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Practical Earthkeeper

Spring 2016 Edition
Classes, Workshops, Events & Volunteer Opportunities

Unless another address is given, all classes and events will be held
at the CCE-Tompkins Education Center, 615 Willow Avenue, Ithaca

To register for classes, call: (607) 272-2292

Some classes have online registrations at

The Practical Earthkeeper is published three times a year.
To receive the Practical Earthkeeper by email, contact Maria Christian at

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County provides equal program and employment opportunities.


Compost Fair & 4-H Duck Race
Sun. April 24th, noon- 4pm
Celebrate spring’s arrival by stopping by the fair for a guaranteed good time! Held in conjunction with the 4-H Duck Race, visit the Compost Fair to see and experience all aspects of composting. Teams of Master Composters will answer your questions. Music, food, interactive displays, activities for kids and tours of our compost demonstration site. Prize drawings will be held for all in attendance. Free and open to the public.

Easy Care Roses
Wed. Apr. 27, 6:30-8:30 pm
Roses are often considered a difficult group to grow. But with the right selection, roses can be a joy to have in your garden without a lot of work. Learn about the "easy care" roses that not only survive but flourish! Proper care will also be discussed -- planting, fertilizing, and pruning. Our presenter is Lee Ginenthal, local teacher and owner of Der Rosenmeister, a local rose nursery. $5-$10 Self-determined sliding scale fee.


Sunday May 1, 1 - 5 pm, Cayuga Street and Court Street in Downtown Ithaca
Help Cayuga & Court Streets come alive at this spring’s Streets Alive! Once again, on May 1st from 1-5pm, we’ll be closing the street to cars–from Ithaca High School to GIAC–and opening it to people for walking, rolling, biking, dancing and playing! And join Cultura to celebrate Cinco de Mayo at GIAC the same day! Free and open to the public.

Dividing Daylilies and Other Perennials
Mon. May 2, 6:00- 8:00 pm
Spring is the right time to divide many perennials. In this hands-on workshop, we will demonstrate how to divide daylilies, bearded iris, Siberian iris, Hosta, and others. Come prepared to work! Participants will take home all the plant divisions. Rain or shine (indoors if wet) . Limited to 15 participants. Cost: $10, prepayment required.

Green & Cozy Vendor Expo
Sat. May 7, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Speak to local stove installers and energy efficiency contractors who are participating in the Green & Cozy program. Learn about the benefits of pellet heat and energy efficiency and about the various incentives available to all households. Observe and operate pellet stoves. More info at Free and open to the public.

Ithaca's Annual Spring Garden Fair & Plant Sale
Saturday, May 14, 9:00 - 2:00 pm
Ithaca High School, 1401 N. Cayuga Street, Off Route 13
Cooperative Extension Master Gardener volunteers and other garden groups offer perennials, specialty plants and gardening advice. You will find organically grown vegetable transplants and heirloom varieties. A huge variety of annuals, herbs and many specialty perennials are offered by over 40 area growers. Flowering shrubs, trees, hardy roses and fruit crops round out the selection. Free soil pH testing and gardening information offered. Bring baskets, wagons, and other containers for transporting plants.

Landscape Design Part 1
Tues. May 17, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Participants will learn site assessment techniques as well as design concepts like garden rooms, themed gardens, hardscaping as garden ‘bones’, wild-life friendly gardens, and how to add fall and winter interest.The class will include some time outside looking at the CCE gardens so please dress for the weather! Cost: $5-$10 Self-determined sliding scale fee.

I Can't Afford Local Meat
Wed. May 18, 7:00 pm
The Finger Lakes Meat Project will host a class called "I Can't Afford to Buy Local Meat." We will introduce the financial benefits of buying local meat in bulk, explain meat pricing, and teach attendees how to find local livestock farms selling the products they need. We will also discuss the Meat Locker and common terms encountered when shopping for bulk meat.The class is free and open to the public. We will provide samples of locally raised meat. Free and open to the public.

Bike to Work
Fri. May 20, 7:00-10:00 am -Locations around Ithaca and Tompkins County
Join hundreds of people biking to work and school in Tompkins County and learn first hand why commuting by bike is fun, energizing, and an affordable way to get where you need to go! Enjoy a FREE breakfast at any of several Breakfast Stations from 7:00am -10:00am in downtown Ithaca and around Tompkins County.

