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Practical Earthkeeper

Events Fall 2017

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.


Cover Crops for Home Gardens
Wed, Sept. 6, 6:00 - 8:00 pm
Reduce your carbon footprint and enhance your soil all at once! Planting cover crops in your garden is a cost effective form of nutrition and organic matter and keeps your soil, water, and nutrients from running off. Come learn which cover crops do well in our area and which ones work best for your garden situation. We'll cap off the evening with a hand-on cover crop planting demonstration in the CCE garden. Self-determining sliding scale fee $5-10. Pre-registration required.

Kitchen Garden Tours #2 Owl Moon Gardens
Tues, Sept. 12, 6:00 - 7:30 pm
Come tour the beautiful and productive two acre garden of Art Godin and Joanna Green in Newfield. They use straw mulch and cover crops with lots of compost to keep their garden clean and weed-free. They try to reuse all biomass generated by the garden in the form of weeds & vegetable waste through ongoing composting. They grow crops sufficient to last through most of the year, preserving yields in a chest freezer, a cool area for root crops & cabbage along with a small amount of canning and pickling. They start almost everything from seed using soil blocks, capillary pads & a heating mat when required. Besides oodles of vegetables, they grow tree fruit & berries. They are always trying to figure out ways of reducing the labor required to maintain the pristine look they have. Come join us and learn their tricks and tips and be inspired! Self-determining sliding fee: $5-$10. Must register online

Advanced Compost Series
Thurs. Sept. 14, 21 & Oct. 5, 6:00-7:30 pm
Go beyond the basics and "dig deeper" into the art and science of composting in this three-class series: Class 1 - how it all works / the composting process, Class 2 - testing and use, and Class 3 - troubleshooting and advanced techniques. Come to one class or them all. Go home with a more complete understanding of the magic of compost. We guarantee better home composting in time for the fall leaf season! Fee: $5 per class or $10 for the series. Pre-registration required.

Heirloom Tomato Festival!
Sun. Sept. 17, 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
Calling all tomato lovers! This is an opportunity to sample many varieties of heirloom tomatoes at one time, then take home some saved 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! No registration required. Suggested $5.00 donation.

Sat. Sept. 23, 10am- 1pm, Suite A parking lot behind Convenient Care Center off Warren Rd., 10 Brentwood Drive
CarFit is a hands-on educational program for older drivers. A team of trained technicians work with each participant for about 20 minutes to help them "fit" their vehicle for maximum comfort and safety. A CarFit review includes twelve key areas, such as how to properly adjust one's mirrors, which can greatly minimize blind spots, ideal foot positioning on gas and brake pedals to reduce fatigue and reaction times, and safe positioning of the seat and steering wheel. Co-sponsored with Eleanor Liebson, Cayuga Medical Center Outpatient Occupational Therapist and Driver Rehab Specialist. Register at or with Eleanor Liebson at (607) 274-4159 or

Compost with Confidence
Sat. Sept. 23 & Oct. 21, 12:30 - 1:30 pm,
Compost Demo Site at Ithaca Community Gardens (follow signs from 3rd St. near Farmer's Market)
The Compost Education Program offers a free, outdoor class one Saturday a month from June through October at the Ithaca Community Gardens. The September class will focus on how to compost indoors. The October class will focus on ways to continue to compost outdoors over the winter. Master Composters teach the basics of home composting in each class.
Free and open to the public. Registration not required, but online registration appreciated.

Drinking Water Wednesday
Sept 27, 5:30-7:00 pm at Dryden Fire Hall - 26 North St, Dryden, NY
Learn about the common tests of drinking water —bacteria, nitrate, nitrite, and lead—and when and how to test your private well. Ample time for questions and answers with the Community Science Institute, a water testing lab, and the Tompkins County Health Department. Additional Drinking Water Wednesday forums will be held in Newfield and Trumansburg in the months ahead. No registration required. Free and open to the public.

