Starting a garden can be overwhelming. The prospects of deciding what type of seeds to plant, where to get soil, and even where to plant can be daunting for beginners.
But through Pierce County and Pierce Conservation District’s Edible Gardens Workshop Series residents can learn how to grow their gardens from seeds to food on the table in a monthly class which runs from February through November.
The workshops focus on teaching beginning gardeners how to plan a garden, prepare the soil, plant seeds and harvest the food they’ve grown.
In addition to teaching participants gardening basics, Micaela Cooley, one of the program’s nine instructors, says it’s also about instilling confidence.
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It’s so important to instill confidence that everybody can garden. There’s no such thing as a black thumb. The classes instill confidence that you can start a garden anywhere.
Micaela Cooley, instructor
“It’s so important to instill confidence that everybody can garden,” she said. “There’s no such thing as a black thumb. The classes instill confidence that you can start a garden anywhere.”
Last week’s program, taught at the Washington State University Extension Center in Puyallup, focused on starting plants from seeds, a less expensive alternative than buying plants from local greenhouses, or as Cooley called it, “Lamaze class for gardeners.”
It’s very informative. My husband and I are in the early stages of putting up a greenhouse. We have everything all set up and ready to go, so I signed up for four more classes. It’s close and it’s free — it’s great.
Kim Van Wormer, class attendee
During the course, Cooley encouraged participants to think about what they’re going to use and eat most from their gardens.
“Start with your tummy,” she said.
From there, focus on how much space you can dedicate to a garden at home, Cooley told the class.
“The goal is for participants to walk away feeling like they can do anything in a garden,” she said.
Kim Van Wormer, who recently moved to Puyallup from Michigan, is learning more about gardening in the Pacific Northwest and is setting up her own garden in her home.
“It’s very informative,” she said of the series. “My husband and I are in the early stages of putting up a greenhouse. We have everything all set up and ready to go, so I signed up for four more classes. It’s close and it’s free — it’s great.”
For Joella Graves of Puyallup, each spring she treks to a greenhouse to purchase her plants, something she was growing tired of. Now she’s learning the lay of the land of growing her plants from seeds.
“I’ve taken some of their other classes,” she said. “I thought I might as well go ahead and take the whole series.”
Puyallup resident Bill Horn has been gardening for 60-plus years, and still attends the class to glean more gardening tips.
“I like getting to hear the different takes on gardening,” he said. “And it focuses on educating folks from square one.”
Classes are taught by educators from Pierce County Public Works and Harvest Pierce County, a program of the Pierce Conservation District. More than 1,000 Pierce County residents attended last year’s series, which is now in its fifth year.
Classes are free, but space is limited. Pre-registration is available at www.piercecountywa.org/ediblegardens or by calling (253) 798-4133.
Edible Gardens Workshop Series
First Tuesday of each month from 6 to 8 p.m. at Washington State University Extension Puyallup, 2607 W Pioneer.
▪ April: Garden Soil 101
▪ May: Planting and Maintaining Your Summer Vegetable Garden
▪ June: Garden Bugs, Plant Diseases and Non-Toxic Alternatives
▪ July: Fall and Winter Gardening
▪ August: No classes
▪ September: Composting Basics
▪ October: Putting the Garden to Bed For the Winter
▪ November: Perennial Edible Gardens