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Events Winter 2018
Classes, Workshops, Events

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.


Making and Using Biochar in Your Garden

Wed., Feb 21, 6:30-8:00 pm
What is biochar and how does it improve garden soil? Sean Dembrosky from Edible Acres will lead this workshop on the benefits of biochar and show how to make it yourself. We'll discuss a number of easy and simple ways to make biochar in the wood stove, in simple outdoor pits, in mobile containers, and more. We'll explore how biochar can provide amazing boosts to your soil and discuss appropriate ways of incorporating it. Fee: $7-$10 sliding scale fee.


Bokashi Compost Workshop
Sat. Mar. 3, 10:00 am -12:00 noon
This Japanese composting technique involves natural fermentation and offers a way for people to manage food scraps. The liquid produced can be used to water houseplants while the food scraps are pre-digested, and can then be composted or buried in soil to finish. Join bokashi expert from NYC, Shig Matsukawa, in learning about the practice and go home with your own bokashi starter kit. Fee: $10 per household

Make a Bee Hotel for Native Pollinators
Wed. Mar. 7, 6:30 - 8:00 pm
Help increase populations of native bees in your yard and garden with a handmade bee hotel! Native solitary bees, like mason bees and leafcutter bees, are gentle, easy to raise, and are as important for pollinating as honey bees. Jacob Johnston from Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology will give a presentation on the life cycle of these fascinating native insects and show you how to make a bee hotel to attract them to your garden. Materials will be provided for participants to make bee hotels to take home.. Fee: $10, includes materials.

Seed Starting
Sat. Mar. 10, 10:00- 12:00 noon
Grow everything from artichokes to zucchini from seed at home. Save money and enjoy the miraculous process of seed germination and plant growth in your home to get you through these last weeks of winter and get your garden started early. We’ll cover techniques such as cold stratification and scarification as well as simple recipes for making your own potting and fertilizer mixes to save even more money. We’ll talk about tools such as grow lights and heat mats and soil blocks. All participants will leave with a few starts to take home. Fee: $7-10 sliding scale fee.

Soil Series #1: Know Your Soil
Wed. Mar. 14, 6:00 - 8:00 pm
Get up close and personal with your garden soil at this hands-on workshop! Knowing more about your soil can really help your gardening practice. Participants can bring in soil samples from their own gardens and will learn to assess the texture, color, drainage, fertility, pH and type of soil. Participants will also learn how to use the online Web Soil Survey tool to see detailed information about soils on their property. Participants should bring a soil sample from their home garden to assess, and a laptop (if possible) to access the online soil survey tool. A limited number of CCE laptops will be available for participants to use as well. Fee: $7-$10 *S.S.F.

Soil Series #2: The Soil Microbiome
Wed. Mar. 21, 6:00 - 8:00 pm
Join Professor Peter Hobbs of Cornell University for an exploration of the hardest workers in your garden--the soil microbiota. Explore the fascinating world of the soil bacteria and fungi that do the work of creating fertile soil. A better understanding of the life in the soil help us to understand how to facilitate the growth and resilience of our gardens and orchards. We’ll talk about practical techniques for facilitating a healthy microflora in your garden for maximum garden sustainability and productivity. Fee: $7-$10 *S.S.F.

Spring Worm Compost Class
Sat. Mar. 24, 10:00 am-12:00 noon
No backyard needed! Vermicomposting is an easy indoor system that produces rich compost for your plants. This hands-on workshop will teach you how to care for your very own bin. Each paying household will go home with a starter bin and worms. Fee: .$10 per household. Register online, space is limited!

Community Seed Swap
Sun. Mar. 25, 11:00 - 2:00 pm
Bring your extra seeds (home-saved or purchased) to share with others and go home with lots of seeds for your spring and summer planting! Learn about seed saving from some of our region’s avid seed savers, and take home seed varieties that you won’t find anywhere else and which are well-adapted to our growing conditions. Free hands-on demonstrations will also be held throughout the day on starting seeds, seed saving, seed cleaning and more! Free if you bring seeds to share, otherwise a $5.00 donation.

Soil Series #3: Improving Your Garden Soil
Wed. Mar. 28, 6:00 - 8:00 pm
Learn the tricks of the trade for improving your soils from the Master Gardener and Master Composter teams. We’ll talk about tips and tools for working in tricky clay soils. Learn techniques for improving your soil fertility, tilth, microbial and fungal diversity through tools such as sheet mulching, compost and vermicompost, cover crops, compost teas and juices, biochar, broad forking, double digging, and more. If the snow melts and reveals the soil below, we’ll head outside and demonstrate some of these techniques hands-on and explore the compost demonstration site and take a look at different styles of compost bins and tumblers and chat about the pros and cons of each. Fee: $7-$10 sliding scale fee.


