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My First Vegetable Garden allows new gardeners opportunity to learn

The virtual program runs from Feb. 23 to March 16 and is aimed at those with little experience knowledge on growing and harvesting their own vegetables
Robert Pavlis is a master gardener and owns a private botanical garden that houses over 3,000 plants. Submitted photo

The Arboretum will be hosting a virtual program for those interested in learning how to grow their own vegetables at home.

The My First Vegetable Garden (MFVG) course is a virtual program running from Feb. 23 until March 16. The program aims to give participants with little experience knowledge on growing and harvesting their own vegetables.

‘With everyone having to stay home so much more this is a great opportunity to grow your own food, beautify your property, make it more friendly for wildlife and have it be more visually appealing for people,” said Chris Earley, interpretive biologist and education coordinator for The Arboretum.

Robert Pavlis is a master gardener, blogger, published author and the instructor for the MFVG program. Pavlis said he based this course on talks he’s done in the past with new gardeners.

“It’s really a general gardening course in some ways,” Pavlis said. “But all of the things we’re going to talk about apply to every other plant. We’re just going to focus specifically on growing vegetables.”

Pavlis said he’s noticed more newcomers to the world of gardening due to the pandemic.

“Last summer a huge number of new gardeners suddenly got interested in gardening and new gardeners typically want to grow vegetables,” Pavlis said. “After a few years they might get interested in other things but vegetables usually come first because they want to grow their own food.”

The four-week course for beginner gardeners will focus on: soil selection, seeds, dealing with weeds, fertilizer and a multitude of other useful topics for first-time gardeners looking to test their green thumb.

Earley said the program being ran through the arboretum makes sense since both aim to help people get into the outdoors and in touch with nature during the pandemic.

“It’s really good for people to be able to explore the natural world and get out of the headspace of a pandemic,” Earley said. The Arboretum and other natural areas are really helpful for that.”

“We’re trying to enhance that and sort of take it a step further by using this time to educate people about natural areas, about gardening and linking people to the outdoors.”

Registration details can be found online.