Ann Wright: Workshops get gardeners ready for raised beds |

Ann Wright: Workshops get gardeners ready for raised beds

There are a number of ways to establish a garden — whether vegetables, flowers, or ornamental shrubs. Depending on the goals of the gardener and the type of plants to be grown, gardening techniques may be as varied as the plants that are grown.

For people who have the space, planting in larger areas with garden rows or beds is a choice. But for those who live in areas where soil is rocky, or where the gophers have decided to take up residence, raised beds may be the ticket to plant and gardener happiness. For others, a container or a few potted plants may be sufficient to meet the need.

Raised bed gardens may help solve common problems such as weed and rodent invasion; the addition of wire mesh under the bed helps reduce rodent damage. Raised beds can be built higher off the ground which is easier to manage for those with physical limitations. Raised beds can also be placed in smaller spaces, perhaps with more sun. Likewise, if space and time are limited, containers offer planting options for edibles and ornamentals. Like raised beds, container gardens can reduce damage presented by wildlife. Gardeners using containers may enjoy creative ways to arrange plants in container, such as mixing edibles with ornamentals. Success depends on several prime factors: choice of plants and containers, location of container, and attention to the soil, light, water and nutrient needs of plants. Containers must have adequate drainage for plants to grow well.

To learn more about building raised beds, the Nevada County Master Gardener workshop, “How to Build Raised Beds” 10 a.m. to noon today at the Demonstration Garden on the NID grounds, 1036 W. Main St. in Grass Valley. At this workshop, Master Gardeners will demonstrate construction of a raised bed, from start to finish. A list of required supplies will be provided with instructions.

On May 4, from 10 a.m. to noon also at the Demonstration Garden, Master Gardeners will present a workshop on “Container Gardening”. In addition to discovering some creative ways to use containers, the concept of how to “re-purpose” things around the home for use as planters will also be discussed. Both workshops are free of charge.

Whether planning a larger garden bed, using raised beds or containers, planning what to plant in the garden space is an important first step. Refer to plant labels or garden references to determine the size the plant will be, as well as the sun and water requirements. Seedlings look small when first planted, but may grow to be wider than estimated. Some vegetables require more water than others; some require more acid type soil. Some may require support, such as vining tomatoes.

Since January, Nevada County Master Gardeners have been planning, starting, nurturing and caring for hundreds of plants for our spring plant sale which takes place from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 11, the day before Mother’s Day. If vegetables, herbs and flowers are on the radar for your garden space this season, consider coming to the Demonstration garden to join the fun and consider what new tomatoes or peppers you would like to try this year. A partial list of plants to be sold this year is on the website at

For more information about these events or for other garden related questions, Master Gardeners are on duty every Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon at the office at the Veteran’s Building in Grass Valley, 255 South Auburn St. Call 530-273-0919 for information.

Happy Easter!

Ann Wright is a Nevada County Master Gardener.

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