Landscape Design Part 2
Tues. May 31, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
In part two of this series, we will look at design details like color, texture and form in the garden. We will talk about using ‘bubble diagrams’ to note existing and desired uses of the property, then participants will have an opportunity to work on their own landscape designs. Participants are encouraged to bring in a sketch of their property or of a specific area of their garden to work on in the class. Cost: $5-$10 Self-determined sliding scale fee.


Kitchen Garden Tours
See how gardeners cope with the challenges and reap the rewards of growing their own food. Favorite varieties, garden practices, deer exclusion, and oother topics will be discussed. Root cellar tours may be included. Locations and dates TBA. Please call in June for more information on dates and locations. Cost: $5-$10Self-determined sliding scale fee.

Square Foot Gardening
Wed. Jun. 1, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Learn what this "intensive" method is, how to do square foot gardening, the pros and cons, and (weather permitting), see a demonstration SFG outside. Great for beginners and kids! $5-$10 Self-determined sliding scale fee. Pre-registration reccomended.

Trees and Shrubs for Difficult Sites
Tues. June 7, 6:30pm - 8:30 pm
Roadside salt, drought, alkaline soil, shade, and clay soil are all site factors that influence your choice of a woody plant. Find out which 'woodies' can thrive in your site! Save time, money, and energy before you plant. Cost: $5-$10 (*s.s.f.). Pre-registration recommended.

Seed Saving 101
Thurs. June 9, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Seed saving is a fun and interesting activity that will provide you with plenty of seeds to save for next year’s garden or to share with others. This class will provide you with basic information to get you started. Learn the difference between open pollinated and hybrid varieties, which types of seeds are easiest to save, and how to incorporate seed saving into your current veggie or flower garden. Cost: $5-$10Self-determined sliding scale fee.

The Partial Shade Garden
Wed. June 15, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Partial shade isn't a problem -- it's an opportunity! Perennial flowers, wildflowers, ferns, sedges, and small shrubs, including some natives, can all be enjoyed in the dappled shade of trees, or the bright light or morning sun found at the north or east side of a building. Examples of a deer-resistant shade garden will be presented. Cost: $5-$10Self-determined sliding scale fee.

Small Fruit for the Home Gardener
Thurs. June 23, 6:30-8:30 pm
Small fruits are ideal fruits to grow if you are short on space and time. Currants, gooseberries and jostaberries should be ripe in the CCE gardens, so we will do some tasting of these lesser-known fruits. We will also talk about more common fruits such as raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries. Learn about cold hardiness, pollination, soil preparation, propagation, varieties to try and more. Cost: $5-$10 Self-determined sliding scale fee.

Plastic Garden Container/Pot Swap
Fri. June 24 - Mon. June 27, daily 9-6 pm, self-serve
Bring plastic pots, trays and cell packs to Cooperative Extension and take what you need with you! Broken pots should be taken to the Tompkins County Recycling Center.

Canning Jar Swap – will take place at the same time.
Bring clean unbroken jars to Cooperative Extension, leave them in the designated place in our Greenhouse. Take what you need!

Compost with Confidence - Getting Started
Sat. June 25, 12:30-1:30pm at Compost Demo site at the Ithaca Community Gardens

FREE class series held the last Saturday of the month (June-October). Master Composters provide information and demonstrations to help you compost with confidence! In June, we will cover compost basics and focus on how to select a bin and get started.


Compost with Confidence - Troubleshooting
Sat. July 30, 12:30-1:30pm at Compost Demo site at the Ithaca Community Gardens
FREE class series held the last Saturday of the month (June-October). Master Composters provide information and demonstrations to help you compost with confidence! In July we will cover compost basics and focus on what could go wrong and how to prevent or remedy the situation.


Open Days Garden Tours
Saturday, August 6 10am-4pm
Visit five spectacular private gardens open to the public for this day. Co-sponsored by the Garden Conservancy and the Tompkins County Beautification Program. Garden features include water features, rock sculptures, stone walls and buildings, figgeries, an artist studio, perennial plantings, vegetable gardens and more. Cost: $7 per garden. More information call: 272-2292 or email:, or check our website at:

Compost with Confidence - Harvest & Use
Sat. Aug. 27, 12:30-1:30pm at Compost Demo site at the Ithaca Community Gardens
FREE class series held the last Saturday of the month (June-October). Master Composters provide information and demonstrations to help you compost with confidence! In August, we will cover compost basics and focus on how you know when your compost is ready to use. We will also demonstrate how to harvest compost, and explain a variety of ways to use it.


