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In Western North Carolina, there is a rising interest in planting hobby gardens. Many in the area have even made it into a career by becoming a master gardener. Gardeners are always on the lookout for improved methods of planting their crops as well as advice on how and when is the proper time to plant and harvest.

Keith Wood, Agricultural Extension Agent for Cherokee County, leading the workshop in a discussion on leafy greens.

On August 3, 2017, Christina Newhouse, agriculture and high tunnel specialist for Southwestern NC RC&D, and Keith Wood, Cherokee County extension agent, hosted a Fall into Winter Gardening workshop in Marble, NC. The workshop’s purpose was to learn about various cool season vegetables that thrive during the fall and winter months as well as how to plant them. Emphasis was placed on the many benefits of planting during the cool season. Some of these benefits include less insects and disease, as well as exploring unique varieties that only thrive during cooler weather. Newhouse took the class through the production of root crops (carrots, beets), bulbs (garlic, onions), and herbs (cilantro, rosemary) while Wood focused mainly on leafy greens (lettuce, kale) and brassicas (broccoli, turnips, cabbage, and brussels sprouts).

This workshop was very informative and got great feedback from its attendees. “It was great to be able to inform gardeners and farmers from all skill levels about the benefits of winter gardening,” said Newhouse. “I also learned new things about leafy greens from Keith that will be so useful!” It is important for gardeners, beginner to master, to explore different methods and types of vegetables that will be most profitable for them in different times of the year. “I think it went very well! For those that would like to know more about how to extend their gardening season, this was definitely a great workshop to attend.” said Wood. Overall, the workshop had a great turnout and was very informative for hobby gardeners and master gardeners alike.