Workshops teach gardening skills to beginners

A series of hands-on classes are being offered throughout the summer in Kimberley and Cranbrook to immigrants and those new to gardening

Shannon Duncan

Shannon Duncan

Newcomers to Canada who have settled in Cranbrook and Kimberley will be able to learn about starting a veggie patch thanks to a series of workshops this year.

Starting on Tuesday, June 11, three workshops will be held over the summer, with another three to run in the fall.

The purpose of the workshops is to teach people to grow who may not know a lot about conditions in the East Kootenay.

“It’s a great opportunity for those new to the area, or new to gardening, to learn more about growing food locally and for longtime local residents to share local garden wisdom and learn more about the people moving to the area.  Exchanging culture in the garden, transplanting new techniques, sharing the tried and true, and feeding inspiration for all will be the goals of this time together in the garden,” explained Wildsight’s Shannon Duncan, who is coordinating the workshops.

The classes will be held in Kimberley at the Cominco Community Garden, and at Cranbrook at the Public Produce Garden in MacKinnon Park.

The focus will be on the perks and challenges of growing here, as well as on sharing knowledge and skills acquired elsewhere.

“The workshops will follow the local growing season, covering as much as possible the basics of growing in this climate and covering the main challenges (specific pests, cold weather, dry weather) as we go through the seasons,” said Duncan.

“There will be something for everyone, even experienced gardeners, as there will be techniques explored that could be new to gardeners, and there is also a great opportunity for exchange among gardeners at the workshops from both longtime locals, and immigrants who could bring entirely new ideas and techniques, or even new varieties of produce to try out growing here.”

The first workshop, titled “Fresh Beginnings”, will be on creating a garden bed, container gardens and ‘no dig’ potatoes. It will be held on Tuesday, June 11 from 6 to 8 p.m. in Kimberley, and on Wednesday, June 12 from 6 to 8 p.m. in Cranbrook.

On July 9 in Kimberley and July 10 in Cranbrook, gardeners will be taught to “Feed the Growth”, with a workshop on compost and manure as fertilizer, tomato care, and pest control.

On August 6 in Kimberley and August 7 in Cranbrook, learn about “Berries, Roots and New Shoots”, at the final summer workshop on berry and root vegetable harvesting and care, and succession planting.

The workshops have been made possible through the Welcoming Communities project, funded by the provincial and federal governments. Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy, Cranbrook Food Action Committee and Wildsight Kimberley Cranbrook have teamed up to offer the free workshops to connect newcomers and beginning gardeners with local knowledge, resources and the experience they need to grow their own food here.

Organizers of the series are looking for more local garden mentors to help build this community by sharing their knowledge and wisdom.

To get involved or to register, in Cranbrook: cranbrookfood@gmail.com or call 250-427-7981, in Kimberley: shannon@wildsight.ca or call 250-427-2535 ext 223.