Tomato Festival!
Sat. Sept. 10, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Calling all tomato lovers! This is an opportunity to sample many different varieties of heirloom tomatoes to see which you like best, then you can take home some seeds so you can grow these delicious yet sometimes hard-to-find varieties in your own garden. The tomato sampling and seed saving instruction will be ongoing so drop in when you can! Suggested $5.00 donation.

Advanced Compost 3-part Series
Tuesdays Sept. 13, 20 & 27, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Want to more effectively make and use compost at home? Come to this class series to "dig deeper" into the art and science of composting. Learn more about different ways to compost, how to troubleshoot, harvest and use compost, and run tests to determine the maturity; Master Composter-level compost information covered without the volunteer committment. $5 per class, or $10 for the series, pre-registration required.

For Solutions to your Yard and Garden questions, contact GROWLINE (607) 272-2292 x161, Email:

Staffed by trained Master Gardener Volunteers Monday-Friday 9:30 am - 3:30 pm

Ithaca Children's Garden
All programs held at the Ithaca Children's Garden,southern end of Cass Park, Rt. 89, Ithaca 

Salad Farmers:ICG is taking a hiatus from Salad Farmers to re-envision the program. Please let us know if you have feedback or ideas!

Thursday, June 9, 6-9pm
An adults-only garden party to usher in the summer with style. Enjoy delicious tapas, festive spirits, live music, and an intimate, garden-inspired evening for you and the date of your choice. Join us for an adult spin on the playful magic of childhood. Tickets go on sale May 5th.
$45/per person by June 1. $50/at the door. $40/member.

International Mud Day
Saturday, June 25, 1-4pm
Mud slides, mud pools, mud pies, mud fun for the whole family. No registration required. Free and open to all!

Summer Sprouts
Wednesdays, July 6 – August 31, 10am
Stories and hands-on gardening for children ages 2-5 and their caregivers. Free, donations welcome.

Zone into Nature
Thursdays, July 7- August 25, 10am
Environmental education by regional experts & ICG staff, followed by adventure play in the Hands-On-Nature Anarchy Zone. Free, donations welcome.

Teen Urban Farmers (TUF) Farm-Stand
ICG’s teens open the Farm Stand for customers to purchase delicious, youth-grown veggies, herbs, cut flowers, garden-fresh spritzers, omelet kits, and more. Revenue raised supports the TUF program.

Wednesdays, July 13 – August 31, 9:30am-5:30pm

Open Volunteer Days
Wednesdays, July 6 – August 24, 5-7pm
ICG is YOUR garden to plant and nurture! Join the ICG volunteer community, grow new gardening skills, and get dirt beneath your nails. No experience or registration is necessary. Please contact for more volunteer opportunities or details.

For more information about ICG's programs and events, visit: or email orcall 607-319-4203

Horticulture Happenings

Ithaca Plant Sale & Garden Fair

Saturday, May 14, 9 am-2:00 pm, Ithaca High School

Southern Cayuga Garden Club Tour - Sun. June 19, 1 pm- 4 pm, Aurora area

Fall Creek Garden Tour - Sunday July 10, 11 am-3 pm, Thompson Park

Dryden Garden & Art Tour - Sat. July 16, 9 am - 2 pm

Garden Conservancy Open Garden Tour - Sat. August 6, 10 am - 4 pm

Adirondack Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society
Meetings (open to all) usually occur on third Saturdays, except in summer. Summer events may include garden tours, workshops, and the members-only plant sale (August 20). You may join for $10 to participate in this sale. Please call Carol Eichler, 607-269-7070 or visit the chapter website,

Finger Lakes Native Plant Society
Meetings are all free and open to the public.

Wed. May 18, 7pm, Hemlock Woolly Adelgid - Film and Local Intervention Efforts, Chris Foito & Panel,Unitarian Church Annex, 2nd floor

Meet at different times and locations. Check the website at; call Anna Stalter at 379-0924; e-mail; or call Susanne Lorbeer at 257-0835.

FLNPS meetings resume in SeptemberFor information, check the website, or contact Rosemarie Parker at 257-4853.

Auraca Herbarist meetings
The Auraca Herbarists are an herb gardening study group associated with Cornell Plantations and its NYS Robison Herb Garden. They usually meet the second Tuesday of each month at 12 for lunch, with the program at 1 pm. For more information, email: or call Pat Curran at 272-2292.

For details of events and classes at Cornell Plantations, visit the website at:


Maria Christian
Administrative Assistant
(607) 272-2292 ext. 130

Last updated October 13, 2016