Gardeners will be well on their way to home-grown vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh greens, unique heirloom apples, and more when The Morton Arboretum’s Edible Gardening Workshop series returns this March. The series caters to gardeners of all skill sets and showcases design concepts, resources and techniques for incorporating edible plants and trees into home landscapes and gardens. The five-part series taking place Saturdays throughout March and April will be led by instructors including William Moss, an urban gardening expert with the National Gardening Association, and author of “From the Ground Up” Jeanne Nolan.
“According to research from the National Gardening Association, one in three households in the country grow food,” said Megan Dunning, manager of adult programs at The Morton Arboretum. “Led by passionate experts, this workshop series is the Arboretum’s response to the increasing popularity of edible gardening. Our workshops teach people useful tips and techniques to grow healthy and delicious fruits and vegetables, all without having to sacrifice beauty and style in their home gardens.”
Workshops in the series include:
Prepping for a Successful Gardening Season
Saturday, March 11
Looking to grow your best garden yet? Join an exciting and informative workshop covering various techniques for successful Chicagoland vegetable gardening. Topics will cover tasks, techniques and tips from winter to autumn as well as basic botany, soil prep, crop selection, rotation and planning, pest solutions, harvesting and more. Demonstrations and activities include sowing seeds, sketching and planning your garden calendar. The fee includes Arboretum admission.
Top Ten Edibles for Chicagoland and How to Grow Them Organically
Saturday, March 18
Join a local organic gardener as she shares vegetables proven to thrive in Chicagoland and how to best plant, manage and harvest them throughout the season utilizing organic practices. Learn about the supplies, tools and knowledge you need to get your own organic garden started this season. The fee includes Arboretum admission.
Grow a Food Forest in Your Yard
Turn your front and backyard into an edible landscape that is beautiful and productive using the design principles of permaculture. Following these principles will ultimately allow you more time to enjoy and relax in your space and reap the perennial fruits of your labor. Permaculture means “permanent agriculture” or “permanent culture.” In this class, you will learn about the concepts of forest gardens and food forests, find out about zones and sectors, get strategies for soil building and learn how planting in seven layers will decrease the amount of work that go into a garden. The fee includes Arboretum admission.
Backyard Orchard: Grow Heirloom Apples Anywhere
Saturday, April 1
Learn to grow heirloom apples in backyards and urban environments with an expert. Heirloom apples offer a wider variety of tastes than most commonly found grocery varieties and are easy to grow. Learn what you need to have your very own historic orchard, or simply add one or two heirloom trees to your backyard. For the adventurous, the class will feature a grafting demonstration that allows you to grow more varieties than what you can find at your local garden center. The fee includes Arboretum admission.
Get Style and Function with a French Kitchen Garden
Saturday, April 8
Learn how French kitchen gardens combine beautiful design with common sense vegetable gardening. In this ornamental vegetable gardening program, we will look at examples of attractive design in a productive garden. Learn to decoratively combine vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers in a garden that is bountiful and beautiful. Delve into the elements of good gardening and discuss how they apply to vegetable gardens. Learn about interplanting, companion planting, successional sowing and plant culture. Be inspired, but also leave with a practical guide to growing food in your own yard.
Classes take place from 9:30 a.m. to noon and are $35 for Arboretum members and $44 for nonmembers. Fees include admission to the Arboretum.