February 5, 2011 in Washington Voices

Cure spring fever with workshops

Pat Munts
 

OK, we are over the January hump. February usually doesn’t bring nasty storms (never say never, though). It only takes so much time to order seeds and dig out the seed-starting gear. That isn’t going to be enough to keep most of us diehards busy, though. We will become grumpy which isn’t conducive to positive relationships with our friends and family.

One good way to save these important relationships may be to get out of the house and take some classes to while away the time. If this is appealing, then sign up for the WSU Spokane County Master Gardeners annual Cabin Fever Gardening Symposium on Feb. 21. It’s the Presidents Day holiday, so many of you will have the day off. Just think; a whole day of talking about nothing but gardens.

The 16 workshops in this year’s program cover a wide range of topics for both the new and experienced gardener. There will be several workshops on different aspects of growing vegetables, fruit and herbs.

For gardeners new to the idiosyncrasies of the Inland Northwest climate, Marilyn Carothers will teach Gardening in the Inland Northwest 101 and enlighten you on short seasons and local microclimates.

Susan Mulvihill, the local guru of raised-bed gardening, will share her years of experience in building and managing raised beds.

Marilyn Lloyd will share her experiences growing organic vegetables, including the best varieties for our climate and managing our short growing seasons.

Elizabeth Casteel, otherwise known as the Tomato Lady, will share her other passion of growing, preserving and using fresh herbs from your garden.

Want to start all your vegetables in a greenhouse? Then sign up to learn how to build and manage a home greenhouse from Master Gardener Dixie Chichester.

For those of you who want to do less mowing, watering and maintenance in your garden, consider these options: Extension educator Chris Hilgert will talk about alternatives to turf lawns that don’t take as much mowing and watering. Diane Stutzman of Desert Jewels Nursery will share her experiences using native xeric plants to create landscapes that are beautiful but don’t need constant watering. If reducing water use is on your agenda for this year, Dan Loibl will show you how to design and build a drip irrigation system that can reduce your water bill but not the beauty of your garden.

Other workshops on the agenda include shade gardening, pruning shrubs and trees, growing berries, identifying weeds, composting, propagation and how surrounding yourself with nature in the garden can benefit your health.

The symposium will run from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Phase 1 Classroom on the WSU Riverpoint Campus, 668 E. Spokane Falls Blvd. Preregistration is required and registration forms can be downloaded from the Master Gardener website, www.spokane-county.wsu.edu/ spokane/eastside/, or by calling (509) 477-2048. Each person will be able to take up to four of the workshops. Cost is $60 per person and includes a box lunch. Deadline for registering is Feb. 14, and space is limited to the first 150 registrations.

Pat Munts is a Master Gardener who has gardened the same acre in Spokane Valley for 30 years. She can be reached by e-mail at pat@inlandnwgardening.com.

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