The New Canaan Nature Center has announced a new partnership with veteran New Canaan farmer "Uncle Buck," Randy Brown.

Starting in February, Brown will teach a new horticulture education program that will take place in the Nature Center greenhouse. The hands-on "Backyard Gardening Series" is designed to provide guidance, support and knowledge to those wishing to grow healthy plants, vegetables and flowers from seed. The class will meet Saturday mornings in the Greenhouse from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and each week will incorporate a lectures and hands-on work and learning. Weekly participation is encouraged but not mandatory.

The series consists of 10 lessons/workshops over 13 weeks on choosing the right plants for a garden, seed propagation techniques, making and rooting cuttings, soil amendment, preparing the garden bed, transplanting tips, container gardening , insect/disease control and more. Participants will work in the greenhouse to plant and raise seedlings, learn to avoid and remedy common gardening pitfalls and benefit from expert guidance when the time comes to transfer seedlings into your own garden or Nature Center plots. Visit www.newcanaannature.org/pdfs/Backyard%20Gardening%20flyer.pdf for a complete schedule.

"Since returning to New Canaan after a lifelong farming career, my goal has been to increase awareness of the importance of maintaining a connection to the earth, and to share the skills necessary to grow plants for food and fun," Brown said. "I'm excited to have this opportunity to partner with the New Canaan Nature Center, share my passion for growing and offer a course which is designed to demystify what is becoming the lost art of vegetable and flower growing at home."

"Partnering with Randy Brown is a step toward our goal of creating an active learning environment in the Nature Center greenhouse," Laura Heckman, Nature Center Executive Director, said. "We are excited work with him and share his extensive knowledge of local farming and gardening with the community."

The class is an opportunity for fledgling gardeners as well as those who want to learn more about greenhouse gardening. The participation fee is $250 including supplies; $225 for NCNC members. Participants will have access to the greenhouse throughout the week and share the responsibility of watering and looking after the seedlings. Call 203-966-9577 ext. 20 to register.

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