Home > 40th Annual Home Gardeners School: March 2016


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40th Annual Home Gardeners School

Course Code: AH0201CA16

Rutgers Home Gardeners School

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Date & Time

(SAVE THE DATE!) March 19, 2016
9:00am - 4:00pm (Check-in time: 8:00am)

Please check back in the Fall for workshop and registration information for the 2016 offering of Home Gardeners School.

2015 Home Gardeners School Workshop Materials Available for Download!

As an added benefit for our valued attendees, we have made handouts and materials from many of our 2015 workshops available for download in PDF format. Scroll down to the workshops section of this webpage and click on the workshop titles to see the related resources we have made available. Happy gardening and see you next March!


Our 40th Annual Home Gardeners School will be held on March 19, 2016!

You will not find more information on more subjects anywhere else in the state.

The Home Gardeners School offers you expert instruction in the most innovative gardening and landscaping subjects available.

Speakers from our commercial horticulture and landscape design programs will be participating, along with Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) and School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS) faculty and staff, to provide you with the opportunity to learn from the best in the business.

These experts will teach you about topics such as landscape design, common problems and solutions, annuals, perennials, vegetables, bees, pruning, best management practices, and a whole host of other practical topics designed to prepare you and your garden for the spring and beyond. Participate in hands-on activities and spend the morning learning how to make a "pondless" water garden, or participate in our fresh flower-arranging workshop in the afternoon.

Watch this video overview to see what you'll learn at Rutgers Home Gardeners School!

Accommodations for Individuals with Disabilities: If you require special assistance, please notify our office when you register or no less than one week before the course starts. Every effort will be made to accommodate reasonable requests.

Luncheon Keynote Presentation:

Information about our 2016 keynote presentation will be posted in the Fall.

Click to View:


Registration Information

Location & Parking Information

Workshop Descriptions

Print Friendly Workshop Grid (PDF)

HGS Brochure (PDF)

Photos from Past Offerings of HGS

Early Registration Fee TBD  
Registration Fee TBD  
Master Gardeners Discount Fee TBD  
Box Lunch (Optional - see details below) TBD

Some workshops may have an extra fee. See workshop descriptions for details.

Substitutions are permitted. View cancellation policy.


Breakfast is not provided; however, there will be coffee/tea available.

An optional box lunch will be available. To order, include payment with your registration and mark the appropriate space on the registration form. Please indicate your sandwich preference: Tuna, Turkey, Ham, Roast Beef, or Vegetarian.

Lunch will be served in the courtyard of Hickman Hall. There are no local food courts at this facility, but you are also welcome to bring your own bag lunch.

NOTE: If you have any dietary restrictions or food allergies, please alert us at least one (1) week in advance of the course start date so that we can make reasonable accommodations. We cannot guarantee accommodations for special requests made after that time.

Location & Parking

GPS systems may not recognize campus addresses. Even if they take you to the correct building, they will not take you to the assigned parking lot. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you use the directions we provide.

Hickman Hall
89 George Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Directions and Parking Information

All check-in activities will take place in Hickman Hall between 8am - 9am. You will receive room assignments for your selected workshops when you arrive.

Please park your car in the Douglass Parking Deck. If you require handicapped parking, please call 848-932-9271 (Press 2 for Registration) to reserve a handicapped parking space at Hickman Hall.

Registration Information

Admission will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Register early to ensure your preferred workshop selection. Please list your top three choices for each of the four listed time periods in case your first selection is full.

Workshop sessions are held in two buildings, requiring a short walk across a foot bridge. If you prefer to remain in one building for all workshops, please contact a member of our Registration Unit at 848-932-9271 (Press 2 for Registration) to discuss.

Confirmation and directions will be sent VIA E-MAIL only.

Sorry. Registration is not currently available for this course.

Would you like to be notified of upcoming Home Gardeners School offerings?
Here are 3 convenient ways to be added to our mailing list:
1. Click here to join our mailing list (please reference "Home Gardeners School" or Course Code AH0201)
2. Call us at 848-932-9271, select option 3
3. E-mail us at ocpe@njaes.rutgers.edu

2015 Workshop Descriptions (2016 Workshop details coming soon!)

The Home Gardeners School is divided into four (4) time slots with multiple workshops available during each session.

