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Community Learning Opportunities 2015

Free Workshops

At Cloud Mountain we are passionate about learning. We offer the community a variety of free workshops and paid courses designed to teach everything from beginning food gardening on up to advanced fruit tree care. Most workshops are held outside in our demonstration gardens and fields; please come prepared for the weather. As needed, we now also have a heated indoor seminar area.  No registration required for free workshops.  Donations to support the education programs are always welcome!

Fee Classes and Courses

These classes and courses are more in-depth and hands-on learning opportunities. Registration is required!  Space is limited.  Click on the link to register!

 Feb. 14, 10:30-Noon 
Learn to Grow Fruit Trees
If you're thinking about planting fruit trees, but don't know where to start, this is the workshop for you. We'll discuss the easiest varieties to grow, how to decide which rootstock to plant, where and how to plant, and what initial pruning and training are needed. You leave knowing how to establish your trees and give them the best start for the critical first 3 years.
No registration required. Be prepared to be outside. Repeats March 14.


Begins Feb. 14, 1:30-3:30
Advanced Vegetable Gardening – 5 Part Series
This five part class is designed for intermediate to advanced vegetable gardeners looking to increase their background knowledge, refine their skills, and get new ideas and strategies for growing better vegetables.  Topics covered will include crop planning, crop rotation, soil fertility, composting, seed starting, season extension, direct seeding, transplanting, weed management, pest and disease issues, water and irrigation, high tunnels, and winter gardening.  We will also discuss in detail specific requirements and challenges for all the main vegetable families.  Included in the registration fee is the seed and materials needed to start your own vegetable seedlings each class to take home for your garden.  This class is a perfect source for local, proven information to be successful at growing year round vegetables at home.  Registration required, space is limited. $100 for the five part series.
 

Part 1- February 14,1:30-3:30

Crop planning, crop rotation, soil basics and soil fertility, crop overview and timeline, growing alliums

Part 2- March 7, 1:30-3:30
Seed starting, season extension, growing brassicas

Part 3- April 18,1:30-3:30
Fertility management, compost, direct sowing, growing roots

Part 4- May 9,1:30-3:30
Water and irrigation, high tunnels, weed management, growing solanums, growing cucurbits

Part 5- June 20,1:30-3:30
Planning and planting for fall and winter crops, cover crops


Feb. 21,10:30-Noon
Growing Apples and Pears
Apples and Pears are some of the favorite crops to grow and eat in the NW. In this general overview workshop we will discuss growing techniques and demonstrate tree pruning. Techniques covered range from pruning established dwarfs to renovating older trees you’ve inherited. No registration required. Be prepared to be outside.


Begins Feb.21, 1:30-3:30 OR Feb. 28, 10:30-12:30
Advanced Apple and Pear Growing, Two Part Hands-On Course
Registration required, space is limited. $40 for both Part 1 & Part 2. Sign up for our Two Advanced Courses, Apples & Pears and Stone Fruits, and all 4 classes are $70.

Begins Feb.21, 1:30-3:30 OR Feb. 28, 10:30-12:30
This is a two-part hands-on course. In the first class, you'll be working in the orchards pruning established trees, with hands-on instruction. You'll practice applying pruning theory to trees grown on different training systems, and on trees of different ages. Because this hands-on training requires a small class, two sections are scheduled, Feb 21 & Feb 28.  Be prepared to be outside.

Part 2: May 30, 10:30-12:30
In our second class, we'll learn the process of scouting for pest and disease issues, and look at how our pruning earlier in the spring is affecting the early growth of the trees. We'll also look at fruit set, and have a hand-on thinning practicum. Both Part 1 sections of Advanced Apple & Pear Growing will meet together for the Part 2 class. Be prepared to be outside.


Feb. 28, 1:30-3:00
Growing Small Fruits
Northwest gardeners can grow an incredible variety of fruits. This workshop will focus on the smaller fruiting plants: blueberries, raspberry and blackberries, strawberries, and kiwis. No registration required. Be prepared to be outside.


March 7,10:30-Noon  
Organic Fruit Growing for Homeowners
You can grow tree fruits and berries using organic practices, even in our challenging climate.  Learn how to keep your trees and berry plants healthy and productive.  We’ll discuss the common pest and disease issues of our area, and how to deal with them effectively. Other topics will include soil and weed management and use of compost and mulches in fruit
growing. Be prepared to be outside.


March 7,1:30-3:00
Advanced Vegetable Gardening- Part 2
See February 14 for description


March 14, 10:30-Noon
Repeat of Learn to Grow Fruit Trees
If you're thinking about planting fruit trees, but don't know where to start, this is the workshop for you. We'll discuss the easiest varieties to grow, how to decide which rootstock to plant, where and how to plant, and what initial pruning and training are needed. You leave knowing how to establish your trees and give them the best start for the critical first 3 years. No registration required. Be prepared to be outside.


