Sunday, 11 March 2012

Garden Planning Workshop

 We were very excited to have such a large group of students attend our 'Planning to Plant' workshop last Thursday (our largest group to date!).  Students came from the faculties of Education, Land & Food Systems, and Forestry, as well as from surrounding organizations.  Our goal for the workshop was to make gardening feel doable and exciting in a range of contexts and scales.

Most workshop participants were starting gardens for the first time and had lots of questions on breaking ground, choosing seeds, laying out beds, soil fertility, and harvest times.  We spent some time exploring the garden, tasting winter greens and noticing how much food is actually available in March thanks to the mild climate of Vancouver.

Participants spent time articulating their overall garden goals, choosing crops, mapping their garden plots, and planning the planting and harvesting times.

Some participants wanted to get their hands in the soil and we were happy to have them clear the beds and prepare the soil for spring planting.

Here are some basic tips for starting a garden:  
  • Start small and build on your success!
  • Be aware of all growing limitations (seasons, soil, space, light, water, maintenance, budget)
  • Know who you are planting for (family, classroom, market, community)
  • Talk to other gardeners in your area- they are the experts!
  • Plan your planting dates based on your desired harvest dates.
  • Keep a record: taste, touch, smell, draw, photograph and record your process.  A garden journal should include notes on the following: 1) Plant date (direct seed or transplant), 2) Weather, 3) Soil temperature, 4) Notable pests, 5) Harvest dates, 6) Personal notes- “did I like it?  Would I plant it again?”
  • Set goals but be flexible!
  • Be creative and have fun J

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