Food gardening workshops with Grant Watson

Grant offers 3 different workshops. He is a former organic farmer and has been teaching gardening to adults and children since 2003. He also operates an edible landscaping business www.gourmetgardens.ca.

All workshops run three hours. Suggested $35 donation, pay what you can.
To register: please contact Ross at rmoster@flash.net.
Date/Time Course Location
Mar 13,
9-noon
Food Crops: Selection and Care Grandview/Woodland
Mar 13,
3-6 pm
Garden Planning and Preparation Mt Pleasant
Mar 27,
9-noon
Garden Planning and Preparation Hastings Sunrise
Apr 18,
2-5 pm
Food Crops: Selection and Care Unitarian Church of Vancouver
Apr 24,
9-noon
Soil Fertility and Plant Health Management SPEC, Kitsilano

(co-sponsored by SPEC)

May 8,
9-noon
Food Crops: Selection and Care River Market at Westminster Quay, New Westminster
May 16,
2-5 pm
Soil Fertility and Plant Health Management Unitarian Church of Vancouver
June 12,
9-noon
Soil Fertility and Plant Health Management TBD

Course Descriptions

Garden Planning and Preparation
This course will get you started in thinking about how to start a food garden, and taking the first important step of getting the beds ready for planting. A sound garden plan that takes all the key factors into consideration has a better chance of producing and winning your enthusiasm.

Planning

  • goal setting
  • location
  • layout
  • coldframes/greenhouses
  • ordering seeds

Preparation

  • sheet mulching
  • tilling/digging
  • cover crops/green manures
  • starting seedlings
  • irrigation
  • planting perennials
  • beneficials

Practical Activity

  • We’ll do one or more hands on activities related to preparing a garden bed. The specific tasks will depend on conditions at the time.

Food Crops: Selection & Care
So you’ve got a garden all ready for planting. What are you going to put in, and when should you start? This course will cover all the major groups of vegetable and fruit crops that grow well in our climate. We will also discuss the specific needs of plants in each category.

  • quick overview of garden planning
  • soil health
  • The major plant groups
    • greens/herbs
    • legumes
    • root crops
    • alliums
    • cabbage family
    • grains/corn
    • berries
    • tree fruits & nuts
  • planting times
  • starting in trays vs direct seeding
  • specific needs of each plant group
  • annual plant rotation and companioning

Practical Activity

  • We’ll do some hands on activities related to garden planting, including transplanting, direct seeding and organic fertilizing at planting time.

Soil Fertility and Plant Health Management
An extremely important topic in organic gardening is soil health and fertility. Healthy soil is a vibrant community. Learn how to be an ally, not an enemy of your soil. We’ll also cover some key techniques for promoting and protecting your annual and perennial food plants, as well as the ones that just look pretty, from disease and pests.

Soil management

  • know your soil type and characteristics
  • building organic matter
  • maintaining a healthy balance
  • managing moisture levels
  • additives
  • tilling
  • weeding techniques

Plant health

  • the basics
  • common pests
  • preventative measures
  • attracting predators
  • pest-specific strategies

Practical Activity

  • Learn some weeding techniques, identify pests and make your own compost tea.

Village Vancouver’s food networking get togethers with Grant, Robin Wheeler and others are community based gatherings which help participants connect with others who share a desire to engage around food and sustainability on a neighbourhood level.

These workshops are part of an ongoing VV series designed to help individuals, neighbourhoods, and communties learn how to live well using substantially less fossil fuels. In 2009, we offered approximately 40 workshops. In 2010, topics are expected to include gardening, seed saving, energy reduction, community building, beekeeping, composting, food preservation, neighbourhood food networks, and backyard chickens.
Village Vancouver is the official Transtion Town hub for Vancouver and initiating hub for the Lower Mainland. On May 7th and 8th, we’re offering another Transition in Vancouver: from fossil fuel dependence to resilience workshop in collaboration with Langara College Continuing Studies and the Canandian Centre for Community Renewal. Stay tuned for details.
For further information on VV: www.villagevancouver.ca or Welcome to Village Vancouver in Common Ground magazine www.commonground.ca. (June, July, and September) For general information on Transition Towns: www.transitiontowns.org.
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