Dividing Perennials
Thurs, Sept. 28, 6:00 - 7:30 pm
One of the simplest ways to gain more plants in your garden is to divide your existing plants. Trade with friends and other gardeners and watch your garden diversity multiply. In this workshop, you will learn how to dig and divide perennial plants, which plants should be divided in fall and the benefits of this routine maintenance. Work with Master Gardeners to gain hands-on experience and learn proper techniques on dividing perennials. Go home with a small division to keep for your garden. Please bring a pair of garden gloves. Self-determining sliding fee: $5-$10. Pre-registration required.

Green Building Open House - One day only!
Sat. Sept. 30, 10am-4pm
About a dozen homes that feature renewable energy and/or eco-friendly building practices will be open to the public for self-guided tours during this one-day event. Homeowners and/or builders will be on-hand to discuss their work and answer questions about solar energy, wind power, geothermal and air-source heat pumps, solar hot water, straw bale construction, timber framing, non-toxic finishes, local and reclaimed materials, composting toilets, and more!

We've shortened the tour to one day only, but the range of green building features you'll see is bigger than ever! From time-honored to the very latest, it's all on display. And it's all free--though we're accepting donations at all sites if you're able to support the Open House and are able to help us make it support itself financially.

We'll have all the information at Call (607) 272-2292 or e-mail Guillermo Metz at for more information. You can also find us on Facebook!


Treasure Hunt on the Reuse Trail
Reuse Stores in Ithaca and Surrounds
All of October
Visit Reuse Stores to find clues to solve a puzzle to be entered into a raffle for prizes of $40 to $200 in store gift cards. Two levels of participation plus a bonus game prize. No purchase is necessary, though the 14 participating stores offer 10% off to participants. Learn about the wealth of reuse stores in Ithaca and Tompkins County, which provide quality goods at affordable prices, rescue resources, and support the local economy. More info at Free!

Native Plants for Pollinators
Wed. Oct. 4, 5:30 - 6:30 pm, at the Tompkins County Public Library
Attractive plants that support native pollinators add another dimension to gardens and landscapes. Native plants in particular are great for our native pollinators. There are pollinator plants suited to hot, dry sites, clay or sand, even dry shade. Learn how to diversify your plantings to support pollinators throughout their life cycles. Free (donations accepted). No registration required.

Seed Saving 101
Wed. Oct. 4, 6:00-7:30 pm
Now's the time to start thinking about saving your own flower and vegetable seeds for next year’s garden and to share with others! In this hands-on class, participants will learn the basic principles of seed saving such as which home garden seeds you can save; how to harvest, clean and process; and how to store them for the next year. Learn the basics of saving wet-seeded crops such as tomatoes and peppers. We'll also spend some time outside harvesting different types of vegetable and flower seeds from the CCE gardens, then we'll clean the seeds using different techniques and tools. Cost: $5-$10/person self-determined sliding scale (pay what you can afford). Pre-registration is required. Register online, call (607) 272-2292 to register and pay by phone, or come by CCE-Tompkins during business hours. Questions? Contact Jennie at

Introduction to Permaculture Design
Thurs. Oct. 12, 6:30 - 8:30 pm
Permaculture (permanent agriculture) is a popular and ancient system of growing food that minimizes labor by using perennial plants, which come back year after year. Join Sean Dembrosky of Edible Acres ( for an evening introduction to the basic concepts of permaculture. We'll look at living examples of plant guilds, polycultures, and shed light on some of the concepts that inform permaculture ethics and design in gardens and beyond. Self-determining sliding scale fee: $5-$10.Pre-registration required.

Let's Talk Transportation- Safety and Aging Drivers
Tues. Oct. 17, 5:30 - 7:00 pm at Lifelong
The number of older drivers is booming! So is the need to understand the effects of aging, how to drive safer longer, and transportation alternatives. Come learn how to optimize safe driving for yourself and/or others, types and benefits of driver assessments, tips for effective family conversations, and what to do when safety concerns persist. Free to Lifelong residents. To register call Lifelong at 607-273-1511

Impacts of Invasive Plants on People and Wildlife
Wed. Oct. 18, 6:30 - 8:00 pm
This class will look at the causes of plants becoming invasive, their impact upon wildlife and plant communities, and their uses for food, medicine, and beyond. Self-determining sliding scale fee: $5-$10. Pre-registration required.

