October 3, 2022

Video Course Review: Soil-First Gardening: How to Grow Black Gold in the Backyard

Although I'm a long time organic gardener, it's only been in recent years that I switched to no-till. Like any new approach to gardening, there's been a learning curve. And along with that learning curve, there's been a lot of experimenting. Some of those experiments have worked out well, but others haven't. So when Anna Hess contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in reviewing her new video course on Udemy.com, I was happy to say yes! 

I'm guessing most of you are familiar with Anna. She and her husband Mark blog over at The Walden Effect, and Anna has written a number of excellent homesteading books including The Weekend Homesteader, Homegrown Humus, and Bug-Free Organic Gardening.

Soil-First Gardening: How to Grow Black Gold in the Backyard is her first video course. Who is it geared for? Anyone seeking to improve their gardening skills. It's a fantastic introduction to no-till gardening for the beginner, yet contains ideas that experienced gardeners will want to try. The lessons cover compost, no-till organic gardening, biochar, hugelkultur, and cover crops. She explains how each technique improves the soil and shows easy how-tos to apply to your garden. What I found impressive is how she and Mark have uniquely adapted these techniques to their region and their garden. There are some interesting ideas here! I learned new ideas for concepts I'm familiar with, but looking to improve.

The overall presentation is appealing. Anna's friendly personality makes you feel like you're right there with her. Each section includes an interactive assignment, a downloadable PDF handout, and a brief quiz. The sixteen lessons are short but to the point. The course is self-paced with a total time of one hour. 

Why can I recommend this course? Because true expertise comes from experience. While it's important to understand the principles behind any concept, it's equally important to be able to apply those principles to gain results. In other words, being able to explain something from head knowledge is good, but being able to explain something from experience is better. Anna Hess has experience I can respect. 

Why Udemy? Why not just go to a free video site and look around for similar information? This is the second course I've taken at Udemy.com, and I really like the platform. The videos are very well done and free from fluff comments and trolls. In addition to organized lessons, assignments, handouts, and quizzes, Udemy lets you add personal notes anyplace in the video. All of these are truly helpful assets compared to regular video websites. Plus, I have lifetime access to all the courses I buy.

How much does it cost? Regular price is $19.99, but I have a coupon code! Follow this link to get 35% off 


The code expires October 8, 2022. 

Who doesn't want better soil for their garden? It's the key to nutritious produce and abundant productivity. As gardening season winds down (or up!) I hope you'll treat yourself to this course and be inspired for your next gardening season.


Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Thank you for the recommendation Leigh! I have used several Udemy courses and very much enjoy the platform - to your point, they are all well done and very affordable (and they seem to have a great many sales, so one can always wait patiently until something comes up). I will say as well I seem to prefer the "formalness" of the course to a Youtube video (I just seem to be wired that way).

I am not familiar with Anna and Mark, but apparently should be.

Leigh said...

TB, I like the more organized approach to teaching as well. There are some good videos on youtube, but also a lot of rambling (with which I get impatient). If I'm looking for information, I like it to the point.

Anna Hess is an excellent writer and has made a lot of really useful contributions to the gardening/homestead/permaculture world with her books. Definitely someone to become familiar with.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating that this should come along right after I got the results for my soil test from Redmonds. This is definitely a huge learning curve year for me so I’m going to take advantage of your wonderful review and the great discount and hop on the train!

I love your reviews Leigh because I know how you dissect things and triage them and you’re a very thorough person so when you recommend something it is with great confidence that I will take advantage of it also.

I’ll let you know what I think when I’m done and here’s to winters rest and a wonderful year of ‘23 of gardening. A.k.a. Goatldi.

Leigh said...

Goatldi, thank you! I enjoy reviewing things because I enjoy passing on good information. This course is definitely a bargain.