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Workshop, tour designed to pique residents' interest in growing their own food

Courtesy/Joan Dukes
This glass Victorian greenhouse in Prescott keeps flowers inside for the winter.

Courtesy/Joan Dukes This glass Victorian greenhouse in Prescott keeps flowers inside for the winter.

PRESCOTT - Residents who want to extend the growing season for the fresh fruits and vegetables they cultivate in their yards can gain invaluable insight later this month on how to do it best - from a greenhouse.

For the first time, the Highlands Center for Natural History, 1375 S. Walker Road in Prescott, is sponsoring a community Greenhouse Workshop and Tour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23.

Although the first session has filled up with the maximum of 28 participants, the center is currently registering folks for another tour the following weekend, on Jan. 30.

Yavapai County resident Sharon Petz, who lives near Chino Valley and has knowledge on this subject, will conduct the workshop from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on the 23rd at the Highlands Center.

Her PowerPoint presentation on greenhouses and hoop houses (semi-circular-roofed structures covered with heavy-duty polyethylene plastic film) will be followed by a self-guided tour of four residential greenhouses in Prescott, complete with maps and directions. The owners of each of the greenhouses will be onsite, along with a center volunteer, to circulate small groups through the structures.

During the workshop, Petz will share all of the basics related to greenhouse design, including costs and materials, and define common greenhouse terms.

"I will give people who maybe thought that it would be a good idea to build a greenhouse on their property some familiarity with the things they need to consider and understand about greenhouses," Petz said. "That includes some basic information about codes and permits that might be needed in their area of Prescott, Prescott Valley, Chino Valley or the county."

To take part in the workshop and tour, Highlands Center members and students pay a $15 fee, while non-members pay $20. All money generated from the event will go to benefit the center and its mission.

After her brief discussion, Petz said people will have the chance to tour four different types of greenhouses - including a completely hydroponic greenhouse, which grows plants using mineral nutrient solutions in water rather than soil.

They also will visit:

• A glass Victorian greenhouse, which keeps flowers inside for the winter and has the capability of starting seedlings.

• A hoop house, complete with roll-up sides for ventilation, raised planting beds and a gravity-fed rainwater collection system, that grows vegetables.

• A small redwood and polycarbonate-framed greenhouse for cultivating vegetables.

As part of Petz's presentation, participants will receive information on what to grow and how to grow it in the Prescott area's unique "micro-climate."

"We're going to talk a bit about vegetables, because we're presenting this from the standpoint of people wanting to supplement their own food with fresh vegetables and greens," Petz said. "Typically, greenhouses get higher yield than field-grown gardens, and you have better control over a lot of things."

In addition, people can learn about various greenhouse designs and optimum placement, as well as the costs and benefits associated with them. Petz also will discuss passive solar heating, ventilation and maintenance of greenhouses.

For more information about the workshop or to register for the one on Jan. 30, call the Highlands Center at 776-9550 or log on to

If the weather is poor on the 23rd, tour participants can expect to receive a raincheck for the 30th.


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