Growing 'Gourdgeous' Gourds
Wed. Apr. 4, 6:30 - 8:30 pm
Already growing peas, carrots and kale? Well how about growing a gourd basket to put them all in?! Otto and Graham Ottoson of Gourdlandia will discuss some of the tricks involved in producing a hearty, carvable crop of cucurbit containers! Seed sources, pest management, drying, and a little bit about crafting will be discussed. The Ottosons are recent winners of the national Jim Story competition, the American Gourd Society's annual gourd manipulation contest.Fee: $7-$10 sliding scale fee.

Growing Home Fruit Series #1: Pruning Fruit Trees
Sun. Apr. 8, 1:00 - 3:00 pm - This class (only this one) at Indian Creek Farm, Route 96
If you grow fruit trees, it’s important to know how to prune them correctly to promote yearly fruiting and reduce disease problems. At this hands-on demonstration at Indian Creek orchard, orchardist Steve Cummins will demonstrate pruning and training techniques for both young and mature trees, including dwarf, semi-dwarf and standard trees. Species covered will include apple, peach and plum trees. The pruning demonstration will take place in the orchard so please dress for the weather. Fee: $7-$10 sliding scale fee.

Growing Medicinal Herbs for Home and Farms
Tue. Apr. 10, 6:00 - 8:00 pm - Borg Warner Rm, TC Public Library, 101 E. Green Street
Join Andrea and Matthias Reisen of Healing Spirit Herb Farm for an inspiring evening of learning how to grow medicinal herbs for your home garden and also at a farm scale. Learn about which herbs are easy to grow and which offer more challenges. Learn the processes for planting, cultivation, harvesting, processing, and marketing. $7-$10 sliding scale fee.

Using Plants for Natural Dyes
Wed. Apr. 11, 6:30 - 8:30 pm
Natural dyes can be made from a variety of wild and cultivated plants. Textile artists Sarah Gotowka (Luna Fibers) and Tracy McLellan will give a presentation on plants that can be used for dyeing fibers and fabrics. The discussion will include native plants and some that can be grown in our gardens, as well as common foods that can be used for dyes. Methods for dyeing with plants on fibers and fabrics will be provided and examples of plant-dyed fibers and fabrics will be shown. Fee: $7-$10 sliding scale fee.

AgStravaganza! at Ithaca Commons
Sat. Apr. 14, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
The farm comes to the Ithaca Commons! Many farms will be present, including CSA, maple, honey, cheese, and livestock - see sheep shearing and fiber spinning, lots of products to sample and purchase, plus big farm equipment to climb into and learn about. Lots of farmers and ag organizations will be there to answer questions and provide information. And, the Dairy Princess Court will handout free ice cream! Free! No need to register.

Propagating and Growing Culinary Herbs
Wed. Apr. 18, 6:00 - 8:00 pm
Come join farmer Karma Glos of Kingbird Farm ( to learn how to grow culinary herbs in your home garden or farmstead. Karma will cover growing annual and perennial herbs from cuttings and seeds and how to process and dry herbs to keep your family eating homegrown fresh and dried herbs all year round. Participants will practice rooting herb cuttings and can take home a rooted cutting from Karma’s mother plants. Fee: $7-10 sliding scale fee.

Growing Home Fruit Series #2: Tree Fruits
Wed. Apr. 25, 6:30 - 8:30 pm
Learn to grow your own apple, cherry and plum trees! This class will cover site selection, disease-resistant varieties for organic cultivation, soil and light requirements, planting, maintenance and pest and disease management. Fee: $7-$10 sliding scale fee.

Compost Fair & 4-H Duck Races
Sun. Apr. 29, 12:00 noon - 4:00 pm
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 be on hand to answer your questions. There will be music, food, interactive displays, activities for kids and continuous tours of our compost demonstration site. Prize drawings will be held for all in attendance. See you at the fair!

Streets Alive
Sun. Apr.29, 1:00 pm-5:00 pm - Cayuga and Court Streets, Ithaca 
Come walk, bike, roll, dance, and play! Streets Alive is an all age and ability-friendly healthy living event where the streets are closed to cars and open to people. Join the fun all along North Cayuga St from Ithaca High School to Court Street to GIAC. Free!


