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March 23, 1998

Spring gardening tips offered at two-hour workshop

By Martha Brown

Get ready for the spring gardening season by attending a free two-hour workshop on Saturday, March 28, from 10 a.m. to noon at San Lorenzo Lumber's Garden Center, 235 River Street, in Santa Cruz.

Albie Miles, a gardening instructor and graduate of the UCSC Farm & Garden's apprenticeship program, will discuss basic organic gardening techniques, focusing on spring crops that thrive in the Monterey Bay region.

Miles will introduce the "French intensive" raised-bed gardening method that helps backyard gardeners get the most production from their garden space. He'll discuss what to look for in a soil test and ways to improve soil fertility with compost and other organic amendments. For gardeners interested in growing their own starts, Miles will offer advice on home-scale propagation techniques, including seed starting, seedling care, and transplanting.

Spring is the prime time to plant peas, lettuces, spinach, carrots, salad mix, beets, and potatoes, and Miles will review the optimum sowing and transplanting dates for these popular crops. He'll also help gardeners select varieties that are proven winners in the local area, and there will be plenty of time for questions. Handouts on sowing schedules for Santa Cruz, mail order and seed catalogs, Web sites for gardeners, and other free information will also be available.

Sponsored by the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems and the Friends of the UCSC Farm & Garden, the workshop will be valuable for novice gardeners and pros alike.

For more information, call John Fisher, (408) 459-3248, or Nick Royal, (408) 459-3240, or access the center's Web site.

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