Monday, March 19, 2012

A Successful Starting Seedlings Workshop

Bettylou Sandy shows students well mixed potting soil
Many students with a wide variety of gardening experience were present at our Starting Seedlings workshop this past Saturday at Common Ground High School and Farm in New Haven, CT.  Co-taught by Common Ground farmer Shannon Raider and longtime gardener and CT NOFA board vice president Bettylou Sandy, the workshop had a great mix of basic information for beginners and more technical training for those who are more experienced.  Bettylou and Shannon kept the workshop well structured in order to provide the most pertinent information for attendees, starting out with a description of the importance of planning and organization, then moving into talking about supplies, temperature, potting mix, water, and light.  Afterward, they discussed the process of planing seeds, germination, and transplanting into a garden setting.  Throughout the class they interspersed opportunities for the students to see and feel this process for themselves, from passing around seeds, to inviting everyone to stick their hands in a bucket of soil to feel the texture.

Shannon Raider and Bettylou Sandy hold
up a properly filled and planted set of
seedling cells

One important thread that carried through the entire workshop was the importance (both ecologically and financially) of reusing existing materials already present in the average household as seed starting supplies.  After all, there's no need to go out and buy brand new seed starting containers if you have egg cartons, grocery store berry packaging, or any other container that can be divided into cells.  Many of these recycled items also have transparent lids or toppers that when closed make perfect greenhouses for starting seedlings, and are an easy and inexpensive way to extend your growing season.

If you missed this workshop, there are still more opportunities get in on the action. Our series of workshops at Common Ground this spring are not yet over! Our Organic Gardening Workshop on Saturday May 5th offers instruction and seasonal tips on what can be planted in your garden now and what must wait for warmer weather. Learn how to prep your garden beds, plan your plantings, deal with early garden pests, and improve soil fertility using organic methods.  At only $10 per person, this a great opportunity to expand your knowledge at a low cost.

If you want to see more photos from our Starting Seedlings Workshop, check out our Flickr page here.  To see our other events this spring, check out our website.

Have a great afternoon and enjoy the warm weather!

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