A new year has begun and we are finally ready to begin our new series of workshops in the just-restored barn. This indoor space will be host to a range of activities this winter beginning with the Growing Cut Flowers Workshop on January 16. I am excited to offer this workshop as many people have romantic dreams of having cut flowers from the garden as they plant those first seeds. And then when the season is in full-swing and they don’t have enough flowers at once or are still waiting for others to bloom, they get frustrated. Planning out your bouquets, your flower beds, and the harvesting/conditioning is all part of a successful cutting-flower garden.
And while it may seem indulgent to have a cutting-flower garden rather than using your friable soil for fruits and vegetables, it is not the case at all. The flowers we grow support pollinators of all kinds. They also provide habitats for all kinds of insects, like the spiders that wait to catch their next meal. Other flowers like Tagetes (French Marigolds) have a strong scent that distracts pests from your crops (like hoverflies that want your carrots) and their roots underground deter pesky nematodes. Strategically planting flowers between vegetable crops can help shade plants or keep down weeds and planting flowers before/after certain crops can help break pest cycles.
In addition to our practical workshops we will be holding occasional Sunday morning Coffee Talks. Our first fireside talk is on Sunday March 6 with Shanyn Siegel discussing seed choices and how they impact our food system. She will also discuss the best choices for organic gardeners and participants will be lucky enough to walk away from some heirloom seeds that she is kind enough to share with us. Shanyn is a fountain of knowledge about all things ‘seedy’ and this first informal forum should be a real treat for both gardeners and non-gardeners alike! For more about Shanyn and her teaching check out her website.
Then later in March we will be kicking off the spring season with the family-friendly event Pysanky and Botanical Egg Dying. We’ll have fun with this Ukranian Easter Egg decorating tradition which you’ll find is actually really relaxing and a fun, social activity. We’ll also get out some of the botanical dyes that we use here on the sheep wool and see their lovely colors on the eggs.
Have a look at the events page to see the full line-up of workshops for the upcoming year and schedule some time to get over to the farm!