Yesterday we hosted our first workshop of the season with our garden participants (and a few others from the community). Although it was still a little chilly and cloudy, we decided to keep the workshop outside, and I was very impressed with the turnout. Considering this was not one of our mandatory workshops for our gardeners, a crowd of seventeen was very awesome.
Much of the success of our workshop series can be attributed to the wonderful master gardeners that we have in our county. Even though there is no longer a master gardened class offered in Mingo (something that I have been working very diligently to obtain) there are still a handful of active certified gardeners. I would highly suggest that if you are unsure of who your master gardeners are, talk to the avid gardeners, because they may know. It seems like, at least in our area, that many of our gardeners are business owners or teach at the community college here in Williamson.
Michael “Mad Dog” Perry as he likes to be called, is one of them. Michael owns and works at the City Gym in Williamson, which he has been working hard to improve over the last two years. That is a different story in itself; the quality of the City Gym has improved leaps and bounds since I moved to Williamson in July, 2012. When I first began talking to him about hosting a workshop he had dozens of ideas (literally). He is very energetic, and was great with the crowd.
He spoke primarily on soil quality (what your soil needs and how to keep it at a high quality), planting by the signs, and vertical gardening. He went over various ways to trellis in a raised bed, and many of our participants found useful and asked plenty of question.
One thing that I have found helpful, is that when I plan a workshop at the garden space to keep in mind that it is a great opportunity for some work time with my gardeners. I made sure to line up several tasks for after the workshop, for those who were willing to stick around and get stuff done (and they do linger, especially when they do not have anything else to do). We ended up moving a pile of dirt that the city had left for us (see above in the picture) and also laid cardboard mulch between some of our rows.
It was a very successful day indeed!