” currently covered with cornstalk mulch going into the spring season

” currently covered with cornstalk mulch going into the spring season

WEEKEND: Get sneak peek of spring green with gardening workshops

SEQUIM — An Italian villa with lasagna gardening: So goes the recipe for the 14th annual Gala Garden Show, two days of displays and presentations by local lovers of all things green.

The event, a fundraiser hosted by Soroptimists International of Sequim, will be open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Sunday at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula’s Sequim unit at 400 W. Fir St.

Admission is $5 per person per day. Proceeds support the Soroptimists’ local projects.

More than 50 vendors and exhibitors, from Fresh Hats of Port Angeles to the Bloedel Reserve of Bainbridge Island, will set up at the show.

Seven experts will give talks on such topics as “The Edible Landscape” and “Growing Tomatoes in Western Washington.”

Vision Landscape Nursery, 131 Kitchen-Dick Road just west of Sequim, was winner of the “favorite booth” award at last year’s event with its informal greenhouse-with-landscape display.

And so this year, Vision co-owner Allan Bernards is building something else entirely: a formal, Italian-style patio with lime-green cypresses and flowering shrubs that thrive in this part of the world.

“It’s all about color,” Bernards said of the garden show. “Spring fever hits,” and people are thirsty for flowers.

The 2012 event has plenty for the hungry as well, with Clallam County Master Gardener Larry Lang’s “lasagna gardening” presentation.

Lasagna gardening

At 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Lang will reveal how he used newspaper, straw and compost — and relatively little labor — to transform his lawn into a miniature farm.

He learned of the lasagna technique, a layering of paper, cardboard and other material beneath seedlings, a few years ago and applied it to a 160-square-foot patch in his Port Angeles yard.

This was after he’d started out “double-digging,” a labor-intensive activity that requires shoveling dirt, then shoveling it again.

Lang realized this was not what he wanted to do on the whole section of the yard.

The neighbors saw him laying down newspaper, straw and compost and asked what he was going to plant.

“Sunflowers and corn,” Lang replied. “I just threw that out as a wild idea.”

By early June, Lang and his wife, Nancy, also a Clallam Master Gardener, were reveling in the changes.

“We had amazing success: sunflowers 10 feet tall, and I had planted the corn so densely that we had virtually no weeds,” he said.

Since then, the lasagna method has yielded a profusion of broccoli, tomatoes, two types of cucumbers, beans, peas and pumpkins — all within that 160 square feet.

Lang added that there are books and lots of Internet references about lasagna gardening, aka sheet mulching.

And for those with an appetite for more of this kind of learning, Lang’s talk is followed by Sunday’s featured presentation, “Heirloom Vegetables: Grow and Share Our Edible Heritage,” with author Bill Thorness at 1:30 p.m.

The show has speakers Saturday, too, of course, including Sally Tyvser of Sequim on “Herbs — Nature’s Own Pharmacy” at 10 a.m., Jeanette Stehr-Green on “Growing Caneberries on the North Olympic Peninsula” at 11 a.m., Carol Miles giving the aforementioned “Growing Tomatoes” talk at 12:30 p.m., Bob Cain with “Wine Making with Fruits and Vegetables” at 2 p.m. and Hank Gibson on “The Edible Landscape” at 3 p.m. Saturday.

For more information about Gala Garden Show activities, visit www.SequimGardenShow.com.

________

Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3550 or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

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