By Reggie Solomon
Attending a local gardening workshop is a great way to prepare for the summer gardening season and get tips from other urban gardeners in your area.
Though it tried its darndest, the 10-inches of fresh snow didn’t stop me and my gardening buddy from attending a gardening workshop hosted by the New Haven Ecology Project [NHEP] at Common Ground High School, a local charter school that sits atop a 20-acre farm.
Surprisingly given the wintry conditions, the workshop drew a solid crowd of 25-30 people. The assortment of urban dwellers in attendance included – young people, older people, renters, homeowners, and a vibrantly-dressed group of Muslim women. You could feel the immense energy everyone was waiting to channel into their gardens resting beneath the snow.
Joe Lesniak, manager of Common Ground’s organic farm, superbly led the workshop. He tackled questions on how to address urban soil contamination, how to best site a garden around the shadows of neighboring buildings/houses, and how to get rid of backyard pests.
The best part of the workshop was at the end when everyone received seed trays, potting soil, and heirloom tomato and pepper seeds to sow on the spot. I planted an entire tray of heirloom tomatoes and peppers.
The meager $15 for the workshop included homemade soup made from vegetables grown in Common Ground’s garden, heirloom seeds, seed trays and soil, not to mention Joe’s expert garden instruction — basically so good of a deal you felt as if you were stealing something.
Lesson learned here — find a gardening workshop near you and GO!