Summit County gardeners produce harvest tips
Harvesting the Bountiful Garden workshop will take place on Monday, July 22 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Colorado Mountain College Breckenridge Campus on 107 Denison Placer Road. It costs $25.
To register for CMC classes, visit www.coloradomtn.edu/SummitCE or call (970) 468-5989.
July rains and August sunshine often elicit an explosion of produce in mountain gardens — making it prime time for harvesting.
The High Country Conservation Center in Frisco wants to make sure local gardeners don’t let their hard work go to waste.
“Harvesting can be a difficult thing for people,” said Kyla Laplante, a farmer with the Summit Community Garden Network. “Everything gets growing and then you don’t know what to do with it.”
Laplante is working with the conservation center to lead a class that covers everything from salad greens to carrots, teaching participants when and how to harvest their gardens for maximum taste and nutrition and minimal waste.
“Right now all of the gardens are really exploding because of all the rain,” said Jen Santry, HC3’s community programs director.
“You can do certain things to veggies, and especially greens, that can keep them coming back,” she said.
Community garden farmer Laplante said she’s enjoyed working with local residents who have been growing their own food on community garden plots.
“You can see the progression year from year and how people learn from each other and from us,” she said.
Laplante has encouraged community members to research their seeds before putting them in the ground.
“Be aware of what you are growing, how it grows and how long it takes to grow,” she said.
Laplante said it doesn’t hurt to experiment and learn by trial and error.
“Trying a lot of different varieties is a big part of this,” she said. “Because we are in such a unique climate and we have a lot of room for research.”
Participants in the harvesting class will learn techniques to maximize their yield, including tips for individual plants, when to harvest, and even what time of the day to pick their plants.
The course will also review helpful pruning techniques.
“If you don’t prune, a lot of the energy goes into the side shoots and less energy goes into food production,” Laplante said. “Pruning helps give you a higher yield.“
The gardener will also give tips on thinning plants so they don’t have to compete for space.
Understanding how to harvest is really important to improve the production and efficiency of a garden, especially in an area with a short growing season, Laplante said.
“We know this is an area where gardeners need improvement, and we can all learn more,” she said. “Teaching the class helps me brush up as well.”
Monday’s harvesting class is part of a special series of workshops in a partnership between HC3 and Colorado Mountain College. These classes were designed with the season in mind, to help community members make the most out of their gardening and farming experiences.
“We want to help all of our gardeners to become better overall, and to be able to take that information and share it,” Laplante said.
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