Free organic gardening workshop in Beaumont

Tony Pereira, research assistant professor in civil engineering at Lamar University, is presenting a free workshop on how to start an organic garden Saturday, Oct. 20, from 1-3 p.m. at Basic Foods in Beaumont.

The workshop will cover the fundamental aspects of how to choose a proper location for an organic garden, which crops are appropriate for Southeast Texas, soil composition and preparation and design. Pereira will also discuss the required materials needed to start the garden, soil testing and amendments, watering and natural mulching, pest control, animal husbandry and building a compost pile.

“We are going to cover a variety of aspects,” Pereira said. “We are going to talk about whether you should import soil, make your own soil, or be concerned about the soil in the area, which is very contaminated — a critical issue that I don’t think a lot of people are aware of.”

Pereira said that organic gardens are healthier for humans due to lack of pesticides, herbicides, chemicals, synthetic fertilizer, syntheatic materials and genetically modified materials. He said he has been growing and eating organic foods free of pesticides, genetically modified organisms, and chemicals his entire life.

“Organic gardens are good for you, they are good for your kids, good for your pets, good for your house and the biosphere,” he said.

Pereira said that the workshop would cover how gardeners can defend their crops against insects with plant-made insecticides.

“There is a ton of books out there that offer suggestions on how to care for a garden,” he said. “But there is only a couple that should be considered. I plan to name those at the workshop.”

Pereira is also an advocate of sustainability, which has environmental, economic and social dimensions, encompasses the concept of stewardship and the responsible management of resource usage. He holds a Ph.D. in Engineering from the University of California Los Angeles.

Basic Foods is at 229 Dowlen Road in Beaumont.