Winterizing Your Garden
Thur. Oct. 19, 5:30-6:30 pm, at the Tompkins County Public Library
The key to great Spring gardening is winter preparation, learn how to prepare and protect your soil from winter cold and Spring rains, and how to ensure optimal nutrition and soil tilth for great growing when Spring rolls around. This slide show will guide you through the process of winterizing your garden. This class is free (donations accepted). No registration required.

AARP Smart Driver Courses (a 2 day course)
Mon. Oct. 30 & Tues. 31, 9:00 - 12:30 pm
The AARP Driver Safety Program is the largest and oldest driver safety program for people age 50 or older and is changing the driving behaviors of course participants. Annual participant surveys reveal that almost all participants (93%) had changed at least one of their key driving behaviors as a result of the course. Many reported changing multiple behaviors. The most common changed behaviors were: always checking blind spots (73%), maintaining following distance and space cushion (65%); and paying more attention when entering or exiting highways (60%). Further, 79% felt the information they learned prevented them from being in a crash. Most participants have taken the DSP course more than one time. Participants must bring their driver’s license and AARP card (if a member) to class. $20 for AARP members, $25 for non-members. Pre-registration required. Come 15 min. early the first day, for registration and payment.


Vote for Worms (Fall Worm Composting Class)
Sat. Nov. 4, 10:00 am - 12:00 noon
This hands-on workshop teaches all you’ll need to know about “vermicomposting,” an indoor composting system that is easy and produces particularly rich compost for your garden and houseplants. Participants go home with a working worm bin. Register early, space is limited! Fee: $10 per household.

6th Annual Leaf Swap and Compost Giveaway
Mon. Nov. 6 thru Sat. Nov. 18 (take away day, 18th)
Drop clean, bagged leaves at CCE during the 2-week drop-off period. Come to the Leaf Swap event on Saturday, 10/18 to pick up leaves and up to 5-gal of finished compost. Free and open to the public.

Winterizing Your Garden
Thurs. Nov. 9, 5:30 - 6:30 pm
The key to great Spring gardening is winter preparation. Learn how to prepare and protect your soil from winter cold and Spring rains, and how to ensure optimal nutrition and soil tilth for great growing when Spring rolls around. Hands on demonstration in the CCE garden. Self-determining sliding scale fee: $5-$10.Pre-registration required.

Much Ado about Ash: How Emerald Ash Borer Will Impact Your Trees
Thurs. Nov. 16, 6:30-8:00 pm
Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is a significant invasive pest that is damaging and killing ash trees in the US. Jeanne Grace, City Forester for the City of Ithaca, will teach you how to identify ash trees on your property and show you how to search for early signs of EAB infestation. The class will also cover different treatment options for EAB. Self-determining sliding scale fee: $5-$10.Pre-registration required.

Raising Chickens Sustainably
Thurs. Nov. 30, 6:30 -8:30 pm
For three years Sean and Sasha of Edible Acres have been raising chickens for nearly no cost. Inspired by the Vermont Composting Company, which has been using chickens to help generate tremendous amounts of compost, they have been sourcing local food scraps, bartering for whole grain and collecting leaf bags and wood chips to create multiple wheelbarrow loads of compost per week while raising 50 chickens in a front yard. The chickens also provide ample amounts of eggs and meat for the table and for bartering. The techniques and concepts they have worked with can be scaled up and can easily be scaled down or added in small ways to a backyard chicken operation. Sean will share lots of photos of their setup and help people feel empowered to get their chickens working and playing in constructive and healthy ways. Self-determining sliding scale fee: $5-$10.Pre-registration required.


Evergreen Wreath-Making Workshop
Sat. Dec. 9, Beginners - 9 am-12 noon
This session will include how-to instructions by Master Gardener volunteers.
Experienced (for people that have made wreaths before) - 1:00 - 3:00 pm
Make a beautiful evergreen wreath to decorate your home for the holidays. Fresh-cut greens, ring, wires, and ribbons supplied. Bring any special decorating materials you like to personalize your wreath. Wear casual clothes and bring pruning shears and gloves. Class limited to 15. Pre-registration AND PREPAYMENT required. Wear casual clothes and bring pruning shears and gloves. Class limited to 15. Pre-registration AND PREPAYMENT required. Fee: $18.

