Fall and Winter Color Class with Jim Locke

generic shrub pic

With the weather changing, many of us wonder what comes next? Are we doomed to a dreary winter of bare soil and stripped foliage? How can we inject some color into our fall and winter gardens?

This Saturday, Jim Locke of Van Klaveren’s nursery comes to the Garden Spot for a free class on trees and shrubs for fall and winter color. A friendly fellow with a dynamite knowledge of plants, we are all looking forward to what should be a fun and informative event.

We talked with Jim about his life in gardening last week, and here’s what we learned…


Jim Locke 2

How did you get into horticulture?

I’ve been doing this since I was sixteen years old. Back then, I actually worked at a retail nursery in Altoona, Pennsylvania.

 Who was your biggest influence?

Probably a nursery inspector had the most influence on me staying in this field and going to college. He came by to chat fairly often, and his advice really stuck with me.

What do you like to grow?

Everything, but probably if I had to pick one, I’d say vegetables. This year we had a great chard crop as well as lettuce and carrots.

Where do you go for inspiration?

Well I’m lucky enough to work on a fourteen-acre nursery. So I just have to walk outside and see all the beautiful plants to get inspired.

When would you say is the best time to plant trees and shrubs?

I really believe that fall is for planting. Things are cooling down and plants can acclimate before the heat of the summer. The only downside is, you may not find all the plant material you want this time of year.


If you’d like to join us on Saturday, just call our store: 360-676-5480, or click here to register online. This class is free and starts at 9am.


Panning for Gold: Worm Bins 101 Class this Saturday

chopped-foodworm binHave you ever thought about making compost at home? Maybe even building a worm bin?

If you’re interested in starting a worm bin but aren’t sure where to begin, Elsie Konzelman of Nature’s Footprint will be at our store this Saturday, Sept. 21st to teach you the basics. (Get more info here.) The class is free, and all attendees will receive a coupon for 25% off our worm bins.

We talked with Elsie recently and she gave us the lowdown on worms and compost and why people start worm bins to begin with.


First of all, why worms?

Why not worms? Also known as “black gold“, worm compost is the best, richest organic soil amendment that you can generate for your garden. It is packed with nutrients, ten times that of regular compost.worm bin 1

Not to mention the fact that you can reduce your household waste by up to 30% by using a worm composter. Also, a worm bin is much more compact and convenient than a traditional compost pile.

Ah convenience, we like that! What kind of worms should we use? Can we dig up some earthworms from our backyard?

You can, but they won’t help you much. You want composting worms, such as red wigglers. They eat decomposing matter versus earthworms who feed on subsoil. Red wigglers will turn your kitchen scraps into compost quite rapidly.

Now we come to the “banana” question. We’ve heard that bananas are “bad” for worms but we’ve also heard that worms love bananas….. where do you stand on this very important question?

foodWell, let’s start with the fact that worms will eat just about any organic matter. And they do enjoy bananas, in fact they devour them!

One thing you don’t want to load up on in your worm bin are citrus fruits like lemons, limes or oranges. The worms don’t like the acidity of the fruit, and they’ll wait for them to break down before eating them, which will slow down the overall process of composting.

Thank Elsie!


To read more about worms and worm bins, check out the Nature’s Footprint site here.

To register for our free class this Saturday just call the store 360-676-5480, drop by or register online. It’s that simple!