Sustainable Gardening Focus Of Annual Conference

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Cayci Vuksanovich, a life-long gardener of Globe and Master Gardener, will talk about growing vegetables in a sustainable garden at the upcoming Arizona Highlands Garden Conference next month in Payson.

How to maximize use of our land, water and other resources as well as other aspects of sustainable gardening will be the focus of the 11th Annual Arizona Highlands Garden Conference next month.

A roster of outstanding speakers and tours is scheduled for the conference, “Sustainable Gardening for Homes and Communities,” scheduled Aug. 27 and 28 at the Mazatzal Casino in Payson.

The event starts at 9:30 a.m., Friday, Aug. 27, with four simultaneous sustainability demonstration tours — “Xeric Plants for the Rim Country,” featuring the use of low water-using plants; “Square-Foot Gardening,” maximizing the use of small spaces; “Rainwater Harvesting,” capturing and storing rainwater and re-using gray water; and “Firewise Landscaping,” protecting your home from wildfire.

Saturday, Aug. 28, there will be two keynote speakers, in the morning and at noon, and people can select from various breakout sessions to attend during the mid-morning, mid-afternoon and late afternoon.

Morning keynote speaker Greg Peterson will speak on “Simple Sustainability: My Ordinary Extraordinary Yard!” Peterson is a writer, teacher and lecturer on many aspects of sustainability, green living and permaculture.

A contributing writer for Phoenix Magazine and Edible Phoenix, and host of the television show, “Smart Spaces: Inside & Out,” Peterson will “explore our gardens beyond the plot and then beyond our yard and into the world,” sharing how his urban farm has impacted the community and explaining how to create our own urban farm.

The noon keynote speaker will be David Wann who will address, “Why We Garden.” The three concurrent breakout sessions scheduled for 10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. are “Construction and Uses of a Moveable Hoophouse: extending the season and modifying the growing environment” by Ed Page, with the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension; “Song-bird Gardens” by Tice Supplee, currently with the National Audubon Society after a 29-year career with the Arizona Game and Fish Department; and “Wonderful Worms,” to be presented jointly by Lauren Cathcard and Fred Jimenez, two Gila County Master Gardeners.

Cost of attending the conference is $25 for the tours on Friday and $75 for the Saturday speakers and includes breakfast and lunch Saturday and coffee, drinks and snacks during breaks, as well as welcome bags and door prizes.

Cost will go up after July 30 to $30 for Friday and $105 for Saturday. Vendors will be set up Saturday in the casino meeting rooms with garden-related goods.

Pre-registration is required since seating is limited. For more information: http://extension.arizona.edu/gila/horticulture. Phone the Gila County Cooperative Extension at (928) 402-8585.

The Arizona Highlands Garden Conferences are sponsored every year by Master Gardeners of Gila, Yavapai and Coconino counties and the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension. Master Gardeners are graduates of a program sponsored statewide by the UofA Cooperative Extension.

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