Back to Basics: Gardening 101

Plant the Seeds

“Having a produce department in your front yard is the best thing ever. You can grow the freshest vegetables money can’t buy,” says Man in Overalls, Nathan Ballentine, who will be holding a Back to Basics: Gardening 101 class February 24 at Cultivate. While he was born with a green thumb, not everyone is gifted this talent, so he wants to help to those who also wish to grow their own groceries, but don't quite have the know-how.

“By growing your own groceries you have healthy organic food readily available. It’s alive and growing in your yard—it doesn’t overflow and rot in your fridge. Plus, you get to have a connection with your food by growing it. You’re engaged from seed to fork.”

The workshop will cover everything from picking the right site for a raised garden bed to when to harvest. “If you plan it right the plants basically grow themselves,” says Ballentine. “It’s about getting everything accounted for beforehand. We have to make sure we’re getting them in good ground where they get plenty of sunlight and make sure they get enough water.”

Everyone from beginners to experienced gardeners looking for a few new tips are welcome, although the workshop, as the name suggests, does primary work to break down all of the basics—specifically tailored to Jacksonville living. “You can grow in such small spaces. People tend to think they need a giant suburban lawn or a farm, but that’s just not true,” Ballentine says. He explains that almost any yard, no matter the size, can become home to a flourishing garden.

Not only is little space required, but little time as well. "You can grow all the vegetables you’ll eat this year for less than 5 minutes a week in work. It takes so little effort," he says.

"For folks who are starting out and don’t know what they are doing I can support them to help grow their groceries beyond the workshop itself," Ballentine adds, but the workshop is probably the best place to get started. 10 AM-12 PM. $15.