FORT RUCKER, Ala. (March 28, 2013) -- Though the weather may still be chilly, spring is officially here, and with it comes the Center Library's annual Vegetable Gardening in the South class.

The class is free and open to the public, and will provide individuals with information on the basic requirements to achieve a healthy and beautiful garden, according to Al Edwards, Center Library director.

"We want to teach people how to succeed, how to make the best choices and how to have the best possible garden they can -- from soil preparations all the way to harvesting," he said.

No experience is necessary to attend the class, and participants can be new gardeners or seasoned veterans.

"Everyone is welcome to come, we like all ages because even a young child can plant beans and tomatoes," he said, adding that participants don't need to bring anything with them.

The class will be held March 30 at the Center Library from 3-4 p.m. Topics include soil preparation, pest control, light and water requirements, understanding information provided on commercial plant labeling, planting times, fertilizer requirements, zone distinctions, organic practices, how much sun a plant needs, mulching and gardening designs.

"We will talk about anything that participants want to discuss, whether it be about vegetables or even landscaping. We can give them tips on how to get the most out of their odd shaped garden or a garden that is on a slope and what their options are.

"We can help everyone who has an idea, but are not sure how to execute it or just those who have questions concerning a certain type of plant," said Edwards.

There are many things that gardeners have to battle in this region if a garden is to thrive, according to the director, but he said all of those issues will be discussed at the class.

"A lot of people will try and fail because we have a lot of bugs, heat and humidity, but I can help people have a beautiful garden despite those factors," he said.

There are other major concerns that make gardening challenging in the south that Edwards will also discuss.

"We will talk about soil types and how to plant in it. Out here it is either sand or clay and you have to plant a certain way and time depending on what soil type you have. Certain plants do well here while others do not," he said.

Plant labeling and pesticides will also be addressed, along with basic potting skills.

"We are going to be talking about things that everyone can learn from whether it is about growing a single basil plant on the kitchen counter or growing trees and fruit in a large outdoor space. This is a great way to exchange ideas and to learn about gardening in this region," he said.

According to Edwards, people get more out of gardening than the energy they put into it.

"The plants just taste better because it is vine ripped instead of picked green and ripened artificially. Also, if you buy heirloom varieties you're not going to get gene-modified items that many people have a problem with," he said.

"Gardening is also a huge stress reliever; it is the second most popular hobby in the U.S. You get so much from getting out in the sunshine and fresh air, and it is good exercise despite what some people may think," he continued.

A since of accomplishment and tasting the fruit of one's own labor is not the only benefit to gardening, he added.

"It is so expensive to buy food these days. You can grow your own at a much cheaper price. Anyone can grow something even if it is just in a pot on your patio."

All ages are welcome at the event, and young children and teens are encouraged to attend.

"My father used to say 'Kids these days could stand in the middle of a garden and starve to death because they didn't know what they were standing in,' and that is so true. It is important for young people to be involved in gardening so they are aware of where a tomato comes from and how to grow one," he said.

For more information, call 255-3885.

Page last updated Thu March 28th, 2013 at 14:20