Summer is upon us, but before everyone checks out for the lakes and forests, I have a couple of workshop opportunities you might want to take advantage of.
June is a good month to get a handle on many of our noxious weeds before they go to seed. Next Thursday evening, WSU Spokane County Extension’s Small Farm Program and USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service will present a talk and field walk on identifying and controlling noxious weeds. A major emphasis will be on using Integrated Pest Management techniques, including using insects and animals to do the control. The workshop will run from 6 to 9 p.m. at the WSU Spokane County Extension Office, 222 N. Havana St. To register go to http://www.spokane-county.wsu.edu/ Rural%20Living/Weed%20Flyer.pdf and either pay online or download the registration form. Cost is $15.
Noxious weeds have been deemed undesirable because they adversely affect native vegetation, reduce economic values of crop, pasture and forestland, and degrade wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities. The first hour of the class will be a slide presentation of some of our local weeds and their control, followed by a field walk to hone your identification skills and look for the presence of biocontrol insects.
The second workshop is for K-12 educators interested in learning more about starting a school garden and integrating garden education into classroom curricula. Yours truly, with WSU Spokane County Extension and Lauren Morley of EWU’s Department of Education, will present a two-day workshop June 25-26, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the extension office. Cost is $85, which includes educator clock hours, and $61 without. Lunch and materials are included. For questions and to register, contact Morley at firstname.lastname@example.org. The workshop is limited to 25 people.
Morley will discuss curricula that are available to integrate gardening into classroom learning with an emphasis on the experiential learning programs of Life Lab in California. She will also discuss how to integrate gardening learning into core curricula requirements and practical classroom and garden management issues. Attendees will receive extensive resource materials for future use.
On the practical side, I will discuss how to develop a supportive community that will help design, build and manage a garden. We will talk about when to start a garden project, what varieties are best for our area, basic gardening skills, strategies for managing a garden over the summer and using greenhouses and hoop houses to extend the growing season.
We will visit school and community gardens at Chester Elementary, the Community School and Riverfront Farms to see how gardening is being used as an education tool.
Chester Elementary has large garden boxes for each grade level while the Community School offers a horticulture program that teaches high school-age youths horticulture skills they can use in the real world. Riverfront Farms offers a summer gardening internship program to youth 13 to 18 to give them gardening, and life skills they can use in the future.