Grow Your Own

Planting particulars for spring

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

One way to tell that spring has arrived in western Washington is by noting when its pale denizens start to take advantage of longer days by boldly wearing flip-flops and shorts in public—regardless of whether the temperature gauge has yet to reach 60 degrees. If the sun is shining, then so are they.

Another harbinger of the season is the glut of gardening classes and plant sales that begin to pop up when the calendar finally transitions away from winter and into the warmer months. And, while it’s nearing the time when area farmers will begin selling their edible wares at markets from Blaine to Bellingham to Bow and beyond, it’s also when those who are interested in growing their own food start to think about planting particulars. Those who’d like a head start on the season can look to a variety of events taking place in the coming weeks that will point them in the right direction.

For example, on Sat., March 22 the Deming Library will feature a variety of experts who will take part in a free Spring Gardening Day. From 10am-1pm, Master Gardeners will lead a “Fruit Tree Grafting” class. The hands-on workshop will see each participant (or family) receiving two rootstocks for grafting and planting in their home orchard. At 1pm, Master Composter Elsie Konzelman will focus on “Worm Bin Composting.” If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to turn your food scraps and other organic material into a valuable soil amendment through the power of slimy invertebrates, this is the class for you. At 2pm, Mount Baker Berry Farm’s Stephanie Soicher, in partnership with Local Food Works, will lead a “Planting a Home Blueberry Patch” workshop, focusing on everything from soil testing to irrigation. All the classes are free, but require registration. For more info: 305-3600 or http://www.wcls.org

There’s no doubt those toiling in the fields at Everson’s Cloud Mountain Farm Center know what it takes to plant—and produce—in the climes of the Pacific Northwest. Since its first growing season in 1978, the 20-acre property has transitioned from an apple orchard and garlic farm into also growing vegetable crops and plants for nursery production. And since becoming a nonprofit community farm center in 2011, Cloud Mountain staff also gives hands-on learning experience to everyone from aspiring and experienced farmers to home gardeners. Most Saturdays through the spring, those who are interested in learning more about what those at Cloud Mountain have learned can show up and do so. Upcoming topics include “Growing Small Fruits,” “Growing Grapes for Wine and Eating,” “Learn the Artful Tradition of Espalier,” “Beginning Vegetable Gardening,” “Seed Starting,” “Advanced Stone Fruit Growing,” “Building Tunnels and Cold Frames,” and more. Many classes are free and require no registration, but some will require a payment and advance sign-up. For more info: http://www.cloudmountainfarmcenter.org

Also on the near horizon are the 26th annual Fairhaven Plant and Tree Sale happening Sat., March 29 in the historic district, free food-production-related Master Gardener events taking place the first Sunday of the month from April through September at Ferndale’s Hovander Homestead Park, and much more. Keep your eyes peeled for digging details, and your gardening gloves at the ready.

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