By Francie Lin, GFN Writer-in-Residence I think everyone would rather forget the early pandemic days…
Check out a recap of our Spring 2019 Giving Garden Workshops!
Thanks to a grant given by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Grow Food Northampton was able to hold 3 free workshops in our own Giving Garden this spring! The Giving Garden workshops work to bring in members of our community and educate them about gardening techniques and skills. As this outdoor classroom grows, so does the skills of our volunteers!
Mushroom Growing Basics Workshop
Grow Food Northampton hosted a free Mushroom Growing Basics Workshop on May 5th, with Paul Lagreze of New England Wild Edibles. This was Paul’s second year offering a hands-on workshop at the garden, helping grow gourmet mushrooms for the Giving Garden. Growing on logs and wood chips were the primary techniques taught for mushroom cultivation. In pairs, participants learned and practiced step-by-step inoculation of shiitake mushrooms on logs. Participants prepared a mushroom log for themselves and for our Giving Garden so that we can continue to provide fresh, high-quality produce to our local partner organizations.
Asparagus Planting and No-Till Farming Basics Workshop
Grow Food Northampton hosted a free Asparagus Planting and No-Till Farming Basics Workshop on May 15th, with Dan Pratt of Astarte Farm. Dan focused on his experiences with using no-till methods at Astarte Farm in Hadley to offer strategies for sequestering carbon, increasing soil health and growing nutrient-dense produce. Asparagus was the focus, as participants prepared and planted three beds of asparagus and other perennials for the Giving Garden. Asparagus is a perennial that is unable to be picked until its 2nd or 3rd year, showing Grow Food’s commitment and investment in the land.
Soil Health Workshop
Grow Food Northampton hosted a free Soil Health Workshop on June 19th for individuals interested in becoming more educated about the different components of soil and the importance of good soil health, without submitting soil samples to a lab. Caro Roszell, Soil Carbon Program Coordinator at NOFA/Mass, led the 2 hour hands-on workshop, explaining what measurable features in soil affect its capacity for building and storing organic carbon. Participants received a workbook of test protocols to take home, and learned how to assess their own soil with measurements like earthworm count, average root depth, aggregate grade, infiltration, compaction, and more. As a wrap-up, individuals spent time working in the Giving Garden, practicing soil-building techniques.
Many thanks to Harvard Pilgrim Health Care for making this possible!