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2015 Extension Gardener Course

Monarch butterfly

Monarch butterfly and caterpillar. Image by Rob Routledge, Sault College, Bugwood.org

Learn how to create and care for a beautiful, bountiful and life-sustaining landscape – take the Extension Gardener Course this spring!

The Extension Gardener Course is a series of nine gardening classes offered by the Chatham County Center of N.C. Cooperative Extension. Based on practical information you can trust, the course is designed for anyone wishing to learn more about environmentally sustainable, science based gardening. Topics that will be covered include building healthy soils, growing fruits and vegetables, sustainable pest management, native and ornamental plants for piedmont landscapes, and caring for your landscape.

Both beginning and experienced gardeners can benefit from the course by gaining the skills and knowledge needed to create and maintain a healthy, resilient yard and landscape that will:

  • Support a diverse range of plants and animals, including birds, pollinators, and people
  • Provide fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the year
  • Enhance the appearance of your home and property
  • Protect water quality by minimizing the need for pesticides and fertilizers
  • Make your yard a more enjoyable and sustainable place to live

All classes will be taught by Charlotte Glen, Chatham Extension horticulture agent, and will be held in the Chatham Extension Auditorium, located in the lower level of the Agriculture Building, 65 East Chatham St., Pittsboro.

Classes will meet weekly from mid-March, beginning March 17, through May. Download the class schedule or scroll down to the course description for the complete schedule.

Each class is offered twice, once in the morning and once in the evening. Participants can choose to register for the morning or evening series of classes. Morning sessions are taught from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.; Evening sessions are taught from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

COST

The cost of the course is $50 per participant and includes class resources and refreshments. Couples who wish to share a set of resources can register for $75. We are not able to accept payment by credit card. Please pay by cash, check or money order. Payment is due with registration on or before Monday, March 9, 2015.

REGISTRATION

Download Registration Form
Payment is due with registration on or before March 9, 2015.

Please make checks/money orders payable to Chatham County Cooperative Extension. Registration forms and payment can be dropped off at the Chatham Extension Center located in the Agriculture Building, 65 East Chatham Street, Pittsboro, between 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, Monday – Friday, or mailed to:

Extension Gardener
Chatham County Cooperative Extension
PO Box 279
Pittsboro, NC 27312

Persons with disabilities and persons with limited English proficiency may request accommodations to participate by contacting Sam Groce, County Extension Director, at 919-542-8202 or email sam_groce@ncsu.edu, or in person at the Chatham County Extension Center at least 14 days prior to the event.

Questions? Contact Chatham County Extension by calling 919-542-8202 or email: extension.programs@chathamnc.org

COURSE DESCRIPTION

Download Course Syllabus

Class 1: Think Before You Plant

  • Evening session: Tuesday, March 17
  • Morning session: Wednesday, March 18

Too often gardens and beds are created where planting is easiest or most convenient, but this does not always result in a healthy, sustainable or attractive landscape. This class will help you make the most of your yard by looking at the big picture to determine what you want and need from your landscape, the best location for different types of plantings, and increase your understanding of how your yard can contribute to the health of our local ecosystems.

Class 2: Growing Healthy Soil

  • Evening session: Tuesday, March 24
  • Morning session: Wednesday, March 25

Soil is the foundation from which all plants grow. If your soil cannot provide plant roots the nutrients, air, water, beneficial microbes, and physical support they need to grow, your plants will never thrive. This class will focus on common soil problems, how to diagnose them, and how to improve your soil with compost, cover crops, and other soil amendments.

Class 3: Lawn Selection, Lawn Care and Lawn Alternatives

  • Evening session: Tuesday, March 31
  • Morning session: Thursday, April 2

Turf is the most common groundcover in American yards but it is not always the best choice. In this class we will discuss conditions where turf is the right option, best turf varieties for our area, how to care for turf without harming water quality, and alternatives to turf grasses for the NC piedmont.

Class 4: Growing Vegetables and Culinary Herbs

  • Evening session: Wednesday, April 15
  • Morning session: Thursday, April 16

Your garden can be a source of fresh, nutritious vegetables and herbs throughout the year if you plan it right and know how to care for it. During this class you will learn the basics of year round vegetable gardening in beds and containers, including planting times and care for a range of crops, season extension practices, and integrated pest management practices to minimize pest issues.

Class 5: Growing Fruits and Berries

  • Evening session: Tuesday, April 21
  • Morning session: Wednesday, April 22

Harvesting home-grown fruits and berries is one of the greatest rewards your garden can offer, but also one of the most challenging. This class will explore which fruits and berries can realistically be grown in our climate, recommended varieties and their pollination needs, care and pruning, and integrated pest management practices that will maximize your chance of success.

Class 6: Selecting Ornamental Plants for Your Landscape

  • Evening session: Tuesday, April 28
  • Morning session: Wednesday, April 29

There are thousands of varieties of trees, shrubs, and flowers you could plant in your yard, but which are most likely to thrive and enhance your landscape’s habitat value for pollinators, beneficial insects, birds, and wildlife? This depends on what conditions exist in your yard. During this class we will explore what you need to know to select the right plants for your landscape as well as learn about some of the best trees, shrubs and flowers for Chatham County landscapes with a focus on native species.

Class 7: Caring for Your Landscape

  • Evening session: Wednesday, May 6
  • Morning session: Tuesday, May 5

Even when planted in the right place most landscape plants will need care from time to time, including those promoted as tough or low maintenance. During this class you will learn how to care for your landscape without harming the environment. Practices covered will include pruning, weed management, watering, and mulching.

Class 8: Diagnosing Plant Problems

  • Evening session: Thursday, May 14
  • Morning session: Wednesday, May 13

Not everything you plant will thrive, but you can’t know what to do to help your plants if you don’t know what’s wrong. During this class we will learn how to diagnose plant problems by studying the symptoms caused by common pest insects, plant diseases, man-made problems and abiotic disorders.

Class 9: Sustainable Pest Management

  • Evening session: Tuesday, May 19
  • Morning session: Wednesday, May 20

Pests happen. Sometimes you can overlook them but other times you need to control them to keep your plants healthy. This class will explore sustainable, integrated methods to reduce pest pressure in your yard as well as how to control insect pest and plant disease outbreaks when necessary. Methods covered include creating habitat for beneficial insects, maximizing your plants’ ability to resist pests, and use of natural and synthetic pest control products.

Make Up Date: Thursday, May 28

This date will only be used if a regularly scheduled class has to be canceled. Both the morning (9:30-Noon) and evening session (6:00-8:30) will be taught on this day if necessary.

Subscribe to the Chatham Gardener email list to receive timely updates on sustainable lawn, garden, and landscape care for the central N.C. Piedmont. To subscribe:

Written By

Photo of Charlotte GlenCharlotte GlenState Coordinator, NC Extension Master Gardener Program (919) 515-1226 charlotte_glen@ncsu.eduHorticultural Science - NC State University
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