Virtual gardening workshop focuses on high-elevation growing |

Virtual gardening workshop focuses on high-elevation growing

Cheyanne Neuffer

Birds are chirping and the snow is almost completely melted. Spring weather means it’s the perfect time to get outside and get your hands dirty.

Having a bountiful supply of fruits and vegetables sounds wonderful in these times, but living in Tahoe means it takes a bit more to get a thriving garden.

UC Davis TERC, University of Nevada-Reno, UCCE Master Gardeners of Lake Tahoe, and Slow Food Lake Tahoe teamed up and created a virtual high elevation gardening workshop.

Tune in to enhance your home growing skills.

The workshop will teach how to grow fruits and vegetables in Tahoe and give tricks how to have success in high elevation growing. Each week the workshops will feature a different plant and how to grow it.

The virtual workshop starts on May 5 and runs until June 6 on Zoom.

“It has always been such a well-received community event where people come and trade Tahoe gardening war stories, swap recipes, and brag about the fruits and veggies they were able to produce,” said Program Coordinator of UC Davis TERC, Alison Toy in an email. In-person workshops were usually held at 5-6 different locations around the basin, some with over 40 attendees.

“Everyone was devastated at the thought of cancelling, so when it was proposed to go virtual, everyone immediately enthusiastically agreed to participate,” said Toy. “It’s going to be interesting because the subject matter is normally so hands-on, so we will see how well our plans translate to a virtual platform.”

Since the coronavirus outbreak people are spending more time at home and many are looking to traditional ways of getting food.

“There has been a huge resurgence,” said Katie Merino, the Manager of Lake Tahoe Food Bank Garden and board member of Slow Food about people interested in gardening.

Merino says that this resurgence is partially because some people are worried about food security and the supply chain right now, people are wanting ways to be more self reliant.

She also says that people are at home spending more time in their yards wanting to feel like they are getting stuff done. She says they are receiving lots of calls from people with questions and asking for help about gardening.

“It’s amazing how much food you can grow in Tahoe,” says Merino. Slow Food is a sustainable garden located in Truckee that promotes local food production and local food security in the Tahoe Basin. Slow Food donates food every week and last summer, they donated 311 pounds of fresh organic food to Sierra Community House Food Bank.

The five workshops are free and are suitable for all ages. The first workshop is Organic Gardening 101. It will feature how to grow an organic garden, the benefits and challenges all correlated with growing organically.

This informative and fun class will teach about cultivation techniques, plant history and background on each of the plants.

Toy said that the response to the virtual classes has been really encouraging.

“With the shelter-in-place order, I think many people realize that the home garden is an excellent outdoor activity that’s not only potentially very productive but also very satisfying,” said Toy.

To sign up for the workshop, fill out the form for the corresponding workshop below.

A link to the video will be sent to you. After attending the workshop, free starter plants are available.

There will be 4 plant pickup sites in the Tahoe Basin: Truckee, South Lake Tahoe, Kings Beach and Incline. Each pickup location will be following social distancing guidelines. The workshops are free but they ask that attendees fill out a survey regarding information on the plants. The organizations are collecting data about which species do the best in the basin.

The following week’s workshops include potatoes, lettuce and kale, artichokes and tomatoes.

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