Gifts From the Garden: Making and Herbal Gardeners Salve
Sun. Dec. 10, 2:00 - 4:00 pm
Come learn how to make an herbal salve from flowers and herbs you can grow in your home garden or collect from your yard. Local herbalist Amanda David of Rootwork Herbals will guide you through this hands-on class making a soothing salve for gardener's hands. Participants will learn the uses and lore of the plants you will work with and then make a salve to take home. Pre-registration is required for this class so we can prepare adequate materials. $8 for materials, plus $5.00-$10.00 self-determined sliding scale fee.

Looking ahead

Master Composter Volunteer 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 Deadline: Monday January. $60 training deposit, returned in full when volunteer hours completed.

Ithaca Children's Garden

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

Veteran's Day School's Out Camp, For ages 5-10
Friday November 10, 9:00-4:00pm (free wrap around care 8:30-4:30)
Forts, Dens, & Hideouts
Spend the day off outside at Ithaca Children's Garden. Once the campfire is going it's on to construction as we turn the Hands-On-Nature Anarchy Zone into a village for forts, dens, and hideouts.
Registration Required: $60 per child/space is limited. or 607-319-4203

Scarecrow Jubilee
Saturday October 14, 1:00-4:00pm
Free! Suggested donation, $10 per family
at Ithaca Children's Garden
Celebrate scarecrows and everything autumn and the 16th annual Scarecrow Jubilee. Great for all ages! Build scarecrows to take home, lots of hands-on activities and harvest fun. Pumpkins for sale and carving tools available to create jack-o-lanterns. Music, stories and snacks as well.

Save the Date: Sunday December 3rd
Nature's Gifts for the Winter Solstice
Pre-registration required. More details to come! check for more information this fall.
Our office is located at: 1001 W. Seneca St, Suite 101
Contact us at: (607) 319-4203.

Horticulture Happenings

Fall Creek Plant Exchange
Sun. Sept. 17, 12 - 3 pm
Thompson Park on N. Cayuga St at Cascadilla Creek
Free plants! Share your extra plants with other gardeners and take some new ones home. Bring any garden plants: annuals, perennials, woodies, bulbs, seeds or house plants and leave with something new. You may come empty-handed, we always have lots of plants.
Sponsored by the Fall Creek Garden Club. For more info, contact or 256 7955.

Adirondack Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society
Sept. 16:
Ken Hull, Native Orchids
Oct.21 Yasemin Kon, author of Wildflowers of Turkey
Nov.11: Mary & Steve Squyres: "Following the Secret Lives of Plants: snooping on your

garden [with help from technology]"

Meetings are normally held the third Saturday of the month (none in Dec. and Jan.) Meetings are free and open to the public and are usually held in the Whetzel Room, 404 Plant Science Building, Cornell U., Ithaca. For more information on the meetings, or to become a member, contact Carol Eichler at 269-7070, or go to the website

Finger Lakes Native Plant Society Meetings take place at the Unitarian Church annex (corner of Buffalo & Aurora, enter side door on Buffalo St. & up the stairs).
Monthly meetings from Sept. - May, 7-8:30 pm, free and open to the public. For information, or to become a member, contact Rosemarie Parker at 257-4853, or go to the website listed below.
Talks so far- very tentative titles:
Sept 20
- Aaron Iverson, Cornell : Nectar and pollen resources at landscape scales: Can they help us predict pollinator abundance?
Oct 18 - Allen Nichols – American Chestnut Foundation –chestnut recovery status
Nov 15 – Mark Witmer – shrubs for birds
FLNPS Walks meet at different times and locations. Topics vary from wildflowers to fall fungi. will be posted at the website:

Auraca Herbarists
Meetings are held the second Tues. of each month: lunch 12 noon, program 1 pm. For more information, e-mail: or call Pat Curran at 607-564-7927.

Cornell Plantations offer free Lectures and events. For information on lectures and classes, check their website at


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

Last updated August 28, 2017