Growing Home Fruit Series #3: Small Fruits
Wed. May 2, 6:30-8:30 pm

Small fruits, which include strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries, currants and jostaberries, are well-suited for growing in smaller spaces and generally more tolerant of heavy soils than tree fruits. Learn about site selection, cultivar selection, planting, maintenance and disease and pest control for these fruits. Fee: $7-$10 sliding scale fee.

Save the Date!!!
Garden Fair Plant Sale, Sun. May 20, 9:00 am - 2:00 pm
At Ithaca High School

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

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

Volunteer Training Opportunities

Master Composter Training
10 in-depth classes train Master Composters, an enthusiastic group of community volunteers committed to promoting responsible composting. Training also involves volunteer activities. For more info and to apply online, visit Application. $60 deposit - refunded upon completion of volunteer hours. Apply online at or request an application. Application Deadline, Monday, January 29th.

Seed to Supper Facilitator Training (2 part training)
Part 1: Thurs. Feb. 22, 5:30-8:30 pm
Part 2: Sat. Mar. 17, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Seed to Supper is an innovative program to teach vegetable gardening classes to beginning gardeners on a budget. Volunteers receive training to work in teams to provide free, hands-on gardening classes in their own communities and provided with curriculum and plant materials for class participants. Some knowledge of vegetable gardening and ability to work in a team setting are required. Email Chrys Gardener at or call 272-2292 for a volunteer job description and application.Application required.

Energy Navigator Training (ten-sessions)
Starting in March - Dates to be determined
This ten-session training prepares volunteer Energy Navigators to help others in the community understand their energy use and make progress towards reducing energy use and bills, and switching from fossil fuels to renewables. Topics include understanding energy bills, home energy efficiency, renewable heating, solar energy, transportation alternatives, and more. Volunteers are expected to help with outreach and follow up with people who want follow up support. Training begins in March of 2018, specific dates and place TBD. For more information and to register your interest, visit, or contact Karim Beers at or 272-2292 ext 186.

The Community Beautification Program
Mon. Mar. 26 & Thurs. Mar. 29, see below for times
Join the Beautification Brigade--a group of volunteers that plants and maintains public flower plantings in Ithaca, including the Ithaca Commons. Have fun, learn gardening techniques and help keep Ithaca gorgeous. Free dinner provided at two trainings: Monday, March 26, 6:30-8:30pm or Thursday, March 29, 6-8pm, at the Cooperative Extension Education Center. First work session (indoors) Saturday, March 31, 1-5pm, location TBA. Outdoor work sessions start in early April.

Free and open to anyone who wishes to volunteer with the program. Email, or call 272-2292 ext. 123, for more info or to request a volunteer application. To learn more about the beautification program, visit

Citizen Pruner Program 
Citizen Pruner Training – open to the public and interested volunteers
Got a passion for trees, learn proper planting and pruning! 
Most classes run from 7:00-8:30 PM, sign up for whichever class you wish to attend.
Monday, April 9, 7:00-8:30 PM – Right Tree Right Place - learn about trees for difficult sites – Dr. Nina Bassuk
Monday, April 16, 7:00-8:30 PM – Tree Pruning – Jeanne Grace, City Forester & Keith Vanderhye, Limbwalker Tree Care
Monday, April 23, 7:00-8:30 PM – Shrub Pruning – Monika Roth, Cooperative Extension Ag Educator
Monday, April 30, 5:30 PM – Tree ID walk and pruning demo.
Classes will be held at Cooperative Extension.

Ithaca Children's Garden

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

Playful Nature Explorers
Mondays-Thursdays, 9:00am-12pm
Pre-registration required

Playful Nature Explorers invites children ages 2.5-6 explore the rhythm of the seasons with ICG's garden-based outdoor preschool program. The play-based curriculum allows the natural curiosity of young children to lead their explorations, experiments, and creative expressions. Flexible schedules and enrollment options. For more info or to register:

For other events, visit: or email or call 607-319-4203

Horticulture Happenings

Ithaca Native Landscape Symposium
Mar. 2 & 3,
Cinemapolis Theater, Downtown Ithaca

March 8-11th: Gardenscape, Henrietta, NY

Sat. Apr. 28: Gathering of Gardeners, Rochester, NY

Local Farm and Garden Events

Cornell Botanic Gardens

North American Rock Garden Society - Adirondack Chapter-

Finger Lakes Native Plant Society

Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming

CCE Schuyler County

Auraca Herbarists
Meetings are held the second Tues. of each month at 12 for lunch,
with the program following at 1 pm. Locations vary. For more info, email or call Pat Curran at 607-564-7927.

Cornell Plantations events
http: for events)


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

Last updated April 19, 2018