Monday, March 24, 2014

Spring Into Gardening, 3/29 at CCE Tompkins


Spring Into Gardening
Saturday March 29, 9 am - 5 pm
Cornell Cooperative Extension-Tompkins County
615 Willow Avenue, Ithaca NY

Had enough of winter yet? Start spring off on the right foot by learning skills to grow, cook and preserve your own fresh organic fruits and veggies!

This year's Spring Into Gardening theme is Gardening and Climate Change - learn how sound gardening practices can reduce greenhouse gas emissions while reducing your 'food miles'. There will also be classes on preserving the harvest and cooking with renewable energy sources.

Cost: $8.00 per workshop, or register for four different workshops for just $25!

Workshop descriptions and a downloadable brochure are available at

Spaces are limited! Call CCE's reception desk at 607-272-2292 to register or download a brochure and send it in with your workshop choices. For more information contact Chrys Gardener at

Spring Into Gardening 2014 – Workshop Descriptions
9:00 am – 10:30 am
Gardening in a Warmer Climate: Gardeners and farmers know that our climate is changing and we have to adapt our growing methods. Climate change means increased opportunities, such as a longer frost-free season and warmer temperatures for heat-loving crops, but it also can bring challenges such as droughts and new insect pests and diseases. The Master Gardeners will share some tips for taking advantage of the longer growing season and new plants to try out in your garden, as well as information on preparing your garden for longer dry spells and dealing with new insect pests and diseases.

Water-Wise Gardening: Climate change is altering the rainfall patterns – our region is predicted to receive fewer rain events of increased intensity. Gardeners need to be prepared to harvest and store rainwater to use during dry spells, and also to design gardens that can absorb run-off during heavy storms. Sharon Anderson, CCE Environmental Program Leader, will present information on using rainwater harvesting systems and planting 'rain gardens'.

10:45 am – 12:15 pm
Composting Strategies to Reduce Greenhouse Gases: We all know how composting can reduce our trash disposal costs, but did you know that, when done properly, composting can also help reduce greenhouse gases? Composting helps sequester carbon in soils, improves the water-holding capacity of soils, and reduces or eliminates the need for fertilizers and pesticides. The Master Composters will share information on the best composting methods and techniques.

Extending the Growing Season: Learn about different strategies to extend the growing season into the fall and winter. Margo Hittleman and Richard Lansdowne will present information on constructing high tunnels and low tunnels to grow greens all winter, and Chrys Gardener will talk about solar greenhouses, which require no additional heat and can be used to grow salad greens in winter. There will also be a hands-on demonstration on constructing an inexpensive light stand from PVC to grow plants under fluorescent lights.

Canning Garden Fruits and Vegetables: Canning is a great way to preserve some of the garden harvest for winter. This class covers the science of food preservation and how to safely can high-acid foods,, such as tomatoes, fruits or pickles. Participants will receive up-to-date information and see a demonstration of canning by CCE Consumer Educator Carole Fisher.

12:15 pm – 1:14 pm: Lunch Bring a brown bag lunch to eat at CCE or go out to a restaurant or cafĂ© downtown

1:15 pm - 2:45 pm
Unusual Fruits and Perennial Vegetables for the Ithaca Area: Sean Dembrosky, owner of Edible Acres in Trumansburg, will talk about less-common fruits such as paw-paw, persimmon, hardy kiwi , currant and jostaberry, and perennial vegetables such as cardoon, sea kale, skirret and air potato. Sean will also lead a hands-on demonstration on taking cuttings from jostaberry and hardy kiwi. Participants will take home cuttings from these plants for their own gardens.

Using Biochar as a Soil Amendment: There's a lot of buzz lately about biochar and its role in boosting soil fertility and sequestering carbon in soils. Created through a process called pyrolysis, biochar locks in and stabilizes carbon that decomposing green waste would otherwise release back into the atmosphere as CO2. In the form of biochar, that carbon can be returned to the soil where it will continue to store carbon while increasing water retention and air capacity as well as providing habitat for soil microbiology, which helps cycle nutrients. John Gaunt from GreenTree Garden Supplies will talk about what biochar is and how to use it, and he'll have biochar samples to show.

3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Worm Composting: No space for an outdoor compost pile? The Master Composters will teach you all you 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. There is an additional materials fee of $15 per household (payable directly to the instructor on the day of the class).

Cooking with Renewable Energy : You have grown and harvested your garden vegetables in the most sustainable way possible, now learn to cook those vegetables using sustainable and renewable energy sources. Joey Gates, proprietor of Sol Kitchen, will show different types of solar cookers and talk about solar cooking techniques as well as cooking on a woodstove.

Freezing and Dehydrating Garden Fruits and Vegetables: Learn how to preserve your garden harvest to feed your family throughout the winter. Carole Fisher, CCE Consumer Educator, will demonstrate techniques on freezing fruits and vegetables to get the best results. You'll learn tips on blanching, packaging, and how to avoid freezing errors, as well as methods for dehydrating fruits and vegetables.

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