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Gardening: Workshops give gardeners jump on season

The ground may be frozen and snow may be flying but deep down most gardeners are beginning to feel the tug of the garden.

By next month, many gardeners I know will be pining for the smell of fresh soil and the feel of a rake in their hands. Unfortunately the weather probably won’t be any more cooperative than it is now. So you will all just have to check out some of the great garden classes that are coming up in the next few months.

First up is the annual Cabin Fever Gardening Symposium sponsored by the WSU Spokane County Master Gardeners and the Spokane County Master Gardener Foundation on Feb. 17 (Presidents Day) at the Phase 1 Classroom Building on the WSU Riverpoint Campus.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Cass Turnbull, founder of Plant Amnesty, an organization dedicated to good landscape management and proper pruning. Her mission is to “end the shameless torture and mutilation of trees and shrubs.” She is the author of “Cass Turnbull’s Guide to Pruning” and “The Complete Guide to Landscape Design, Renovation and Maintenance.” Turnbull will be speaking on the history of Plant Amnesty and its role in promoting good landscape management as well as giving a workshop on renovating trees and shrubs in the landscape during the symposium.

Other workshops at Cabin Fever will include keeping urban chickens, cooking with herbs, pollination and deer and vermin control. The event runs 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and costs $75 per person for the workshops, lunch and WSU parking. For more information and online registration, go to or call (509) 477-2048.

Turnbull will also be giving an advanced pruning workshop for landscape professionals Feb. 18 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the WSU Extension Office, 222 N. Havana St. The course is $50 per person and ISA certified arborist credits will be available. Pesticide recertification credits have been requested. Online registration is available at eastside/index.htm.

In March, the Spokane County Master Gardeners will begin a four-week series of Beginning Gardening and Growing Your Own Food workshops at the WSU Spokane County Extension Office. If you are a beginning gardener, these classes will be your best opportunity to get a basic education before you start digging in the garden. There will be two different workshops each Saturday and you can mix and match them depending on your interest. See box above for details.

Pat Munts has gardened in the Spokane Valley for more than 35 years. She can be reached at