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Learn How to Grow Your Own Groceries –

Posted by erika.d.johnson | March 11, 2015


Published in: The Reflector • March 11, 2015, 12:00 AM

By Kelly Moyer, Staff Reporter

Master Gardeners Phil Scott, Elena Kokta and Mary Kilway
Master Gardeners Phil Scott, Elena Kokta and Mary Kilway

Have you always wanted to grow your own veggies, but have more of a brown thumb than a green one? The Washington State University Clark County Extension program may have a class for you.

The WSU Extension Master Gardener Program’s “Get Growing! Introduction to Vegetable Gardening” course will teach novice gardeners and absolute beginners everything they need to know to start a vegetable plot in their own backyard.

“This class is for people with no to little gardening experience,” says Master Gardener Program Coordinator Erika Johnson. “If you hear things like ‘cool weather crops’ and ‘crop rotation’ and those things sound iffy, then this class is for you.”

The class will meet from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sat., April 11 and Sat., April 18. Participants will need to attend both classes. The cost is $35 for the two-day course, and space is limited. Last year, Johnson said, there was a waiting list, so interested participants are encouraged to register as soon as possible.

The class will encourage organic and non-toxic gardening methods, and teach people how to grow a garden in as little as one-square-foot.

“We will teach the square foot garden method, which is good for small or large spaces,” Johnson says. “With this method, you break down large spaces into manageable plots. So this class is good for everyone, even people who have limited space or just have one small raised bed.”

Johnson said many of the people who have attended the Master Gardener Program’s basic vegetable growing course in the past are people who live on land that was once used as farmland, but who don’t know the first thing about growing their own food.

“This is a great place to come and not feel silly asking very basic gardening questions,” Johnson says. “There are no silly questions in this class.”

Local instructor Kris Potter and Carolyn Gordon, a former Master Gardener Coordinator, will teach the first class on April 11 at the Luke Jensen Sports Complex, 4000 NE 78th St., Vancouver. This class is an interactive classroom session and will cover such things as soil health, crop selection, pest and disease management and the use of the Square Foot Garden technique. The following Saturday, on April 18, master gardeners will teach a hands-on transplanting class inside the greenhouses at the 78th Street Heritage Farm, 1919 NE 78th St., Vancouver.

All participants will receive a copy of Mel Bartholomew’s book, All New Square Foot Gardening, as well as plant starts to take home for their own vegetable garden. Participants should bring their own brown bag lunch each day. Coffee and tea will be provided.

To register online, visit For more information, email Erika Johnson at or call (360) 397-6060, extension 5738.