Coffs Regional Community Gardens was the ideal place to host the GET GROWING workshops run by Ian Earth’s The Gourmet School on the weekend of the 28th and 29th January 2023. Ian is a fantastic speaker and manages to engage with everyone, no matter what their level of experience and background, and opens up the fascinating microbial world of soil!

Saturday’s workshop was about techniques for creating a low maintenance but highly productive garden, growing food either for the first time or to enjoy more success cultivating healthy, fertile food garden. It started with the basics of practical planning vegetable garden design, onto how to build up the best soil for vegetable growing along with answering specific questions from gardeners on how to grow their favourite crops.

And then Sunday’s workshop went through the process of assessing soil health and diagnosing what’s needed to optimise conditions and improve performance. Having the correct soil composition not only creates a better crop, but also a much tastier crop! Not only that, your plants will out compete weeds and resist garden pests. Participants were able to bring along their own soil samples for assessment and we learnt a lot about what the perfect soil should include.

Ian was able to use the Community Gardens to demonstrate his principles practically. Participants learned about planting seedlings and the value of good mulch, as well as useful methods to control weeds. By analysing the composition and chemical pH of your soil you can plan how to improve it by what should be added and the benefits of green manure, which would have made a workshop on it’s own!

Ian was really knowledgeable  and able to answer everyone’s gardening questions. He was a mine of information and no doubt all attendees would have gone home to review their gardens with fresh eyes!

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