Our farm has organized two free gardening workshops in Kingston this spring, and you’re invited to join us. The workshops, taking place on April 25 and May 23, will be run by organic vegetable farmer Marie Bencze.
“Gardening is incredibly rewarding,” said Bencze. “There is research that proves that working with soil, and the exchange of microbes we get through soil contact, actually makes us happier. Also, when you garden you get to eat the freshest food, and even if you don’t have a lot of money you get to eat like a king!”
Farmer Emily Dowling notes: “People always have questions at our annual plant sales about what to do with their seedlings. So we decided to host a workshop this year to make people feel more confident and successful when they take their plants home.”
Marie Bencze explained: “The workshops are designed for beginners or for people who feel they could benefit from new perspectives, or who have struggled with certain crops in the past.” All ages are welcome, though the workshops are geared toward adults.
Each workshop will cover the basics of bed preparation, transplanting skills, watering techniques, and cultivation of particular plants.
“At the April plant party I’ll be covering how to get plants ready for the garden,” said Bencze. “I’ll teach skills around ‘potting up’ and ‘hardening off’”—that is, making sure that transplants are adapted to outdoor weather. “In May, I’ll focus more on tomatoes, and teach people how to ‘sucker’ for better production, and how to avoid issues such as blossom end rot.”
Bencze will also give some garden planning suggestions. “I will get the participants to think about which part of their garden gets the most sun, which plants they intend to harvest from most regularly, and other things that can stimulate design ideas for our gardens to make them enjoyable to work in and bountiful in their production.”
If you don’t have a garden or a back yard, no problem. Bencze will also talk about container gardening for various crops, and offer space-saving tips.
Marie Bencze adds: “After years of working on organic vegetable farms, I am starting to grow more of an interest in home gardening including planting flowers to attract pollinators, herbs to dry down for tea, and non-stop kale and Swiss chard so that I can treat my chickens to a few leaves here and there and also have plenty of hardy greens to cook with all season long.”
The one-hour workshops will start at 5pm on both Tuesday, April 25, and Tuesday, May 23. They will be held outside the Mulberry Waldorf School at 25 Markland Street.
The workshops are free, but please register in advance as space is limited. You can sign up online at: http://rootradicalrows.com/gardeningworkshops17.html
You don’t have to register to drop by the Root Radical Plant Party happening from 4:30-6:30 pm on both days at the same location. You can buy seedlings to transplant for your garden or balcony at the plant party.
And if you’re interested in some more hand-on gardening practice on our farm, you can get in touch about joining one of our work bees this summer.
Aric McBay is a farmer and author.