If the snow and cold weather this week has not got people thinking of spring, then perhaps a gardening class offered by Carl Westerlund will. Mr. Westerlund, a Wilton gardener, will offer a two-part class on organic raised-bed gardening through Wilton Continuing Education on Wednesday, Feb. 19 and 26, at 7 p.m., at Wilton High School. The cost is $50 for residents, $60 for nonresidents. He will also offer a class on safe garden pest control Saturday, April 26, from 11 to 1 at the community garden in Allen\u2019s Meadow. The cost for that class is $25 for residents, $35 for nonresidents. \u201cI used to garden at home,\u201d Mr. Westerlund told The Bulletin last week, adding that like many in town he suffered from a lack of sun. \u201cSo I did containers on my front porch,\u201d he said. Then he was invited to share a plot at the community garden. \u201cLo and behold, it was a new experience for me,\u201d he said. That winter, the semi-retired carpenter and tile setter spent hours in the library reading about gardening. When he then explained the process of transpiration in plants, someone suggested he start teaching. Basically, he said, \u201cI want to share. I\u2019m not writing or promoting a book. I\u2019ve read enough of them.\u201d His first mentor advised, \u201cNever let a day pass that you don\u2019t learn something.\u201d His philosophy is simple. \u201cThere are no failures in gardening,\u201d he said. \u201cIf something dies in the garden, you\u2019ve got fertilizer.\u201d Mr. Westerlund practices raised-bed gardening. He puts together a wood frame about five feet by 30 inches, and digs deep into the ground. He then backfills with material like weed litter, grass clippings or rotted wood. Organic liquid nitrogen and a compound called Azamite add nutrients and trace elements. Opening day of garden season is St. Patrick\u2019s Day, he said, which is why he is offering the class in February, to give people a head start. By then you can plant spinach and peas. Planting peas is important, he said, because peas are legumes, which are soil builders. \u201cThey take nitrogen from the air and transfer it to the soil,\u201d he said. During class he will have handouts of various carbon-nitrogen ratios for composting and different kinds of soil mixes. But what is much more impressive is the collection of photos documenting Mr. Westerlund\u2019s plots in the community garden overflowing with vegetables of all sorts. At one point, he said, he picked 30 pounds of produce from one bed. It\u2019s not rocket science, but gardens do require attention. Ample watering is a must, lest you harvest hot radishes. \u201cAny place you have a patch of sunshine you can grow something,\u201d he said. \u201cUnlike trying to train a cat, a plant wants to grow.\u201d Pest control Pest control can be a formidable effort, but gardeners need to look and think before they act, he said. \u201cIn a community garden there\u2019s always something that\u2019s ready to eat your produce. It\u2019s like being on an airplane. Somebody coughs and everybody gets a cold,\u201d he said. The first defense is to grow healthy plants. Just as with a healthy human body, a healthy plant will be more resistant to diseases and parasites. While Mr. Westerlund will use organic compounds, he said there is also a mechanical aspect to consider. That is whether to pick off pests or leave them. He showed a photo of tomato plants besieged by hornworms, but growing nearby were the larvae of a wasp that preys on the hornworm. \u201cNature brings something,\u201d he said referring to the pests, \u201cbut it also brings something to control it.\u201d When the plants need some help, Mr. Westerlund turns to things like diatomaceous earth and simple soap and water. He also uses plastic to cover the plant rows at certain times of the day or growing season. Plants have a job to do, he said. \u201cThey shade the soil and they fruit and then die. \u201cThere\u2019s a reason you should pick your fruit,\u201d he continued. \u201cBy picking the fruit you\u2019re telling the plant it\u2019s not time to die yet.\u201d It will keep producing. Mr. Westerlund, who has lived in Wilton about 20 years, said his main reason for gardening is not what he gets out of his garden but what he gets from it: therapy. \u201cThe important thing about gardening,\u201d he said, \u201cis it will make you feel good.\u201d Information: wiltoncontinuinged.org.