The last in Moab Community Garden’s fall season gardening workshop series will take place on October 9 with local gardener Gabe Woytek.
Woytek, who sits on the Great County Commission, practiced agriculture and gardening for most of his adult life and was a farm manager at the Youth Garden Project in Moab for four seasons.
During the workshop, Woytek will talk about the importance of soil construction at a conceptual level, he said – he wishes to discuss the science of soil construction, to give participants an overview of the soil biology.
“I think it’s important to go over some of the basics of science,” he said. “Then people can apply these concepts to whatever their situation is here in the valley. “
One of his main arguments, he said, is that soils are living things and should be treated as such.
Moab Community Gardens, nicknamed MoCom Gardens, operates a handful of community gardens to provide plots for local gardeners of all skill levels.
MoCom is a project of Resiliency Hub, a non-profit organization in Moab whose goals include modeling good business management. Resiliency Hub received funding from the City of Moab 2021 Grants Program to support the gardens project and run a series of free outdoor gardening workshops in 2021.
The Soil Construction Workshop will be held at Center Street Community Garden (349 East Center St, Moab) at 9 a.m. Light snacks will be provided by the Moonflower Community Co-op.
At the end of the growing season, gardeners should focus on how to overwinter their gardens. Building soil is one of the best ways a gardener can prepare for spring success, Woytek said, and build a healthy foundation for his garden.
Woytek will discuss the carbon cycle and decomposition during the workshop. A common mistake beginner gardeners make with their garden is getting rid of whole plants, roots, and everything, when resetting their plots. But plant roots provide important nutrients for soil health, Woytek said.
“Organic matter is the name of the game in building healthy soil,” he said. “To build healthy soil, you have to play the long game. It is really very valuable to incorporate organic matter to help keep your garden soil healthy at the end of the season, before winter.
Starting to improve soil health now, just at the end of the growing season, will pay off in the spring, Woytek said. Winter gives ample time for organic matter to decompose and become part of the soil.
“I think this is a really important time to give energy and attention to the garden,” he said.
As gardeners clean their gardens for the winter, they should leave crop residue in the soil, in addition to the roots, Woytek said. It is important to “give back what you took away,” he said.
Woytek will also review the challenges of soil construction in Moab, where much of the soil is mixed with sand.
The soil construction workshop is free.
Planning for next year’s community gardens and possible workshops begins this winter. Becky Mann, the head of gardens at MoCom, said she would like to organize another round of workshops next year, but this depends on the MoCom budget.
Plots for the 2022 growing season will be available in February.
What: Floor construction workshop
When: Saturday October 9 at 9 a.m.
Or: Center Street Community Garden (349 Center Street East, Moab)