Our landscape is still white with a covering snowfall that seems to have been with us the entire winter, but there are a few gardening events on the calendar that will offer a taste of the greener days just ahead!
My gardening activities for this year began in January with a trip to Amherst, MA to attend a Seed School, and continued a couple weeks ago with a drive up to St. College to attend the annual Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture’s Farming for the Future Conference.
Passing Time Until the New Growing Season Arrives
Now there are some events taking place closer to home and closer to the time when things will finally begin to look like spring again. The honeybees haven’t resumed regular flights outside of the hive, but I have noticed more and more robins hanging around, and I don’t doubt that there are some plants rising up underneath of that snow cover.
I am looking forward to a new growing season and will be starting seeds indoors very soon, but in the meantime there are a number of gardening conferences, workshops, and classes that I plan to take in. Here is a rundown of some gardening events that are taking place here in the Central PA area this weekend.
The Pennsylvania Garden Expo
Billed as the largest and longest running gardening event in Central Pennsylvania, the PA Garden Expo begins today February 21st and runs through Sunday February 23rd. It may still be winter outside but you’ll think it’s spring as you tour the display gardens, landscapes, and water features that are set up inside of the Farm Show Complex.
There are also lots of lectures and workshops geared towards gardening, native plants, healthy food preparation, attracting wildlife, container gardening, and raising herbs. Local experts including Bob Carey, host of Garden Talk Radio, will be on hand to answer questions and share their experiences.
Backyard Fruit Growers Winter Workshops
The Backyard Fruit Growers will hold their Winter Workshops on Saturday February 22nd at the Landis Valley Farm Museum in Lancaster, PA. The morning break-out sessions will feature Bass Samaan on “Growing Unusual Fruits in Pennsylvania;” Howard Frysinger presenting a program on “Raising Honey Bees;” and Ted Weeden giving a presentation on “Searching Out Pawpaws.”
The afternoon sessions will include Steve Shambeda demonstrating “Apple Tree Pruning Basics;” Fred Habegger offering tips on “Nature Photography at Its Best;” And Alex Wenger discussing ideas for raising “Gourmet Strawberries.” This event starts at 9:30 AM and registration takes place at the Landis Valley Museum Fire House.
Oyler’s Organic Farm Workshops
Oyler’s Organic Farm in Biglerville, PA has been running a series of cooking and food preservation classes that will continue throughout the year. Tomorrow they are holding a Fermented Beverage class that teach you how to easily make your own refreshing and flavorful, probiotic-rich drinks, such as an herbal ginger brew.
Other upcoming classes in the series will include an Artisan and Sourdough Bread Making workshop, Gluten-Free Cooking Classes, a couple sessions on Canning Techniques, and class on Making Fermented Foods. Visit the Classes and Events page on their website for more information and the complete schedule.
Rodale Institute Seed Starting Class
For those of you itching to dig your fingers deep into some compost rich soil, just head on over to the Rodale Institute this Saturday to participate in their Indoor Seed Starting Workshop. I attended last year and picked up some good ideas related to propagating plants from seeds, transplants, and cuttings.
Everyone had a great time taking in the lectures, asking questions, and then getting hands on with planting seeds, potting up transplants, and starting new cuttings. Best of all each of us left with packages of garden seeds, transplants of cold hardy vegetable seedlings to set in the garden, and cuttings of ornamentals to care for as they took root and eventually turned into new plants!
Other Upcoming Garden Events
While there are a flurry of gardening events taking place this weekend, this is just the beginning of what is to come as spring and a new growing season quickly approach. Next week the Pennsylvania Garden Show of York takes place, Rodale Institute will host a two-day Honeybee Conservancy Class, and one of the largest shows around, the Philadelphia Flower Show begins.
It looks like a great start to the season here in PA in spite of the fact that we are still digging out from the snow with even more in the forecast for next week. These workshops and similar ones taking place in your own local regions are sure to help bridge the gap between now and the days when snow, ice, and cold will be long forgotten as we enjoy the warm days of springtime!
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