Yep, 2014 is coming on strong. Might we suggest that taking a class on growing food or other earthy practices is easier than losing weight -- and more fun, too. It might even help you get in shape. Here are several great classes to sign up for now with a friend or on your own. Happy New Year!
Simple Soil Building at The Simple Farm January 9, 10:15 a.m.
At this workshop, you'll learn: simple soil building, "lasagna gardening," how to cover crops, mulch, compost and proper water management to make gardening cheaper, easier and more productive. Cost: $15
Starting Plant from Seed via Valley Permaculture Alliance January 29, 7 p.m.
Usher in the new year by learning how to grow from seed. It's often the more sustainable and more affordable option. Learn what seeds you should start indoors now to be moved outdoors as the weather warms and learn what you can start sowing outside.The description says, "This class will include seed selection, sowing, care, how to help your plants make that delicate transition from nurtured seedling to a hearty mature plant that will thrive outdoors in the elements, and much more." Cost: $15 or Attend with a Friend: 2 for $25. (Check website for up to date location information.)
Lettuce Bowl Gardening at the Southwest Gardener February 2, Noon
February is the perfect time to plan for warmer weather gardening. At the Southwest Gardener, local grower Gregory Ware will help you plan your edible gardening. You'll get help with selecting appropriate vegetables and herbs for the season, soil preparation, watering guidelines and hints for maximizing the growing season. You will also select three of Gregory's organic vegetable or herb plants to take home and plant in your own garden. Cost: $40
Savvy Cooking with Citrus at the Desert Botanical Garden February 2, 1 p.m.
Chef Rachel Albert helps you learn new ways to use seasonal fruit in this class. "Come hungry and enjoy ample samples and take home printed recipes plus preparation, cooking and serving tips," according to the class description. This is a wheat-free, gluten-free, dairy-free demonstration class at the Desert Botanical Garden. Cost: general/non member $62; members $50
Secrets to Growing Tasty Tomatoes in the Low Desert at The Simple Farm February 6, 9 a.m. This Simple Farm workshop is perfect if you're struggling to produce tomatoes in your garden. It can be a little tricky here in the Phoenix area, but luckily these are locals who can guide you through the process. Cost: $15
Okay, this is exactly a formal class, but the Carbon Nation film screening with director Peter Byck at the Arizona Science Center is free and not to be missed. This documentary movie is about climate-change solutions. "Even if you doubt the severity of the impact of climate change or just don't buy it at all, this is still a compelling and relevant film that illustrates how solutions to climate change also address other social, economic and national security issues," says the website. Cost: Free
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Designing with Perennial Vegetables at the Desert Botanical Garden February 27, 6:30 p.m.
Asparagus, artichokes, and other perennial vegetables can usually live several years, and learning their seasonal needs offers gardeners the option of integrating them into the larger garden. "Learn the secrets of maintaining perennial vegetables in your garden and making the most of the seasonal harvest," according to the official class description. Cost: general/non member $38; members $30
Warm Weather Edible Gardening at the Southwest Gardener March 16, Noon Now is the perfect time to get your warm weather garden planted. Local grower Gregory Ware will help you plan your edible gardening for the coming months. You'll get good, local help with selecting appropriate vegetables and herbs for the season, soil preparation, watering guidelines and hints for maximizing the growing season. You will also select three of Gregory's organic vegetable or herb plants to take home and plant in your garden bed. Cost: $35