FiveCAP planning garden workshop

Sure signs of spring’s approach are everywhere. The days are getting longer, gardeners are dreaming of digging in the dirt and FiveCAP, Inc. is beginning to plan its annual gardening workshop.

The local Community Action Agency offers this program to income-eligible residents of its four-county service area through Community Service Block Grant funding.

“The goal of the workshop is to help people cut their food cost and have nutritious vegetables,” said FiveCAP Community Services Director Holly Haywood. “Fresh vegetables have a continuously rising cost, as everyone knows from going to the grocery store so the more people can grow, the less they have to spend on food.”

The workshop is led by a master gardener who provides participants with useful tips and suggestions on how, when and where to plant various vegetables. Additionally, each participant leaves the workshop with 18 vegetable plants – two each of nine different varieties.

“Then we follow it up with a food preservation workshop in the fall,” Haywood added.

Kay McArthur, a master gardener, helped with preparation for last year’s workshop and said the benefits of growing vegetables are many.

“It’s good free exercise, plus you’re getting something out of it,” she said. “I look at gardening as positive from every angle.”

Most knowledge, McArthur said, is gained through experience but novice growers need not be deterred.

“There are certain plants, like tomatoes, that grow like weeds,” she said. “Anyone can grow tomatoes and you get so much out of them.”

Finding plants that are easy to grow and preserve is the key, McArthur said. This approach will help people make good decisions when planning their garden and will help ensure the experience is cost effective.

She also encouraged those interested in growing their own food to learn as much as they can about the process. In addition to resources like the gardening workshop, there are countless articles that will help people understand how to improve their chances of having a bountiful harvest.

For more information on the workshop, or other programs available through FiveCAP, call the Lake County office at (231) 745-4617.

Workshop requirements

To qualify for the workshop, which will take place on Tuesday, June 6, residents of Mason, Manistee, Lake and Newaygo counties must be within 125 percent of poverty, which equates to the following annual income:

  • One-person household: $13,538
  • Two-person household: $18,213
  • Three-person household: $22,888
  • Four-person household: $27,563
  • Five-person household: $32,238
  • Each additional person, add: $4,675