Gardening & Homesteading

Learn the secrets of growing abundant plants and vegetables. Explore the fascinating natural world around us. Delve into a “hands-on” subject like beekeeping or mushrooms.

Explore The Studio

The Folk School Garden

A destination unto itself, The Folk School’s garden produces a diverse array of crops and supports the programming of many classes and studios with broom corn, basket willow, and more. Vegetables and flowers are harvested for use in our cooking classes and dining hall, and the Cory Brown Memorial Dye Garden is filled with dye plants that create every color in the rainbow. This is an excellent classroom for gardening and nature studies classes, as well as a wonderful place to unwind after a long day.

News & Stories: What's Happening in Gardening & Homesteading

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Online Classes Return This Winter

The Folk School is excited...

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Welcome to Our New Website

Our new website is here!...

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Welcome Jason Ebinger

We would like to extend a warm welcome to our new Gardener, Jason Ebinger! Jason has an extensive history managing farm and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Folk School. We look forward to seeing how the garden flourishes this year. Read more to learn about Jason and his goals in this position.

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A Look at the First Plants of the Cory Brown Memorial Dye Garden

Welcome to the new Folk School Dye Garden. Natural dye comes from the leaves, flowers, or roots of plants. In this video, we will take a look at Nankeen cotton, indigo, coreopsis, yarrow, French marigolds, madder, chamomile, and purple gromwell.

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Shaker Herbs, Roots, Barks & Lore with Jamie Sparks

Have you always been drawn to the idea of using herbs to make your own products, teas, drinks, and food? Immerse yourself in weeklong class, Shaker Herbs, Roots, Barks, and Lore, taught by herbalist Jamie Sparks during Shaker Week, November 3–9. Explore how Shakers used plants to be self-reliant and to connect to the natural world. Jamie has a lot of wisdom to share, so let’s learn a little more about her experience and what’s in store for the class.

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My Fascinating Lunch with Tim Ryan: Auctions, Dibbles, Zen, Gardens & More

Learn a little bit about Tim Ryan the gardener, auctioneer, medicine showman, raconteur, kettle cooker, blacksmith, instructor, former Folk School Board member, bibliophile, and storyteller. We recently sat down over lunch to talk about many things. Enjoy our interview!

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Pollinators in the Garden: Bees, Birds & Butterflies

I just finished teaching a weekend class on pollinators and gardening at the Folk School. My class was a great group of folks. We learned about seeding starting and growing native milkweeds for monarch eggs and caterpillars, planting flowers, native shrubs and trees for bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, the challenges of neonicotinoids and herbicides. The weekend exhibited beautiful May weather! Enjoy our photo album:

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Celebrating Love: Valentine’s Week at the Folk School

It’s Valentine’s Day here at the Folk School.  I caught up with some friends and classmates this week to hear more about what folks are doing to mark the occasion.

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AARP “Culinary Travel” Feature

AARP has written an article called “Culinary Travel” featuring the Folk School in AARP The Magazine!

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Franklinia Blooming Outside Field House

The Folk School has been making efforts to use native plants in our landscapes and there is a very interesting one in bloom right now at the Field House. Franklinia alatamaha, or the Franklin Tree, is a rare shrub or small tree of the Tea Family which was discovered in Georgia in the 1700’s by naturalists John and William Bartram. They brought specimen seeds and plants back to Philadelphia where it was propagated and named in honor of the Bartrams’ friend Benjamin Franklin. However, the Franklinia has never again been found in the wild (since 1803) and the remaining plants are descendants of the Bartrams’ collected specimens.

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Late November Landscape

The cast of color has changed greatly from earlier this month, from the hillsides around us which showed mostly the deeper russet reds and burnt oranges.  A few individual trees around the Folk School campus still glowed with vibrant oranges and yellows.  In this glorious fall, those who were here to study and play were surrounded by landscape colors changing and twirling to the ground every day. Work-study students prepared the garden for wintering over. November brought the mists again when the rains came. Patches of sunlight on the mountainsides revealed soft grays topped with pale burnished golds polished by the sun.

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A Spring Haiku

Poem Inspired by the Spring Garden by Carla Owen

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A Ploughing Demonstration in the Garden

Last Friday, Folk School students, staff, and community members excitedly

Karen Hurtubise headshot

Resident Artist in Gardening & Homesteading, Nature Studies, Soap Making, Storytelling

Karen Hurtubise

Karen and her husband have a small farm and grow diverse crops including native plants, berries, tomatoes, mushrooms, turmeric, and ginger. They began a large organic vegetable, flower, and herb garden over 30 years ago in Hayesville, NC, and won a Southeast Regional Rodale Organic Gardening Garden-of-the-Year contest. Karen is a passionate advocate of healthy agriculture, local food, and forest farming. She has been teaching at the Folk School since 1994.

Susannah Thompson headshot

Cooking, Gardening & Homesteading, Nature Studies, and Soap Making Coordinator

Susannah Thompson

Susannah found the Folk School while looking for contra dance in western NC. Shortly after moving to the area, she earned her striped tights and wooden clogs as a member of Dame’s Rocket, one of the Brasstown Morris Dance teams. She has also been a teacher for over 20 years. In forests and on camera, in school libraries, and in the kitchen, she enjoys creating new adventures for students of all ages. She started teaching at the Folk School in 2017 and is best known for her British Baking class. When she’s not in the cooking studio or on the dance floor, you can find her searching for salamanders, paddling local lakes, or assisting with wildlife monitoring projects.

Images from the Studio

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