Olds College is celebrating its 100th year in 2013. It originally started out as a small agricultural college that had courses in farming, farm mechanics and home economics.
Over the years courses have changed, eliminated and enhanced.
It is no longer a sleepy little agricultural college but home to a very vibrant population of diverse programs and students.
One of the many activities planned this year is a horticulture speaker series that will be delivered via video conferencing.
The first of the series was on Wednesday evening if you missed it, be sure to catch the last three that are scheduled for the first Wednesday of the month from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
For those that have not yet attended a videoconference, it is an interactive form that allows people off site to view and listen to the speaker as they speak.
It also allows participants to ask questions and to listen to questions from people at other sites.
The mics are turned off when not in use or the noise level would be unbearable. Monitors allow one to see material presented as well as the people at other sites.
There can be technical glitches with videoconferencing but it allows people to be part of a session without traveling great distances.
February’s topic, Permaculture basics, was new to some in the area but not to others. Olds bills this course as an overview.
Permaculture, itself is not a completely new idea nor are many of the gardening techniques used.
Founders of permaculture have gathered up and put together ideas for sustainable gardening that have been used around the world.
Permaculture promotes using nature to enhance the , garden, especially food production.
March 6 topic, More than Just Tomatoes — Heritage Varieties for Albertans is given by Janet Melrose.
Janet has been growing heritage tomatoes and selling them for a number of years through her own greenhouse and the Red Deer Market.
Learn about heritage tomatoes as well as other plants that were grown in Alberta at the beginning of the 1900s.
Since that time plant breeders have developed new varieties of plants for various for reasons such as storage, length of season and disease resistance.
Grandparents that say that tomatoes tasted different when they were young are likely correct.
Learn about heritage plants and see if they are something you want to add to your garden.
On April 3, Dr. Ken Fry’s topic is Before Pesticides.
He will take participants through a journey of pest management from the early 1900’s until now.
Some of the old practices have become new again, some have not.
Other newer ideas have vanished. Participants will come out of this session with a better idea of pest management.
The last of the video conference series is on May 1. A holistic nutritionist, Rick Kohut, will discuss The New Face of Ancient Grains. Learn about the ancient grains kamut and quinoa sprouts in relation to their nutritional value.
He will also share some of his favorite recipes for those that want a healthier lifestyle.
To watch the rest of the video conferences contact the local Library or Learning Council. If they haven’t already signed up for the sessions they can still do so.
The first video conference had people signed in from throughout the province.
Linda Tomlinson is a horticulturalist that lives near Rocky Mountain House. She can be reached at www.igardencanada.com or firstname.lastname@example.org