Garden Guru: Expand Your Knowledge Through Workshops

For newcomers, diving into gardening can come with mixed emotions: enthusiasm and anticipation one moment, intimidation and dread the next.

There can be a sense at times that even with all the information and how-to-do's you’ve digested, the flowers and veggies in your care are doomed.

This is where gardening workshops can help. When you participate, not only can you learn more about gardening topics that interest you, but you can also ask questions, troubleshoot things that aren’t going quite right, and start building confidence. 

Gardening workshops can help you solve this type of problem | Vego Garden

Hands-on experiences

The benefits of attending gardening workshops don’t stop there. One particularly helpful aspect of workshops, at least in-person events, is some give you a chance to try the things the instructors are talking about while you’re there. 

During hands-on workshops hosted by Young Urban Farmers (YUF) in Ontario, Canada, for example, participants get to create their own cold frames (for protecting plants from frost), prepare for seed-starting, or begin the process of container gardening.

And in Norfolk, Virginia, the Hermitage Museum & Gardens recently offered a hands-on workshop on pruning trees, shrubs, and flowering plants. Participants got to work alongside the museum’s curator of gardens and grounds, a tremendous opportunity to learn from an expert and boost their confidence.

If there’s a skill you’d like to practice, odds are good that you can find a workshop that focuses on it.

Customized learning

A couple transplanting and learning more about gardening at a workshop | Vego Garden

That gets us to another plus: These days, gardening workshops cover just about every topic imaginable, from attracting butterflies to growing your own mushrooms.

You’ll also find a wealth of programs specifically for beginners that cover basic gardening skills, plant selection, soil preparation, planting techniques, and garden management.

Another popular workshop topic is organic gardening, which usually includes soil preparation, fertilizers, weed and pest control, and composting.

Some workshops are geared toward gardeners in specific regions. The Texas Master Gardener program, for example, recently offered a presentation on growing drought-tolerant native plants. In Cleveland, Ohio, the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes offered a program on winter seed sowing with chilly Midwest conditions in mind.

Where to look

Learning best gardening techniques through workshops | Vego Garden

If the idea of trying a workshop appeals to you, you may be surprised at the volume of opportunities available in your own community and the surrounding area.

With a bit of research, you’ll spot programs hosted by cities, garden clubs, nonprofits, nurseries, universities, museums, master gardener associations, and county extension services. 

To get started, try perusing local event calendars, social media posts, and local newspapers. Or, you can just do an online search for “gardening workshops near me.”

Not only that, but you also have the option of searching for virtual workshops on topics that interest you, opening the door to even more topics. While they won’t necessarily have hands-on components, you can take these online programs when it’s most convenient for you and even start and stop them as needed. 

A few of the many online workshop opportunities available to you include:

  • Texas A&M University’s AgriLife program offers a wide range of online courses for the public, including Aquaponics: System Design, Grow, Eat & Go (for youth), Butterfly Gardening, and Tomato 101: The Basics of Growing Tomatoes.
  • The Native Plant Trust in Massachusetts offers online programs. Some are for continuing education credits, but the trust also offers electives. Examples include the Buttercup Family, Predatory Plants, Winter Pruning, and Designing with Native Plants.
  • Dallas Garden School offers livestream, interactive programs as well as self-paced video courses in a wide range of prices and topics. Examples include Gardening 101: Fundamentals for Beginners or New Residents, The Well-Designed Garden, and Native & Perennial Flower Gardens.
  • AARP’s Virtual Community Center offers free gardening courses from time to time, and AARP membership is not required. The community center newsletter announces upcoming events.
  • Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, offers in-person programs as well as online workshops on gardening and art.
  • Urban Garden, a Houston nonprofit, offers about 60 gardening courses a year on subjects ranging from caring for fruit trees to sustainable living through permaculture. In-person and online options are available.

Final thoughts

Gardening workshops can help gardeners enjoy the fruits of their labor | Vego Garden

Gardening workshops — and the benefits they offer — aren’t limited to beginners. Plenty of workshops are designed for intermediate and advanced gardeners. No matter how much experience you have under your belt, there are always new skills to learn.

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