By Kim Barnes
Healthy Archuleta/Food Coalition
Planning ahead is important for any garden, especially here in Archuleta County with such a short growing season. It can be tricky to grow food at high altitudes. Luckily, there are many experienced gardeners in our community who have learned how to do it well and who are committed to sharing their knowledge with others.
The Growers and Producers Group, a working group of Healthy Archuleta (also known as the FSFE Food Coalition), develops initiatives to increase food production in Archuleta County. This year, the group has created a robust educational series to help equip community members with the basic knowledge and skills needed to successfully grow some of their own fresh produce.
The series will begin with Seed to Supper, a six-week introduction to the fundamentals of gardening. This course is ideal for community members who have been wanting to grow some of their own fresh produce but are unsure about how to get started. Seed to Supper topics include garden planning, principles and practices for good soil health, methods and timing for sowing and transplanting, garden maintenance and harvest practices.
Seed to Supper will be held in the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association conference room on Wednesday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m., beginning on Feb. 8 and running through March 15. The fee for the six-week course is $50. The course will be taught by Robin Young of CSU Extension, Chris Frederics of TerraWalk Farm, and Kim Barnes of MASK Ranch.
If you’d like to meet the instructors and learn more about Seed to Supper, there will be an introductory session at the library on Thursday, Jan. 19, from 6 to 7 p.m. Space in the course is limited and registration is required. To learn more or to register for the course, please visit https://www.foodcoalition4archuleta.org/garden-education.html or call (401) 206-4579. The deadline to register is Feb. 1.
In addition to the six-week class, there will be a series of 10 two-hour workshops offered throughout the spring and summer. These workshops will be taught by a variety of local farmers and gardeners, and are designed to give participants information and hands-on experience with current and upcoming garden tasks. The first in the series will be on March 18 and will cover the basics of starting seeds indoors. It will be held in conjunction with a free community Seed Swap.
Other workshop topics include planting and protecting the early spring garden, soil preparation and digging new garden beds, basic irrigation setup, a free community plant swap and sale, farm and garden tours, work-and-learn days and food preservation. The fee for most workshops is $10 and registration is required. Participants can sign up for one workshop or for the entire series. To see the full workshop schedule or to register for workshops, please visit https://www.foodcoalition4archuleta.org/garden-education.html.
Healthy Archuleta is committed to ensuring that the education series is accessible to all community members, regardless of their financial situations. To inquire about financial assistance or to donate toward the cost of a neighbor’s course fees, send an email to email@example.com.