Descriptions for each workshop can be viewed by clicking on the workshop titles. Please make your workshop selections when you register.

2015 Home Gardeners School Workshop Materials Available for Download!

As an added benefit for our valued attendees, we have made handouts and materials from many of our 2015 workshops available for download in PDF format. Click on the workshop titles below to see the related resources we have made available. Happy gardening and see you next March!

View All Workshop Descriptions | Hide All Workshop Descriptions | View Print Friendly Workshop Grid (PDF)

AM Workshops

Session 1: 9:00am - 10:30am

1. REVISED! Pondless Water Features - Demonstration Workshop (Double Session - Runs until 11:45am)

Robert Belleck, Owner, Lily Pad Ponds, LLC
This class will cover pondless water features and water accents for your landscape. Installation do's and don'ts will also be covered, along with some of the basics of pond construction and maintenance.

NOTE: This workshop is a double session that runs until 11:45am. If you register for this workshop, please do not enroll in a workshop for Session #2.

Download Presentation (PDF)

2. NEW! The World of Annuals: Life Beyond Petunias

Ira Grasgreen, Eason Horticultural Resources
Petunias are a huge class of annuals, however, there are many others that also shine in the garden. We will explore billions of them (ok, maybe not billions) for you to use in both shade as well as sun conditions to brighten our World. Photos will include annuals in containers as well as landscape settings.

Download Handout (PDF)

3. Easy Drip Irrigation for Your Garden

*This workshop is sold out! Please select another workshop choice when registering.

Bob Dobson, Middletown Sprinkler Company
Drip irrigation is the most efficient way to water a garden and easy to install. Learn the basics to grow a bumper crop and conserve water at the same time.

Download Presentation (PDF)

4. NEW! Beyond Organics: Healthy Lawns and Landscapes without Pesticides

*This workshop is sold out! Please select another workshop choice when registering.

Bill Hlubik, Agricultural and Resource Management Agent, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Middlesex County
This course will provide an overview of valuable techniques to maintain a healthy lawn and landscape without using traditional pesticides. Emphasis will be on using resistant varieties, excellent cultural techniques and keeping soils and plant roots teeming with beneficial microbes to keep plants healthy.

Download Handout (PDF)

5. "What Plant, Where?" Planning Your Home Landscape

*This workshop is sold out! Please select another workshop choice when registering.

Peter Mahony, Landscape Architect
Avoid costly mistakes! This workshop will help you develop a game plan for arranging plants to create an attractive, functional landscape.

Download Design Handout (PDF)

Download Drawing Plants Handout (PDF)

Download Sun Orientation Handout (PDF)

6. NEW! Exotic Plants for NJ Gardens

Bruce Crawford, Director, The Rutgers Gardens
NJ's climate allows gardeners to grow a number of plants that simply look so bizarre, no one would possibly believe that they could live, no less thrive, in this state! Whether it be bulbs, hardy plants, woody and perennial plants, or tropicals and succulents, this program will feature plants that provide exciting additions for this summer's garden.

Download Handout (PDF)

7. Canning Fruits and Vegetables

Daryl Minch, Family & Community Health Sciences (FCHS), Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Somerset County
This workshop will introduce the best practices for successful canning of fruits and vegetables. Various techniques and common mistakes will be demonstrated and discussed.

Download Canning Fruit Handout (PDF)

Download Canning Vegetables Handout (PDF)

Download Canning Tomatoes Handout (PDF)

Download Family & Community Health Science Brochure (PDF)

8. Composting: As the Worm Turns

Virginia Lamb-Falcone, Environmental Educator
Learn how to create and produce the soil amendments your garden craves - right out of your own kitchen! Take your love for gardening a step beyond and turn waste into your garden's best friend. Learn which kitchen scraps are acceptable and what waste additions would be beneficial for great compost.

Download Handout (PDF)

9. Proper Pruning Techniques

Ted Szczawinski, Certified Tree Expert; Adjunct Instructor, Rutgers - Newark
Believe it or not, proper pruning techniques will keep your plants healthier and happier as well as extend their life cycle. A healthy plant is better equipped to resist diseases and stress damage. This is one workshop you will not want to 'cut!'

