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As lush greenery is filling in the landscape, many of us are planning and planting our home gardens. This summer we are offering four great Weekend Classes that will help you to expand and grow your gardens. A new class by local farmer Jen Stockbridge of Stockbridge Farms in Andrews, NC, will teach you all about chickens with an emphasis on egg production. Local turmeric and ginger maven, Karen Hurtubise of Qualla Berry Farm, knows a thing or two about tomatoes as she returns with her popular class all about growing great tomatoes. Kate Hanford is the manager of the popular farmer’s market in Ashville (West Asheville Tailgate Market). She will teach us all about the glory of earthworms, active soil, and how important compost is to garden success. Finally, Ken Zinkand returns with his popular class to teach all about how to grow your own Shiitake, Oyster, and Reishi mushrooms. Student will leave with three inoculated logs to get you started right!

Learn more details about these exciting classes Gardening & Homesteading classes upcoming this summer 2015:

tomatoesGrowing Great Tomatoes

Karen Hurtubise • May 22-24, 2015 (Weekend)

Produce your best-ever, home-grown tomatoes! From Sungold cherry tomatoes and heirloom Brandywines to Italian Tree tomatoes, we’ll explore the timing, colors, size, and flavors of favorite varieties while practicing organic gardening skills of soil prep, seed selection, pruning, fertilizing, trellising, pest and disease control, and harvesting. Also learn about many kinds of basils. Use companion planting techniques to create a patio container or hanging basket of tomatoes, basil, and marigolds to take home. Average garden mobility needed. Register.

Earthworm_divesVermiculture – Homegrown Earthworms

Katherine Hanford • June 12-14, 2015 (Weekend)

One of the most important components of a successful garden is healthy, biologically active soil! How can you bring your soil to life? With black gold! That’s right, vermiculture – composting with worms. Learn how to set up a home vermicomposting system, care for your worms, harvest, and use the castings from your bin. We will also explore large-scale systems for the farm or commercial endeavors. Gardeners of all levels welcome. Register.

Chicken_eggsHomestead Egg Production

Jen Stockbridge • July 31-Aug 2, 2015 (Weekend)

Are you interested in keeping a flock of fowl? Come learn the ins and outs of homestead chicken keeping, with an emphasis on egg production. Discover how to do this in thrifty fashion, using recycled materials to make chicken equipment – waterers, feeders, and nest boxes – some available to take home. All levels welcome. Register.

Lentinula_edodesGrowing Your Own Mushrooms

Ken Zinkand • July 31-Aug 2, 2015 (Weekend)

Join us for an interactive class on gourmet and medicinal mushroom cultivation, emphasizing a hands-on approach. Learn inoculation techniques and strategies for maximizing yields as you work with three select mushroom strains – Shiitake, Oyster, and Reishi. Wild gathering, harvesting medicinals, drying, and cooking tips will also be discussed. Each student will leave with three inoculated logs (be prepared to transport). No experience required, only moderate hand strength. Register.