About seven years ago, Colorado State University, New Mexico State University Extension and Fort Lewis College got together to develop an annual workshop about land management.
The topics ranged from managing that recently purchased 35-acre tract of land (Who knew how big 35 acres really is!) to animal care and selection, gardening challenges and how to start a farming operation (Who knew how difficult farming really is!).
Here at the Extension Office, we know how to put on a workshop: tasty snacks, a lunch from Zia Taqueria and a full day of presentations given by local, regional and statewide experts – all for $20. This year’s Integrated Land and Garden Workshop will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday at the La Plata County Fairgrounds in Durango.
Our goal is to keep the agenda broad in scope, so we are offering educational opportunities on a wide array of topics:
Forest health. The knowledgeable people at the Colorado State Forest Service will be discussing everything from insect pressure to fire mitigation and the current state of our amazing forested areas.
Cover crops. Soil and cover crop guru Ron Godin with the CSU Extension will provide helpful hints about how to improve our soil’s organic matter (one of our biggest challenges) without tillage. Ron is someone you don’t want to miss!
The Village Ecodynamics Project: Mark Varien with Crow Canyon Archaeological Center will give a fascinating talk about how the ancestral Puebloans farmed in a very challenging environment.
Electric fencing for bears: Bryan Peterson with Bear Smart Durango has seen success – both for the safety of the bear and the preservation of your prized fruit trees – by using electric fencing as an exclusionary technique.
Companion planting: Stephanie Walker, vegetable specialist with New Mexico State University, will offer numerous hints and recommendations about garden design.
On Tuesday, the day before the Integrated Land and Garden Workshop, we also will be hosting the 21st annual Four Corners Weed Symposium from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the fairgrounds. And while the laws in Colorado have changed to allow another type of “weed” to become legal, experts from around the state actually will be discussing noxious, invasive and nuisance weeds on your property.
The cost for this workshop will be $25 and, once again, includes lunch and all sorts of handouts. For those of you who have a pesticide applicator license, we also will offer Colorado and New Mexico continuing education credits.
Lastly, on a completely different topic, I want to send out my condolences to the Sutton family – Doug, Vana and Bjorn – who recently lost their family member, Colin, to an avalanche on Conejos Peak.
I was fortunate enough to know Colin and to work with Doug at San Juan Mountain Nursery years ago. While a self-proclaimed curmudgeon, Doug has been an amazing source of horticultural knowledge for many people – including me.
I’m not sure if I would have gotten the gardening bug if it wasn’t for him. Thank you, Doug, and thank you for raising a man like Colin – a man who truly knew how to “love to live.”
email@example.com or 382-6464. Darrin Parmenter is director and horticulture agent of the La Plata County Extension Office.