Download Handout (PDF)

Session 2: 10:45am-11:45am

10. NEW! Creative Containers for All Seasons

Kirsten Soriano, Landscape Designer, Barlow's Flower Farm
Learn how to create containers that can have interest every season of the year, providing large amounts of garden design and color in the smallest of spaces. What is the Best Soil to Use? What Plant Combinations Work Well Together? How Do I Get Color All Season Long? Answer these questions and more!

Download Handout (PDF)

11. NEW! Observations from a Life Spent with Plants

Steve Kristoph, Owner, Steven Kristoph Nurseries
As a horticulturist, Steve has made it a point to study plants throughout his career. Not just ornamental features and culture, but also landscape plant trends. Discover why some plants continue as standards in the green industry while others languish in obscurity. Learn what new plants have taken center stage and who are some of the people behind their success.

12. The Plant and Soil Relationship

Ted Szczawinski, Certified Tree Expert; Adjunct Instructor, Rutgers - Newark
Soil is the medium that supports plant life. It acts as a reservoir for the water, oxygen and minerals that are essential to sustainability. In association with the five factors of climate, soil provides the roots with a conductive environment to grow and anchor the plant for its productive lifetime. Unearth what makes up a good soil, analyze the truth about compost, dig into the delicate balance of water, minerals and oxygen, and dispel the dirty myths about how these two (plants and soil) seem sometimes to be at odds with each other!

Download Handout (PDF)

13. Plant Propagation: Cool Plants in Small Batches

*This workshop is sold out! Please select another workshop choice when registering.

Derron Dover, Horticulturist/Lecturer
Learn about plant propagation of cuttings, seeds, grafting and division in small batches for the small craft nursery, hobby grower or homeowner. See photos of plant propagation and learn how it's done.

Download Handout (PDF)

14. NEW! Color and Combination in the Herbaceous Garden

*This workshop is sold out! Please select another workshop choice when registering.

Bruce Neary, Owner, BCN Horticultural Services; Lecturer, Rutgers Office of Continuing Professional Education
Everyone wants a garden with that WOW! effect. Choose plants for seasonal effects using flowers, foliage, fruiting effect, balancing shapes and textures while selecting the best plants for sun and shade. With some simple knowledge of color theory, effective plant combinations, and herbaceous border design, you can create flower gardens that reflect your personal taste.

Download Handout (PDF)

15. Early Spring Vegetable Gardening

Virginia Lamb-Falcone, Environmental Educator
Does the long winter find you craving fresh vegetables? Now is the perfect time to start your spring garden. It's easy and it can be done in a variety of ways, and spaces, from beds to containers. You can start right away and will be eating homegrown peas, kale, lettuces and mesclun in May!

Download Handout (PDF)

16. NEW! Planting for Pollinators

William Hlubik, County Agricultural Agent, RCE of Middlesex County
Pollinating insects are critical to our environment, but many species are in steep decline. Learn what pollinating insects you can attract to your landscape and how to support them with the native plants they have evolved with.

Download Beneficials Handout (PDF)

Download Native Plants Handout (PDF)

17. Freezing Techniques for Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs

Daryl Minch, Family & Community Health Sciences (FCHS), Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Somerset County
Do you want to freeze produce to enjoy all year? This workshop will cover equipment, techniques and good safety measures to ensure high quality frozen produce. You'll also learn about making freezer jam!

Download Freezing Fruit Handout (PDF)

Download Freezing Vegetables Handout (PDF)

Download Food Preservation Resources Handout (PDF)

Download Food Safety After Power Failure Handout (PDF)

Lunch Break & Keynote Presentation: 12:00pm-1:00pm

Cooking with Jersey Fresh Produce: A Live Demonstration
Executive Chef Peter Pascale CCC, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset

Chef Pascale will present a live demonstration showcasing different uses of local produce. Healthy recipes featuring Jersey Fresh will also be provided. Develop new ideas on what to do with all the fresh fruits and vegetables that you will be harvesting in the upcoming season!

