Apr 212010

Economists look for indicators that will tell them where the economy is going. Some economists look at unusual indicators like how many cardboard boxes are being ordered, how many people are emerging from a subway station into a shopping district or how many Broadway tickets are sold.

My indicator that we are in trouble is that I’ve been asked by Friends of the Island Library to lead a workshop on beginning gardening on Saturday, April 24 at 10a.m. My qualification to this is that I have a rather large home garden which I attend to with Asperger’s-like focus. This does not mean I know what I’m doing. I consider the project an experiment that, so far, seems to be working resulting no doubt from the natural law that “things want to grow” and an obsessive need to hoe.

I have received tips and advice from the real gardeners on Lummi Island and have experimented with a variety of methods and techniques including biodynamics, compost tea, hugelkultur , straw bale, no till. But mostly I follow the advice of Steve Solomon in his two must-have books: Gardening When It Counts and Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades. I’m also indebted to a well-known (in organic gardening circles) expert named Steve Diver (rhymes with river) who showed me a lot of his tricks at a workshop last year.

In addition I’m learning from one of the most knowledgeable people on soil science, Michael Astera who analyzed my garden soil and recommended amendments. My garden is participating in Michael’s High Brix project this year which I’ll get into in future posts.

We all have our little bag of tricks to doing anything where we have developed a modicum of “expertise.” It’s nice for gardeners to have a forum for sharing what they’ve learned. So that will be the theme of our workshop on April 24th at 10am (email me for address). I’m going to share a few things that I’ve learned directed at the beginning gardener. I’m going to make some potting mix and start a container garden, demonstrate how to make fertilizer, talk about ways to build a vegetable garden bed, recondition an old garden bed, plant some seeds and along the way discuss compost tea, tools and whatever else pops into my mind.

Also, since I apparently collect seeds as a hobby, I will have a lot of seed to give away. If you want some, bring some envelopes and something to write with.


  One Response to “Beginning Gardeners Workshop”

  1. The workshop was interesting and fun, Randy, thanks! You really covered a lot of ground (pun intended), and gave us a lot of options to consider. I’m looking forward to putting some of your ideas to work in my brand new, freshly dug garden space. By the way, Jeremy Robinson removed the sod for me with his quiet little digger machine that can do precision work. Just barely pulled off the grass and left the topsoil underneath. Then he ran a rototiller around to loosen what the wheels of his machine had compacted, and voila! A beautiful garden space, ready to fertilize and plant! I highly recommend him to anyone who needs similar work done. He’s fast and very reasonably priced. He’s in the Island phone list.

    Thanks again for doing the workshop!

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