, will discuss the production and use of compost and how to prepare for your fall garden|
|July 8||Marjory Wildcraft, author, speaker, and counselor on self-sufficient living, will share her recent discoveries regarding sustainable agriculture in Cuba|
|June 10||Judy Barrett, who literally wrote the book on heirlooms, will present: What makes heirloom plants so great?|
|May 13||Kate Payne, Family and Consumer Sciences Specialist with the AgriLife Extension Service, will teach us how to dry, preserve, and can our abundant harvests. Learn how to keep the pantry full of your own nutritious goodies!|
|April 8||Ever wonder how color affects us? Dr. Molly Ogorzaly, co-author and illustrator of 'Economic Botany', creator of the Plantmobile traveling science museum, and a delightful speaker, will present: Monet's Light: An Exploration of Color|
|March 11||Long-time member, David Huebel, will host a panel representing Austin based non-profit organizations bringing local food production into our homes and neighborhoods. We'll have Paige Hill from Urban Patchwork Neighborhood Farm, Randy Jewart from Austin Green Art, Suanne McLellan from Green Corn Project, and Steven Hebbard from Genesis Gardens. Each panelist will briefly describe their organization and then we'll open it up for discussion.|
|February 11||Learn about plant propagation techniques from award-winning Master Gardener Tommie Clayton. Tommie has taught hundreds of gardeners how to successfully start their own plants from seed as well as by cuttings from existing plants.|
|January 14||Dreaming of peach pies, fig preserves, and fresh fruit salad? Come hear Sheryl Williams, Travis County Master Gardener and fruit tree specialist, teach the proper selection, planting, pruning, and general care of fruit trees for our area. Don't forget to bring cash for the raffle and gardening questions for our help desk. We'll also have soil available for transplanting for those helping with our spring plant sale.|