Download Blueberry Salsa Recipe (PDF)

Download Collard Greens with Smoked Turkey Recipe (PDF)

Download Massaged Kale Salad with Apples Lemon and Honey Recipe (PDF)

Download Roasted Asparagus and Kohlrabi Slaw with Herb Feta Crumbles Recipe (PDF)

Download Tomato Basil Ratatouille with Roasted Corn and Shaved Asiago Recipe (PDF)

Download Watermelon Cucumber Salad with Cilantro Jalapeno Syrup (PDF)

PM Workshops

Session 3: 1:15pm-2:15pm

18. Tempting Terrariums - Hands-On Workshop

*This workshop is sold out! Please select another workshop choice when registering.

Monica McLaughlin, Horticulturist, The Rutgers Gardens
Put together a garden under glass! This Victorian past time mixes science experimentation with crafting and an artistic eye. It was once considered "the possibility of land ownership for apartment dwellers!" ... so, come buy some property. Good for all ages! (Additional fee of $10 per person - 25 person limit)

Download Handout (PDF)

19. NEW! Color Theory for the Gardener

Bruce Crawford, Director, The Rutgers Gardens
Many times we ponder why a garden does not have the desired impact that we had initially hoped. After carefully selecting the colors that we thought were appropriate for the design, the end result was as not as strong or as harmonious in the end. This one-hour presentation looks at numerous approaches to using color more effectively in a garden, regardless of whether the garden is designed to calm and pacify or excite and entice!

Download Handout (PDF)

20. Garden Photography Meets Your Smart Phone

Ken Karamichael, Associate Director, RCE - The Office of Continuing Professional Education
As cell phone cameras get more sophisticated, they are quickly overtaking point-and-shoot cameras as the most popular tool for taking pictures. Learn interactive tips, apps & strategies to strengthen your garden photography skills.

Download Presentation (PDF)

Download Handout #1 (PDF)

Download Handout #2 (PDF)

21. NEW! Meadowscaping at Home: How to Make a Native Meadow

Richard Weidman, Program Associate, RCE of Middlesex County
Tired of that lifeless, boring lawn? Want to plant something that is beautiful, low maintenance, and ecologically beneficial? Learn how to create a native meadow, pocket meadow or meadow-like garden in your own landscape, using the best native plants.

Download References Sheet (PDF)

Download Nurseries List (PDF)

Download Native Plants Handout (PDF)

22. A Study in Plant Reproduction

Clare Liptak, County Agricultural Agent (Retired), Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Somerset County
Plant reproduction is more interesting than you might think! Clematis, poppies and roses are "cheaters" because they don’t reward the pollinator with nectar. Bumblebees can be "robbers," getting nectar without pollinating the flower. Begonia female flowers with no pollen look similar to male flowers that do, so pollinators are "deceived" and visit both. Come and learn about plant sex!

Download Handout (PDF)

23. REVISED! What's Wrong with My Plant?

Steve Kristoph, Owner, Steven Kristoph Nurseries, Englishtown, NJ
In this workshop, learn how to identify symptoms of plant problems such as: diseases, insects and environmental conditions. Learn various ways to treat common plant problems and steps that you can take to promote healthy growth.

Download Handout #1 (PDF)

Download Handout #2 (PDF)

24. NEW! My Top Flowering Garden Plants

*This workshop is sold out! Please select another workshop choice when registering.

Peter Mahony, Landscape Architect
Joe will discuss bright, vibrant, blooming, fragrant plants to dazzle people and pollinators and create beautiful four-season ornamental appeal!

Download Handout (PDF)

25. House Plants: Outdoors in the Summer, Indoors in the Winter

*This workshop is sold out! Please select another workshop choice when registering.

Damien Ball, Landscape Designer, Barlow's Flower Farm
Learn techniques to keep your plants their heartiest and happiest by experiencing the world when the weather permits, then let them fully enjoy the warmth and protection of your home when it is cold. Turn your green thumb greener by engaging in conversation about optimum health both inside and outside.

Download Presentation (PDF)

Download Handout (PDF)

26. Backyard Chickens and Their Care

*This workshop is sold out! Please select another workshop choice when registering.

