Raised beds for beginners and beyond
If you have limited space and big garden dreams, a raised bed is a great place to start. Raised beds can be filled with high-quality soil, are less susceptible to weeds and keep garden projects manageable. Everything from vegetables to flowers can be grown in wood structures designed to keep gardens off the ground and casual gardeners away from the tiller.
On Wednesday, March 20 at 10 a.m., the N.C. Cooperative Extension Office will host a Gardening in the Mountains seminar on raised beds. Gene Rainey of the Rainey Garden will share the expertise he's gained from gardening over 60 raised beds each summer. Dr. and Mrs. Rainey grow too much food for one family, so they share their bounty with more than 100 people each week via their church and MANNA FoodBank. Rainey’s class will teach students how to turn their backyard into a haven of fresh food, whether the goal is to feed a family of two or nourish the entire community. Free; no registration required. http://buncombe.ces.ncsu.edu
Grow your own beer
Hops are everywhere in Asheville. From local brewery logos to the hoppy IPAs that brought us Beer City U.S.A. status, hops could be considered the star of Western North Carolina’s brewing scene. So how easy is it to grow your own tiny green cones? There are lots of variables, but a good first step is education. North Carolina State University will offer a class on growing hops in WNC at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River.
On Saturday, March 16, from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m., students can learn about soil fertility, common diseases, the economics of hops production and more. The workshop will finish up with a tour of a hop yard. Whether you're interested in home brewing or supplying our growing craft brewing movement, learning more about hops is a good place to start. $15. Registration requested. 684-3562, ext. 250.
From lawn to food machine
Yards don't have to be manicured to be beautiful. A front lawn with a purpose can be the most coveted property on the block. Harken back to Victory Garden days with an edible landscaping class, hosted by ECO, on Tuesday, March 19, at 6:30 p.m.
Permaculture expert Chuck Marsh of Useful Plants Nursery will lead the class at ECO’s office in Hendersonville. He believes that growing plants for food and medicine are a vital part of regaining control of life, both as an individuals and members of the community. Participants can pre-order fruit and nut trees before the workshop and have them delivered at the class. $15. Registration required. http://eco-wnc.org or 692-0385.
Lattes for goats
It's hard to imagine a goat sipping a cappuccino, but Goat Mountain Ranch Sanctuary would like you to leave room for cream in its honor. Firestorm Cafe and Books has partnered with this safe haven for rescued farm animals for a unique way to help animals while enjoying your morning latte.
The cafe offers coconut, almond and soy milk at no extra cost, but dairy drinks have a 25 cent surcharge. Through Monday, April 1, 100 percent of the surcharge benefits the sanctuary's efforts to buy new pens and shelters for animals in need. http://www.firestormcafe.com