Carl Reiner, born on this day in 1922, said these words, and except for the ski slopes and late season skiers, his sentiment was shared widely here in the High Country last week. After the early onset of allergies due to nature’s rush during a glorious, balmy February, we were geared up and ready for our first garden planning workshop last week, but snow and fierce, chilly winds accompanied by temperatures well below freezing thwarted our plans.
Our partners at Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture have organized this first class of the season: Planning your garden. BRWIA, along with continued outreach to our neighbors and other collaborating organizations such as RISE and Cooperative Extension have been instrumental in garnering interest and participation among individuals and families beyond the housing programs of Hospitality House. Bringing households of different backgrounds together is a goal of all of our programs, so we are extremely pleased to witness the cross-pollination of experiences. Despite the postponement by a week, we excitedly report more participants joined us than we expected.
Folks attending the class this evening walked away with a garden design, plant list, and some seeds. One of last year’s gardens still has cover crops to turn, so a short field trip facilitated a demonstration on building soil fertility through cover cropping while discussing the basics of soil, nutrients, and sun exposure in the context of garden planning.
This evening’s planning class also introduced two supports new to our program this year. The Garden buddy represents an approach to catalyzing sustained activity among participants to garden by having someone to assist them through key steps. Not everyone will need or want a buddy, and one of our buddies may partner with multiple gardeners, but we believe it will help build capacity in all of those involved. We were also fortunate to provide child care for those who needed it, thereby removing a barrier that parents of young children often face when wanting to pursue a training or continuing education opportunity, and this is something we hope to offer for each class.