March 14,1:30-3:00     
Repeat of Growing Apples and Pears
Apples and Pears are some of the favorite crops to grow and eat in the NW. In this general overview workshop we will discuss growing techniques and demonstrate tree pruning. Techniques covered range from pruning established dwarfs to renovating older trees you’ve inherited. No registration required. Be prepared to be outside.


GrapesMarch 21, 10:30-Noon
Grow Grapes for Wine and Eating
We will discuss growing grapes in cool climates for wine and eating. Cultural practices including soil requirements, pruning techniques, pest management and harvesting will be covered.  Workshop will take place in the vineyard. No registration required. Be prepared to be outside.


March 21, 1:30-3:30
Winter Propagation: Grafting and Hardwood Cuttings
Propagation of woody plants is more challenging than starting seeds, but fun and simple once you know what to do. In this two-hour workshop, we'll demonstrate how to propagate during the dormant season, through hardwood cuttings and grafting, including fruit trees.  Registration is required, $30 workshop fee. Sign up for this class and the Summer Grafting Class, and take both for $50.

 


March 28,10:30-Noon
Learn the Artful Tradition of Espalier
If you’re considering creating a Belgian fence or growing cherries trained to a fan, this is for you. Construction considerations, training, which plants work and those that don’t - all will be covered. No registration required. Be prepared to be outside.


March 28, 1:30-3:00
Growing Stone Fruits: Cherries, Peaches, Apricots & Plums
Growing cherries, plums, peaches and apricots can be rewarding and challenging in our maritime climate. In this general overview we will discuss planting, growing techniques, and pruning of stone fruits. No registration required. Be prepared to be outside.


April 11,10:30-Noon
Beginning Vegetable Gardening
Vegetable gardening is more than planting seeds. In this general overview learn how to successfully grow a wide variety of produce throughout the year, including how to get started, planning your plantings, managing your soil and fertility inputs, and timing for succession harvests. No registration required. Be prepared to be outside.


April 11, 1:30-3:30
Seed Starting Class
Starting your own vegetable transplants at home can save you money and expand the varieties you can plant.  In this workshop we'll discuss seed starting mediums, containers, sanitation, and fertility. This is a hands-on experience; you will go home with a flat of seeds ready to grow, and the skills to grow them successfully. Registration required, $30 course fee.


Starts April 11 or 18, 10:30-12:30
Advanced Stone Fruit Growing, Two Part Hands-On CourseRainier

Registration required, space is limited. $40 for both Part 1 & Part 2.
Sign up for our Two Advanced Courses, Apples & Pears and Stone Fruits, and all 4 classes are $70.


Part 1 April 11 or 18, 10:30-12:30  

This is a two part hands-on course. In the first session, you'll be working in the orchards pruning established trees, with hands-on instruction. You'll practice applying pruning theory to trees of different ages. Stone fruits require special handling when pruning, and are pruned just as the fruit sets.

Part 2 June 6,
10:30-12:30
In our second class, we'll learn the process of scouting for pest and disease issues, and look at how our pruning earlier in the spring is affecting the early growth of the trees.  We'll also look at fruit set, and have a hand-on thinning practicum.  Be prepared to be outside


April 18, 1:30-3:30
Advanced Vegetable Gardening- Part 3
See Feb. 14 for class description.


April 25, 10:30-Noon
Edible and Sustainable Landscaping
You want your garden to be beautiful and productive at the same time. In this workshop, we’ll discuss ways to integrate edibles into a showy landscape, and how to grow and maintain that landscape in an environmentally friendly way. No registration required. Be prepared to be outside.


April 25, 1:00-3:30
Building a Home Hoop House
Come to Cloud Mountain and learn to build a home scale hoop house for growing tomatoes and peppers.  Materials will be pre-cut, so we'll just be learning how to put them together. You will go home with plans, a materials list and the experience of having built one yourself. When you register, or at the class, you will also have the opportunity to purchase harder to find materials to build your own home hoop house.


 May 9, 10:30-Noon
Using Tunnels & Hoops Houses for Productive Gardening
You can grow great tomatoes and peppers in the Pacific Northwest! Use of high tunnels and hoop houses can bring you success in crops that often fail out in the open. We’ll discuss hoop house construction, planting, pruning and training, and management issues. No registration required. Be prepared to be outside.


 May 9, 1:30-3:30
Advanced Vegetable Gardening- Part 4
See Feb. 14 for class description.


 May 30, 10:30-12:30
Advanced Apple & Pear Growing, Part 2
In our second class, we'll learn the process of scouting for pest and disease issues, and look at how our pruning earlier in the spring is affecting the early growth of the trees. We'll also look at fruit set, and have a hand-on thinning practicum. Both sections of Advanced Apple & Pear Growing, Part 1 will meet together for this class. Be prepared to be outside.


 June 6, 10:30-12:30
Advanced Stone Fruit Growing, Part 2
In our second class, we'll learn the process of scouting for pest and disease issues, and look at how our pruning earlier in the spring is affecting the early growth of the trees.  We'll also look at fruit set, and have a hand-on thinning practicum.  Be prepared to be outside. 


