Getting down and dirty

It’s time to get gardening and GRUB’s got some good suggestions

Learn about floating row covers.

Learn about floating row covers.

Hone your gardening chops
Stephanie Elliott over at the GRUB Cooperative (1525 Dayton Road) told me about a number of useful upcoming gardening-related events:

On March 17, from 1 to 3 p.m., GRUB is hosting a free garden-tool workshop called “The Right Tool for the Job,” which will be presented by local gardening expert David Grau, owner of Valley Oak Tool Co. Grau will show workshop-goers “how to choose and care for durable tools that will save you time and energy in the garden.” The event will also feature a “tool swap"—"bring your unused tools to swap with other community members for those tools that you need.” Call Jonah at 588-0585 to sign up, or send an email to

Elliott is also rounding up volunteers to work in and/or help build local community gardens. Volunteers are needed for a March 15 workday to help expand the school garden at Sherwood Montessori School (746 Moss Ave.). On March 23, a workday will be held from noon to 4 p.m. at the Food Not Bombs Garden ( at 1263 Calla Lane: “Come turn a front and back yard into a thriving garden to provide food for the local chapter of Food Not Bombs.”

Help start a community garden.

Lend a hand and get a free gardening lesson by volunteering at the March 24 workday at the garden at 11 Christopher Allen Way from 1 to 3 p.m.: “Come learn how to set up a floating row crop cover which helps your starts get an early start.”

Floating row covers—or frost blankets—"are an economical, effective way to help protect your plants from frost,” as well as “an easy-to-use tool that will keep flying insect pests away from your vegetable crops,” reports. “Floating row cover is a very lightweight, translucent material (usually spun polypropylene) that is placed directly over crops in order to protect them from various unfavorable conditions. Floating row cover is so named because it doesn’t have to be supported with hoops. It can just be set right on top of the growing crops, where it will float above them.” Row cover comes on a roll—"just like a giant paper towel"!

Contact Elliott at 354-1646 for more information on garden workdays.

BEC bash
Sunday, April 1, from 5 to 8 p.m., is the “Breaking Bread, Breaking Ground” fundraiser hosted by the Butte Environmental Council (BEC) and Cultivating Community NV ( at the ARC Pavilion (2020 Park Ave.). Featuring a locally sourced meal, live music from Stevie Cook and The Railflowers, a silent auction and a no-host bar, the event aims to raise money to go toward starting a new community garden on an acre plot leased from the city of Chico near Murphy Commons, on the east side of town.

Tickets for the event are $25 each; two for $45; $200 will reserve you a table for eight, complete with two bottles of wine. Tickets are available at BEC (116 W. Second St., 891-6424) or at Lyon Books (121 W. Fifth St., 891-3338).

“Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.” —May Sarton