According to Kathy Augustin of Augustine's Farm on King Street, gardening magazines are fun, but, she says, "If you really want to learn it and do it, there's nothing like a hands-on workshop where you can stop and ask questions."
Augustin, who admits she doesn't remember who first added the "e" to the Augustin family farm sign on King Street years ago, but she does remember discovering her own green thumb when she married Farmer John 40 years ago. Kathy and John, who love the farming life, are hosting a free series of workshops starting Sunday, March 24th.
A visit to Augustine's Farm in early March found Kathy mixing soil and rooting hundreds of geranium cuttings. The smell in the greenhouse is difficult to put into words. It is the smell of the earth, the scent of a summer afternoon.
Because Kathy loves to share her passion for growing flowers and vegetables, she and John are offering a workshop series free of charge. Topics will cover soil composition, seed sowing, and establishing a back yard flower and vegetable garden from scratch – including building a raised bed.
"There's nothing like walking out the back door and picking what you'll cook for dinner," said Kathy, who is eager to pass along the tips and skills she's accumulated over the years.
The workshop series is free of charge, though it is only open to adults. Both novice and longtime gardeners will pick up tips and tricks. "Everyone is welcome," said Kathy. "The more the merrier."
"Grow Your Own" Workshop Series - FREE, RSVP (203) 532-9611
Sunday, March 24th 1:30 - 3 p.m.
How to sow seeds - lettuces, broccoli, tomatoes. Kathy will demonstrate transplating techniques, and everyone will be given tomato seeds and containers to take home.
Sunday, April 7th 1:30 - 3 p.m.
How to construct a raised garden bed, 10' long x 5' wide from three 10-foot planks of lumber and necessary hardware, as well as keeping predators at bay and prepping the bed for a good yield. Kathy says, "The beauty of a varied bed is you mix your own soil."
Sunday, Apri 21st 1:30 - 3 p.m.
Planting out on raising beds: lettuce plants and seeds, radish seeds, arugula seeds, parsley plants and seeds.
Sunday, May 4th 1:30 - 3 p.m.
Building containers, hanging baskets, pots and window boxes.
Time to sow: squash, cucumbers and beans.
A Note about Peas! According to Farmer John, in order to include peas in a raised bed garden, they should be sown before the workshops start. He suggests gardeners mark their calendars for March 17th as the ideal date for sowing snow peas, snap peas and English peas.
"Peas are the first crop. They're a 'cold crop'," explained Farmer John. "If you like peas, remember the date March 17th and the luck of the Irish for green peas."
There is no fee to attend the "Grow Your Own" workshops, but those interested are asked to call and leave their name and phone number on the farm's answering machine at (203) 532-9611. All classes will be held at Augustine's Farm, 1332 King St.