June 6, 1:30-3:00
Summer Care in the Vineyard
We will look at shoot positioning, summer pruning, bunch thinning, water management, and disease management. All of these issues are critical to the production of quality grapes for eating and wine. No registration required. Be prepared to be outside.


June 13, 10:30-Noon
Summer Propagation- Softwood Cuttings
Propagation of many woody plants is most effective during the summer growing season, and if a few simple guidelines are followed, softwood and semi-ripe cuttings can be very successful. We'll learn how to clonally propagate plants during the growing season as we discuss timing of cut, condition of wood, and caring for cuttings during and after the rooting process.  No registration required. Be prepared to be outside.


June 20, 10:30-Noon
Plant your Winter Vegetable Garden Now!
At the peak of summer is the best time to plan and plant a winter garden.  Here in the Northwest, it’s possible to grow and harvest vegetable almost year round.  We’ll discuss the types of plants you can grow, special fertility and soil requirements for winter gardening, and the use of cloches and frost blankets to extend the harvest. No registration required. Be prepared to be outside.


June 20, 1:30-3:30
Advanced Vegetable Gardening- Part 5
See Feb. 14 for class description.


Early August; Exact date is weather dependent, watch for details! 11:00-5:00
Summer Harvest Day
Mid to late summer is the pinnacle of fruit and veggies in the garden.  Come tour Cloud Mountain's growing fields and taste the wonderful bounty that can be grown here.  Registration not required.


 August 22, 10:30-12:30
Summer Propagation: Fruit Tree Grafting by Chip Budding
We will discuss the basic principles of chip bud grafting in this two hour course.  In addition to practicing the actual technique of budding, we will also discuss knife use, rootstock/scion selection, and aftercare of new grafts.Be prepared to be outside. Registration required, space is limited. $30 workshop fee. Sign up for both the Winter Propagation Class and this class, and pay $50 for both classes.


September 19   10:30-Noon    
Harvesting and Preserving Fall Fruit
When is it ripe?  How do I store it? What can I do to use this fruit through the winter? These are some of the most commonly asked questions in the fall.  At this workshop, we will discuss ways to determine if fruit is ready to be picked, proper picking, and best storage methods.  We’ll talk about how to keep fruit without refrigeration, exploring canning, pickling and drying methods. We will also discuss fall and winter orchard chores to help keep your trees at their healthiest. No registration required. Be prepared to be outside. 360-966-5859 for more info. Donations are welcome.


September 26   12:30-1:30   
Trial Vineyards Open House
Come and tour our trial vineyards.  Tom will be on hand to answer questions about the fifteen plus years of variety trials and growing methods in our vineyards. No registration required. Be prepared to be outside. 360-966-5859 for more info. Donations are welcome.


September 26, 1:30-3:00
Wine Trials Evaluation
This is a chance for new and experienced wine grape growers to have a look at many of the new varieties that are of interest in our climate.  Fruit will be available for sampling. Numerous wines will be opened for discussion. Some made at Cloud Mountain and some by NW Wine Institute. Several reds and several whites. All made from grapes grown at Cloud Mountain Farm Center. If you have fruit or wines you want to share, you are welcome to bring samples. Please let us know what you are bringing! Registration required, must be 21 or over to participate.  $10 workshop fee.


October 3   10am-5pm  &  October 4   11am-4pm
Annual Fall Fruit Festival
An annual event for over 25 years, we have close to 200 varieties of common and uncommon fruits, ciders, nuts, plus rare fruit jellies and sauces for you to taste and enjoy. The best part is that they are all fruits you can grow in NW Washington! It is quite a culinary education. Live music provides a pleasant background for this event. Julia’s Pumpkin Patch features U-pick and we-pick pumpkins and gourds for the festival and throughout the month of October. This is a fun-filled family event that many people attend - we hope you will join us! Admission fee, no registration required.


October 10, 10:30-12:30
Bee-ginner’s Introduction to Beekeeping with Michael Jaross
A candid view of what it really takes to keep bees in your own back yard from an urban beekeeper who's succeeded at it for 10 years.  Find local sources for equipment, bees and advice.  Learn how to raise healthy bees for excellent garden pollination and your own honey. Michael Jaross, current board member and past-president of Mt. Baker Beekeepers Association, keeps bees in his Bellingham back yard and at WWU's Outback Apiary.Registration required, limited space. $30 workshop fee


October 17, 1:00-3:30
Making Hard Cider
You’ve asked for it, here it is!  In this 2.5 hour workshop, we’ll demonstrate the basic procedures for fermenting fresh cider into hard cider.  We’ll look at equipment needs, we’ll discuss apple varieties and blends, yeasts and sanitation.  And yes, we will be tasting some hard cider, too. Registration required, limited space, must be 21 or over to participate. $30 workshop fee.