Let’s talk gardening! I did it! I gave my first official garden talk on April 19, 2012, at the Homer Township Public Library as planned back in October. Would that I had begun preparing my PowerPoint presentation and outline back in October–or in November, December, January, etc.! Instead I waited until I was in the midst of my busy spring gardening tasks, and I also had to hurry to prepare to leave town the day after I gave that talk. But I finally buckled down and did it. I finished transplanting my tomato seedlings the day before the talk, and I planted my broccoli outside on the day of the talk–all detailed in the “Broccoli Babies” post I wrote while I was out of town the following week.
As for the talk itself, it was called “The Kitchen Garden” and described thus: “Local gardener Debbie Rea will explain how to start and maintain a garden of edibles–vegetables, fruit, and herbs.” I prepared a 126-slide presentation and a 5-page handout. Most of the slides were pictures from my own garden, past and present, that I used to illustrate my gardening methods. It’s a good thing that I’m such an avid amateur photographer and had taken so many pictures over the years. A big plus to doing this talk was that I figured out how to scan my old pictures, and I had a lot of fun looking back at how my own kitchen garden started 12 years ago. Therefore, I finished the presentation with a series of before and after shots of the garden.
17 people besides my husband and I showed up that evening, and only two of them were friends I myself had invited and encouraged to come. I had a great time teaching about one of my favorite topics. I had so much information, in fact, that I probably could divide this talk into two separate ones, one about starting and one about maintaining a kitchen garden. I listed MANY websites and some books on the outline I passed out, so everyone was armed with where to get even more information.
The only problem was that my talk lasted WAY too long, at least an hour and a half. That was because I made a critical mistake early in my presentation by allowing people to ask questions during the talk rather than waiting to the end. I was amazed by the number of questions! While it was fun answering those questions, most of which came from one individual, I feel I did a disservice to the rest of the group who just wanted to hear what I had to say and then ask their questions later. The talk would have gone along much faster and remained better organized had I just given it as planned. So from now on I will maintain a policy of having everyone save their questions for after my presentation.
While I was hustling to prepare my talk and take care of my garden at the same time, I kept asking myself, “WHAT was I thinking?” and I wondered if becoming a garden speaker was such a good idea. But after I gave the talk and got such a good reception, I decided it was worth it after all. So I hope to do more! Obviously, I’ve already got this kitchen garden talk prepared and ready to go; therefore, I could do it at other places now–other libraries, my garden club, and other garden clubs. Meanwhile, I’m thinking of other topics I would like to present, such as edible flowers, using and preserving produce and herbs from the garden, organic gardening methods, and seed starting and plant propogation. What would you like to hear me talk about and where?
Just for fun, I’m adding a few of those “before” and “after” pics I mentioned here: