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Grow the Best Garden: 5-Part Workshop Series (In Person)

February 11 @ 9:30 am June 10 @ 12:30 pm

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Join us for a series that explores a wide variety of incredibly important gardening topics, from planning and planting, to harvest and seed saving!

Whether you’re a novice or an experienced gardener, this series will be certain to offer you tips and tricks, strategies and tools for growing your best garden ever.

This series features five 3 hour long workshops, once per month for five months. We’ll have at least 2 hours of instruction, a hands on activity in the gardens, and time for questions and answers.

Note: If you live in outside Victoria area and would prefer an online option, the same series is happening online, accessed here.

Series Outline:

Grow the Best Garden #1: Plan and Prepare Your Garden – February 11 (9:30AM-12:30PM Pacific Time)

It’s the time of year when gardeners get excited about plotting and planning what they will be planting in their garden. Here on Southern Vancouver Island, good planning makes it possible to harvest produce from our gardens during every month of the year. In this workshop we will cover:

• Why garden in the first place?

• Get to know your garden site, sun, soil, temperature

• Time and money budgeting

• Choosing what to grow, when to plant it, and when to transition to other crops for year-round growing

• Draw a garden plan!

• Take a mini tour of the Compost Education Centre’s annual veggie garden to see how we’ve planned things out for the season

Grow the Best Garden #2: Seeding Techniques and Garden Care – March 11 (9:30AM-12:30PM Pacific Time)

There are so many ways to grow plants, and in this workshop, we’ll learn about the most common seeding techniques, and then get into garden care during the different seasons of the year. We’ll cover:

• Seeding long season crops indoors, soils to use, what your seedlings will need & how to care for your babies

• Seed germination testing

• Direct seeding

• Transplanting seedlings

• Thinning, weeding, watering, fertilizing, mulching, companion planting, basics of pests and disease management, other common seasonal garden care practices

• We’ll take a tour of the CEC’s greenhouse to see seedling growing in process, and then seed some trays together

Come away from this talk with the core principles of seeding techniques and a whole lot of insight into garden care throughout the seasons.

Grow the Best Garden #3: Build Incredible Soil – April 15 (9:30AM-12:30PM Pacific Time)

In this workshop we’ll explore the basis of all life on earth: Healthy Soil! We’ll explore what soil is made of and the vast importance of soil microbes. We’ll answer these questions and many more:

• What is soil made of and why does soil chemistry matter for growing healthy gardens?

• What is the function of beneficial soil microbes?

• What are some gardening methods that can help my garden thrive with beneficial soil microbes and healthy soil chemistry?

• How can I compost like an expert, mulch like a superstar and build soil organic matter every day of the year?

• Check out on site composting operations in the demonstration gardens: Earth machines, hot compost, tumblers, sheet mulches and worm bins! Together we will build a compost pile.

Come learn why soil is so important for plant growth and how to build incredible soil.

Grow the Best Garden #4: Extending Your Harvest & Saving Seeds – May 6 (9:30AM-12:30PM Pacific Time)

In this workshop we’ll explore timelines for seeding to ensure an extended harvest – be the one at a potluck in January with a backyard salad on offer! We’ll explore ways and ways to extend your harvest longer into the fall and winter. Then we’ll launch into the importance and practice of seed saving. We’ll explore topics such as:

• Cloches, cold frames, and greenhouses for season extension

• Seeding for winter crops – timing is everything

• Seed saving basics, so you can plant home grown seed next year!

• Explore Kayla’s seed saving operation and head out to the garden to look at some real life season extension infrastructure.

Grow the Best Garden #5: Harvest & Preserve Your Bounty – June 10 (9:30AM-12:30PM Pacific Time)

The most fun part of gardening is the delicious harvest and squirreling some away for winter enjoyment! In this workshop we’ll talk optimal harvest windows for different crops and cover the basics of food preservation. Preserving food is not only a delicious way to taste summer in the dark rainy days of winter, but it is also an act of sustainability and creates more security in the food system.

In addition to harvesting techniques and guidelines, we’ll cover the basics of the following food preservation methods:

• Dehydrating

• Freezing

• Cold cellar storage

• Hot water bath canning

• Fermenting

• Get your hands into some cabbage and take away your own jar of sauerkraut to ferment at home!


Instructor Bio: Kayla Siefried (she/her) is a settler in Lekwungen Territory and grew up in Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee Territory. Kayla is the steward of the Compost Education Centre demonstration gardens and the curator and main educator of the Adult Education Program. She can be found growing seedlings for plant sales, working with volunteers to keep gardens healthy, flipping hot compost, arranging expert instructors to teach workshops, or out in the community teaching about soil health, organic gardening, and Do-It-Yourself tasks that increase our climate resilience.

Kayla holds a Bachelor of Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo, and she continued on with practical hands-on permaculture training, gardening and farming internships in various places on Turtle Island and beyond. Kayla is passionate about sharing her knowledge with people young and old through formal and informal education. She’s facilitated youth programs for sustainability all across Canada, Guatemala, and Cambodia, and has a zest for travel and adventure.

Kayla sees the act of growing food and stewarding the soil as one that can heal on many levels. A keen sustainability activist, Kayla finds meaning in advocating for and living an environmentally sustainable life that involves bicycles, healthy food systems, and a good amount of outdoor dancing!


This workshop is happening in person only. Any health and safety protocols will be emailed to you 24 hours in advance. Please dress appropriately for all types of weather, the workshop may be outside or in our unheated strawbale building.


You must pre-register for this event.

Customers can request a refund within 30 days of ticket purchase. After 30 days refunds and workshop exchanges are not permitted due to administrative staffing capacity. Please be in touch if you are no longer able to attend but hold a ticket so we can make your space available to someone else.

You can also register for the event by calling our office at 250 386 9676 or via email by contacting office@compost.bc.ca

If you identify as BIPOC or are someone who experiences significant financial barriers to being involved in our programming, please get in touch about a reduced ticket cost. The Compost Education Centre is continually in the process of examining the ways in which our program accessibility can be improved for all members of our community. This ticket gesture is by no means a fulsome examination of the systems of oppression that exist for people inside and outside of our community. We welcome your ideas and feedback.

If you are a member and would like to redeem your workshop discounts for this series, please email office@compost.bc.ca.


Accessibility info: The Compost Education Centre site has paths made of stone gravel (20%), and wood chips (80%). Mobility devices with wheels (such as wheelchairs, walkers etc.) are sometimes difficult to use on site, especially on the gravel paths. The strawbale learning classroom is accessed via a wooden ramp and has a wide double door and a ramp leading up to it. Once inside everything is flat.

There is a single-stall gender neutral washroom on site. The washroom is not wheelchair accessible and has a small step up from the gravel pathway, and another small step up from the washroom boardwalk.


The Compost Education Centre is located on unceeded and occupied Indigenous territories, specifically the land of the Lekwungen people— specifically the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations. These nations are two of many, made up of individuals who have lived within the porous boundaries of what is considered Coast Salish, Nuu-Chah-Nulth and Kwakwa’wakw Territory (Vancouver Island) since time immemorial. At the CEC we seek to respect, honour and continually grow our own understandings of Indigenous rights and history, and to fulfill our responsibilities as settlers, who live and work directly with the land and its complex, vital ecologies and our diverse, evolving communities.

Compost Education Centre memberships get you free workshops, discounts at garden centres around town and more great perks! Sign up or learn more on our website.



February 11 @ 9:30 am
June 10 @ 12:30 pm


Compost Education Centre
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Compost Education Centre

1216 North Park Street
Victoria, BC V8T 1C9 Canada
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