Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Take (or Teach) a Garden Class

By Christina VanGinkel

Garden centers and clubs often offer classes at this time of the year. You can usually sign up for various classes and courses ranging from how to create a container garden to environmentally friendly garden tips. You can often find courses through local colleges or extension offices also. Whether you are a beginner, just considering the many facets of gardening, be it growing a plot of flowers, to planting a vegetable garden able to supplement or sustain your family's groceries year round, or even somewhat of an expert in getting the ungrowable to grow, you will usually be able to find a class or course to enrich your gardening skills.

I happen to live not too far from a relatively new apple orchard that grows dwarf apple trees. They sell both apples and the trees themselves. They recently offered a class onsite that taught attendees how to plant, prune, and care for the dwarf trees. They offered a sack lunch and at the end of the day, all attendees were given a certificate to come back and pick up a fresh off the tree apple when they are ripe for picking! If there is any type of specially center such as this in your area, they might be able to offer you access to a unique class such as this, that you will not likely find elsewhere.

If none of these sources work out, either because they are not offering any classes at all, or just not in a field that you are interested in learning more about, you can also check online. A search for online gardening courses or online gardening classes will provide you with quite a selection to peruse. A few that we found included:

Creating a Living Wreath
Basic Landscape Design
Advanced landscape Design
Obtaining Continual Bloom in your Perennial Garden
Irrigation Basics
Plant Selection
Dealing with Diseases and Pests
Garden Basics
Designing and Creating Garden Structures that Work

This is of course just a small sampling of class titles that we found. There were many more on numerous garden subjects. If there is a garden topic that you are interested in learning more about, chances are you will be able to find a class locally or online that will provide all the information you could ever want or need to know on the subject.

If you happen to be knowledgeable about a particular aspect of gardening, maybe you could even offer a class of your own. Church groups and women's clubs are often more than happy to offer a class or two on gardening to their members. You could volunteer to teach the class, and to keep costs at a minimum, if you are going to help them create a container garden for example, have a list of needed supplies printed up ahead of time, and just ask that every attendee bring their own supplies. If you plan to charge a small fee, print up a flyer explaining what the cost will cover. This can be a great way to meet others who are interested in gardening as much as you are.

Other possibilities for teaching a class or course could include area nursing homes or extended living centers that try to keep their occupants as active as possible. They are often quite eager to have someone come in for a class on such a popular subject, or even a demonstration of some sort if a class would be a bit too much for the residents. If you are really energetic, you might even want to offer your services to a school. Even the youngest school aged children would love to learn about gardening. A simple project such as planting seeds in Styrofoam cups is a great way to introduce children to gardening and all of its wonders.

Whether you plan to attend a class, take one online, or venture out to teach and share what you know on this favored pastime, spring and the coming summer months are the perfect time of year for participating in anything garden related. Your knowledge can be put to immediate use most of the time and with fall just a few months away, now is also a good time to look ahead for classes that might be better taken or taught at that just as important time of the year for gardening.

No comments: