Workshops scheduled today across the state, including one in Gardiner, aim to provide gardeners with essential skills and knowledge to switch from conventional to organic gardening.

The new Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association workshops are available through adult education programs and will be presented at 35 locations tin Maine, includine one at Gardiner High School from 6 to 9 p.m.

Michele Roy, a master gardener from Augusta, will head up the class in Gardiner.

She said her class tends to be a mix of people, some who have been gardening for a while and want to learn organic practices, and then there are those who have never had a garden and want to know where to start.

“There’s a number of people who want to save money,” Roy said. “They want to eat organic food and think it’s too expensive. I’m a big lawn-to-garden person and would really like to encourage people to start a garden. They don’t need rototilling or expensive tools to grow the food themselves.”

Diane Bailey, director of Gardiner’s adult education program, said she has scheduled several gardening classes this year such as planting heirloom seeds, vegetable gardening, and MOFGA’s organic workshop.

Russell Libby, MOFGA’s executive director, said he switched to working with adult education programs because they already do the publicity and have people looking to learn about different subjects.

“Instead of just talking to our own members internally, this is a good way to reach people who maybe thought about doing an organic garden, but don’t know how to get started,” Libby said.

The course will cover the basics of making and using compost, the principles of crop rotation and how to incorporate green manure, how to manage nutrients in the garden, basic weed control strategies and methods of natural insect control. Registration fee is $9.

“We recruited farmers and really good gardeners around the state as instructors,” he said. “We provide all the attendees a packet of materials so they come away from the class with how-to tips.”

Roy said she is forming a Kennebec County chapter of MOFGA.

“I approached MOFGA and they said it’s their 40th anniversary and were trying to revive the county chapters,” she said. “I got a location to host it and MOFGA’s blessings. That will be coming up later this spring.”

For more information about the class in Gardiner, call 582-3774.

Mechele Cooper — 621-5663

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