With the solstice come and gone and winter on the wane, it’s a great time for gardeners to get geared up for spring. From organic veggies, homegrown Texas grapes, and DIY raised bed planters to community volunteer seeding events across Austin, the 2015 conservation scene is getting off to a great start!
Winter Gardening and Landscaping Classes
Organic Vegetable Gardening 101 – Free Class at The Natural Gardener
Texas A&M graduate and local horticultural enthusiast Rosina Newton presents a free hour-long course introducing gardeners to Texas planting. Whether you are a complete beginner or just a newbie to the unique challenges of gardening in Central Texas, this is a great opportunity to prepare for springtime seeding. Participants will learn tips and tricks for growing vegetables, herbs, and flowers, in addition to getting some helpful advice on fertilization, soil preparation, and site selection.
January 10, 10:00 am
Growing Fruit in Your Home Garden – Zilker Botanical Garden
Texas’ mild winter months are the perfect season for starting seedlings and saplings, including a wide variety of native and exotic fruit trees. This January, Master Gardener and fruit specialist Joe Posern is offering a free seminar introducing Austinites to the ins and outs of cultivating your own homegrown produce.
January 10, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Annual Fruits, Nuts, and Berries Workshop – Free Class at The Natural Gardener
For the thirteenth year in a row, Jim Kamas leads this perennially popular workshop at The Natural Gardener. Assistant Professor at Texas A&M and specialist in pomology and viticulture, Kamas has been working in horticulture since the late 70’s, and is the author of a newly released book on growing grapes in Texas. Learn all about small orchard production, and get an interactive demonstration of good pruning and harvesting techniques.
January 17, 10:00 am (about 2 hours long)
Get Growing: Soil Health – Sustainable Food Center
Committed to building community and boosting the local homegrown gardening scene, Austin’s Sustainable Food Center presents yet another great course for gardeners in training. This month the SFC is offering a special “groundwork” workshop introducing DIY growers to a variety of need-to-know soil basics. Participants will learn to identify distinctive Austin-area soil types, pair plants with their ideal growing environments, and use composts and organic ingredients to improve and amend existing soil strata. The course will be capped, so be sure to register in advance!
January 17, 10:00 – 11:30 am
Tree Talk Winter Walk- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center hosts a day of family-friendly fun centered on Texas trees. Learn which native tree species work well in backyard landscapes, tips for tree planting and care, and how Texas natives benefit local wildlife. In addition to a huge tree and shrub sale, visitors can enjoy walks and talks by local experts on a variety of topics, including oak wilt, urban forestry, heritage trees, and drought preparation. Meanwhile, there will be plenty of fun for kids, too: fort building, tree climbing, ring counting, educational “discovery tables,” and a day-long scavenger hunt culminating in a native sapling giveaway.
January 24, 9:00am – 5:00 pm
Pruning Grape Vines – Free Class at The Natural Gardener
DIY viticulture is quickly gaining ground in the Austin area, but grape vines can take a bit of extra attention and care–as well as perfect timing. This January Roger Igo, the Natural Gardener’s Groundsmaster, provides a free step-by-step demonstration of the Kniffen method of training and pruning grapes for health and productivity. Participants will learn how to get on “vine time” while getting helpful tips on planting, growing, and caring for the grape varieties that thrive in the Austin area. The class should be about an hour long, and will be held outdoors, so dress for the weather!
January 24, 10:00 am
How We Treat the Land Matters to All of Us – Watershed Protection
Representing the City Watershed Protection Division, Jessica Wilson presents a brief but sweeping overview of the incredible variety of ongoing conservation efforts in the Austin area. From easy ideas for sustainable lawns and gardens to an expert’s introduction to the effects of urban land use on the environment, this is a great opportunity for citizens to come together as a conservation community.
January 18, 12:00 – 1:00 pm
Deep Roots: Raised Bed Construction – Sustainable Food Center
It’s never the wrong season to get started on perfecting your home gardening skills! During this day-course the team at Austin’s Sustainable Food Center will help participants to hone their basic construction skills and learn to use reused, recycled, and repurposed materials to create raised gardens, bed borders, and simple but spacious home planters.
February 7, 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Upcoming Outdoor Volunteer Opportunities
If you haven’t had the chance to participate yet, 2015 is a great time to get in on Austin’s thriving green volunteer scene. From greenbelt beautification along Williamson Creek and Hornsby Bend to restoring the “lost” loblolly pines in Bastrop County, these events are a great family-friendly opportunity to get up close and personal with our unique ecological community.
Williamson Creek Greenbelt Beautification: January 31, 9:00 – 11:00 am
Back to the Land Workdays at Circle Acres: January 17, 10:00 – 1:00 pm
Reforestation in Bastrop County: January 10, 24, 7:00 – 10:00 am
Ecological Literacy Volunteer Day: January 31, 9:00 – 1:00 pm
Seedling Planting in Austin’s Watersheds – Ready, Set, Plant!
The City of Austin Urban Forestry and Watershed Protection Divisions are teaming up with TreeFolks this winter to transform local waterways by planting drought tolerant seedlings throughout the city. Winter is the best time to plant trees and shrubs, and these hardy natives will help to restore species diversity, better manage issues with runoff and flooding, and improve overall water quality. Learn a little more about riparian ecology while giving our local ecosystem a helping hand.
Bartholomew Park: January 17, 9:00am – 12:00 pm
Dottie Jordan Park: January 17, 9:00am – 12:00 pm
Shipe Park Greenbelt: January 22, 9:00am – 12:00 pm
Battle Bend Greenbelt: January 31, 9:00am – 12:00 pm