Now that spring is here (as evidenced by the daffodils in bloom in my yard), it’s time for DC-area residents to start planning their summer gardens. In order to make the most of your space (be it large beds, container gardens, edibles, or only ornamentals), some basic prep-work will be necessary. Don’t know how to start a compost pile? What about sheet composting, or starting a lasagna bed?

From the Smart Markets blog, an introduction to Organic Gardening course will be offered in Oakton on March 17th for $20/person.

Topics to be covered include:

  • Compost: What is it? Making compost. Its benefits. How to incorporate it and soil testing.
  • Gardens: Types of gardens — in ground, raised bed, materials, location and size.
  • Getting started: Planning and timing
  • Seed Germination
  • Plants
  • Intensive/companion planning
  • Benefits/How-to and examples
  • Maintenance — mulching, watering, tilling and weeding
  • Pest control — methods, types and products
  • Container gardening — size, sources and types

When: Saturday, March 17, 9 a.m. – noon
Where: Unity of Fairfax Church, 2854 Hunter Mill Rd., Oakton, VA
Cost: $20 per person, $35 per couple.

Please RSVP to Joe Belsan at There will be a limit of 20 students.

After the class, or if your thumb is already greener than the inside of your home, head on over to the Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment Green Living Expo that same day, March 17, 10-4 at Washington-Lee High School 1301 N. Stafford Street, Arlington, VA.

Other local gardening links:

Virginia Master Naturalists

Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia

Delora has been growing her own vegetables in the DC area since the age of 12. When she isn’t tending plants with her two boys, she can be found on twitter as @delora