Gardening workshop series in Ladysmith starts Feb. 7

The Ladysmith Community Gardens Society and Town of Ladysmith are presenting a series of free workshops Feb. 7 to March 20.

Ladysmith Community Gardens Society board member Roxanne Boyko is excited about a series of free workshops the society and town are offering.

Ladysmith Community Gardens Society board member Roxanne Boyko is excited about a series of free workshops the society and town are offering.

If your green thumb is suffering from the winter blues, the Ladysmith Community Gardens Society and Town of Ladysmith are presenting a series of free workshops to help you get both thumbs up in time for the growing season.

“It’s a classroom opportunity for discussion, sharing, what worked, what didn’t work, a time for reflection,” said LCGS board member Roxanne Boyko. “If you have an interest in growing and gardening, whether you would like to and just want to figure out how to get started or you are a master gardener looking for new tips to add to what you already know, then come.”

All seven workshops will be held Tuesdays at the Frank Jameson Community Centre between 7 and 9 p.m. starting tonight, Feb. 7.

The first workshop, led by Nick Versteeg, will centre around food security and the benefits of growing locally.

Local soil expert Michael Rowell will lead workshop No. 2 (Feb. 14) and show how using fertilizer and making your own compost can result in bigger, healthier plants.

On Feb. 21, Mayor Rob Hutchins will share the secrets of successful square foot gardening.

The basic premise of square foot gardening is to utilize the entire space by sectioning the plot into one-foot-by-one-foot squares.

“It’s ideal for our community garden because we have smaller plots,” Boyko said. “If you have healthy plants, you don’t need a lot of seeds so your cost of growing is down, and if the plants themselves are healthy, you don’t have as many weeds.”

Bees will dominate the discussions during workshop four (Feb. 28), led by a representative from Fredrich’s Honey. Attendees will learn the differences between mason and honey bees and how beneficial both can be to your garden.

The next workshop (March 6) will be led by Joan Gerlitzki and will be about companion/symbiotic gardening, which is essentially the art of maximizing one’s yield by placing certain plants together.

“With companion gardening, it’s the understanding that you can certainly put anything everywhere, but if you place certain plants beside each other, they’ll do better,” Boyko explained. “There’s some plants that like each other, just like some people like some people better.”

The irrigation secrets of the Town of Ladysmith will be shared March 13 during a workshop led by Glenn Britton, teaching gardeners how to optimize water use.

The seventh and final workshop (March 20) will be led by master gardener Dorothy Kieser and will be on building greenhouses to enable gardeners to extend their growing season.

The LCGS was founded in June 2010. The workshops are a part of the society’s mandate to promote education and awareness. Members  grow fresh food for the Ladysmith Food Bank on a designated plot.

“One of the things that drew me to the community garden was because I wanted to grow my own food and I was curious to find out how much food I could grow for my family on the plot,” said Boyko, who has been a society member for about a year.

She said the community gardens attract both young and old, regardless of experience.

“There’s such a beautiful range of demographics that it’s fun. There are seniors that come down to garden and they have stories about way back when they were kids, and it’s brilliant to watch them.”

The society currently has about 50 members but always welcomes more. Contact Anne at 250-666-2743 or e-mail anneinasia@hotmail.com for information.

The LCGS will hold its annual general meeting March 3 from 3-4:30 p.m. at the Ladysmith Resources Centre. Old and new members are encouraged to attend.

To pre-register for the workshops, call 250-245-6424.