Learning to grow, tend and harvest

Free plants, advice offered at FiveCAP’s annual garden workshop

BALDWIN — The growing season may have been delayed by the long winter and cold spring, but the time to plant vegetables is quickly approaching, as is FiveCAP, Inc.’s annual gardening workshop.

The workshop is offered free of charge to income-eligible residents of FiveCAP’s service area. In addition to receiving a variety of vegetable plants to get their garden started, attendees will also have access to the expertise of a master gardener who will share tips and techniques for getting the best harvest from each plant.

“Growing your own food is one of the most empowering self-sufficiency tools available,” said FiveCAP Community Support Director Holly Haywood. “Many of our clients suffer from some level of food insecurity and depend on our food distributions or government food assistance programs, so how much they get and what they get is completely out of their control.

“But when people grow their own food, they are able to reclaim some semblance of control. They plant, tend and harvest their vegetables and then serve them to their families. There is a lot of pride taken by gardeners in general, but that sense of accomplishment increases exponentially when you consider what food actually means to someone who is dependent on outside sources to provide enough to get by.”

The workshop will also provide attendees the opportunity to have their questions answered by an expert, making the information is relevant to everyone from novices about to plant their first plot to veterans who have many harvests under their belts.

Each attendee will receive two of the following plants: green beans, Roma tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, cabbage, tomatoes, green peppers, zucchini and broccoli.

In the fall, FiveCAP will follow up with a food preservation workshop, at which time another expert will advise attendees on the best methods for canning or freezing what they’ve grown so they can continue to enjoy the fruits of their labor long after the growing season is done.

The workshop will be led by Connie Theunick-Perley, who will answer questions and provide helpful information. It will take place at 10:30 a.m. on June 4 at the Lake County FiveCAP office, located at 2476 West 44th St. in Baldwin. To register, visit the office or call (231) 745-4617.