LaraToday’s Dabble Drop-In is brought to you by guest blogger, Lara Kocab!

Lara is a Cleveland native and has lived in the city of Chicago for nearly ten years. Her day job is as a director of digital user experience and in her spare time she likes taking various fitness classes around the city. New to Dabble, she is looking to learn new skills and to be inspired by the creative talents that Dabble classes have to offer.

Lara first heard about Dabble through her friend, Cassie, a few years ago after mentioning that she wanted to find a cooking class. She went to the site and was impressed by the sheer number of great classes and how affordable they were. Lara thinks the goal of the site is fantastic, as it encourages people to go outside their comfort zone and try something new.

“Dabble is a great way to spotlight all of the passion and talent that Chicagoans posses. I am a big supporter of local businesses and this is a perfect way for people to gain visibility for their business and offer a hands-on experience of what they have to offer. What makes Dabble unique is that it encourages people to try out things they might not normally do, with little commitment.”

And now, we turn it over to Lara:

IMG_0278I recently have been trying to be live more healthy and earth conscious so one of the first steps I decided to take was to eat better. I have always wanted to grow my own herbs and vegetables, but since I live in a one-bedroom apartment space and environment were an issue. When I stumbled upon this class offered by The Green Suite, it could not have been more perfect for me. IMG_0279

Nick Conrad, who runs the class is friendly and inviting and his passion for window farming shines through in his enthusiasm and expert knowledge. We began class by covering the origins of hydroponic farming and the various methods that can be used. He also gave us a tour of his studio and highlighted the various ways that he made it eco-friendly. He has solar panels installed and uses all recycled materials for his projects. Seeing how simple and affordable it is to take greener steps was definitely an eye-opener for me, and inspiring as well. In addition, he showed us his worm-composting bin and explained the benefits of it. It also smells surprisingly good, like the earth after a good rain.


His presentation was supported by great visual examples of how other people are tackling window farming and explained in detail how the basics of hydroponics can be applied to creating your own custom window farming system. It was also very insightful to learn the essentials of what a plant needs to thrive. Nick broke this down for the group and explained through various hands on examples such as testing pH levels and understanding what degrees of sunlight specific plants need.

My favorite part of the class was when we built our own hydroponic planter to take home. There was a huge variety of seeds that we could chose from and Nick explained to us how the plants would grow and what conditions they would need to be successful. The build time was super easy and it allowed for us to ask additional questions, which Nick was happy to answer. By being able to see the principles we learned earlier in the class be applied to an actual working example was exciting and motivating. With just a few materials, I was able to make my own window farm plant and I am looking forward to how it grows.”


Check out the next Window Farming for Beginners class or view all the classes taught by The Green Suite here.

Nick Conrad has been teaching classes on Dabble since March 2013, is a Top-Rated Teacher, & has taught about 290 Dabblers so far! A self-proclaimed eco-warrior, Nick Conrad founded The Green Suite to enlighten others how to lessen their impact on the environment while improving their homes. Through The Green Suite, he teaches innovative, DIY ways of producing food, power, and products from recycled objects and repurposed materials. Focusing mainly on hydroponic window farming and self-made solar power, The Green Suite offers classes, tips, and kits online to help any aspiring eco-file get started. Combining the information from his urban farming and solar power classes, Nick’s tongue-in-cheek Zombie Survival Class promotes the benefits of sustainable living during a widespread disaster. Nick has also been featured in Chicago’s Red Eye and presented as a guest speaker in local schools.IMG_0289

Dabble Drop-In: Tips For Window Farming for Beginners class:

Come to this class with… A willingness to put in a little time and effort to create something that is unique, healthy and ultimately helping the environment.

Use this class to… To understand how simple and easy it is to be a little healthier! A garden may seem daunting to someone living in an apartment, but with a little ingenuity and time it is fully reasonable to make a difference.

You’d be surprised that… Plants are more resilient than you think. By sticking to the basics of what they need and experimenting with the amounts, it is easy to see what works and what does not. It allows room for adjustments and even if you mess up a few times there is usually a way to fix it.

Come prepared with… A practical approach to how you can implement some of these urban farming techniques within your living space.

Appropriate hashtag… #easyplantlife #urbangardening

What to do in the area… The class was conveniently located right off the red line Sheridan stop and has a ton of great restaurants and bars for post class food options. Holiday Club is a fun retro lounge with delicious martinis and mixed drinks. If you are looking for something more low-key, Pizza Rustica Italian Bistro serves up all kinds of Italian food in a cozy atmosphere.

Interested in guest blogging with Dabble as part of our Dabble Drop-In series? Send our Community Manager an email at