In the garden

Get growing: Organic Growers School will offer classes on everything from goats to permaculture Saturday, March 9 and Sunday, March 10.

From bees to to orchards, Organic Growers School has it all

If you've always wanted to grow garlic, set up a homestead, raise goats or save seeds, Organic Growers School has the tools for success. Since 1993, the weekend-long conference has offered a wide array of classes for beginning growers and experienced farmers alike. Last year, more than 1,900 people from 18 states gathered at UNCA for a full weekend of workshops and classes.

The conference continues on Saturday, March 9 and Sunday, March 10, with dozens of classes for growers of all kinds. A two-day program for kids rounds out the weekend, with programs on the environment and healthy eating. Bring the family, a notebook and passion for learning for a weekend of new skills and advice from the experts. $45 Saturday; $40 Sunday.

Secret Garden

Pathways, retaining walls and stonework are the unsung heroes of home gardening. Stone structures control erosion, define the landscape and give backyards a secret garden feel. Constructing a stone wall can be intimidating for the beginning gardener, but mason Doug Dearth has some tips to tackle even the toughest hardscape quandaries.

Dearth will teach a class on Saturday, March 9 from 1-5 p.m. at the N.C. Arboretum on basic principles and techniques for creating stone structures. A walking tour of the Arboretum will give participants a chance to see stonework in person and give a little inspiration to aspiring home masons. $37; $30 members.

Grow some worms

The promise of free labor and unlimited fertilizer would make any gardener drop their spade and pay attention. Now imagine a living organism that could provide these gems for free. Earthworms are just the invertebrates to get the job done.

On Tuesday, March 12 and Wednesday, March 13 A-B Tech will offer a class on attracting worms to the garden. Learn how to harness worms' power to till, fertilize and add compost to soil, so you and your earthworms stay happy and well-fed throughout the year. $25.

Generation next

As the number of small farms dwindles across the country, WNC is experiencing a revival of the family farm. Young entrepreneurs have the potential to push the organic revolution forward and the N.C. Rural Center is here to help. Next Generation Ventures offers business coaching and training scholarships, along with mentors and networking, to rural young adults interested in starting agricultural businesses. Applications are available at

Calling all gardeners

Is your garden club gearing up for spring? Do you have a gardening idea or topic that sparks your curiosity? Send your garden news and questions to


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