Maria Brimat, Environmental Specialist, NJDEP
Chickens are easy to raise, endlessly entertaining, and reward their owners with freshly laid eggs. Learn the day-to-day practicalities of keeping a small backyard flock (even 3 hens are worthwhile), including the best ways to select among the different breeds of chickens, housing options, and what and how to feed your birds whether they are day-old chicks or mature layers.

Download Handout (PDF)

Session 4: 2:30pm-4:00pm

27. Fresh Flower Arranging - Hands-On Workshop

*This workshop is sold out! Please select another workshop choice when registering.

Anthony Baradhi, Floral Designer, Flower Station - Somerset/Princeton, NJ
Learn how to decorate your home with fresh flowers. Basic techniques for flower arranging will be demonstrated. You will take home the beautiful arrangement that you make in class. Please bring floral clippers (and gloves if you prefer) to class with you. (Additional fee of $35 per person - 25 person limit)

Download Presentation (PDF)

28. NEW! Bringing Back the Monarchs

Rick Mikula, Author; Environmental Educator; International Butterfly Consultant
Monarch butterflies are now facing challenges that threaten their populations. Creating the proper habitat will not only attract Monarchs, but help them, and other local species to flourish as well.

Download Handout #1 (PDF)

Download Handout #2 (PDF)

Download Handout #3 (PDF)

Download Handout #4 (PDF)

29. NEW! The Lost Season – Winter in the Garden

Walter Cullerton, Penn State Master Gardener
Though it may be cold outside, we will visit some wonderful gardens in winter. This is all about the sense of sight and getting rid of the winter blues and perhaps even motivating one to take that winter garden tour. Let's take a stroll through various gardens, nurseries and arboreta. Come, journey with us through THE LOST SEASON.

30. NEW! An Overview of Hydroponic Basics for the Homeowner

*This workshop is sold out! Please select another workshop choice when registering.

Dr. David Specca, Assistant Director for Controlled Environment Agriculture and Bioenergy, Rutgers EcoComplex, Alternative Energy Innovation Center
The basics of hydroponic plant growth will be covered at a beginner level. Topics including types of hydroponics, common crops, and basic fertilizer requirements will be covered. We will also have a discussion about homemade hydroponic systems and kits that are commercially available for the home gardener.

31. Beekeeping: 101

*This workshop is sold out! Please select another workshop choice when registering.

Robert Hughes, Beekeeping Specialist, Past President NJ Beekeepers Association
Welcome to the interesting world of bees and their benefits. Discussions will include life inside a colony, products that can be derived from an active hive, benefits to your garden, and plants that will attract them.

Download Handout (PDF)

32. NEW! 400 Million Years – The Story of Plants on Earth!

Bruce Crawford, Director, The Rutgers Gardens
So very often, we look at plants but fail to understand what the Earth's geography, geology and climate was like at the time, no less what strategies the plants used to reproduce! This program is a fun look at plant development over time, how the process of reproduction changed over time, with the vectors or 'bars' for reproduction changing from water, to wind to pollinator (hence the program title!). It will provide the gardener with a better understanding and appreciation of the plants in our gardens and the pressures that gave them their current physical appearance!

Download Handout (PDF)

33. #gardening Using Social Media

Ken Karamichael, Associate Director, RCE-Office of Continuing Professional Education
Facebook, YouTube and Twitter - oh my!! Learn creative ways to explore online resources to enhance your garden design. Expand your plant knowledge and acquire 'lightening fast' search skills during this interactive "#" session.

Download Handout (PDF)

34. NEW! The Gardener's World of Bulbs

*This workshop is sold out! Please select another workshop choice when registering.

Bruce Neary, Owner, BCN Horticultural Services; Lecturer, Rutgers Office of Continuing Professional Education
Bulbs, those fantastic buried treasures with plain brown wrappers that conceal a rainbow of beautiful flowers. Everyone knows tulips and daffodils of Spring but there are less familiar bulbs and imaginative ways to combine them with perennials and shrubs. Discover which bulbs thrive in what situation – from sun to shade, spring through summer and even fall, and how to buy and plant them. Aftercare is also part of this in-depth look at the gardener's world of bulbs.

Download Handout (PDF)

35. NEW! Growing, Harvesting and Preserving Your Herbs

*This workshop is sold out! Please select another workshop choice when registering.

Caren White, Master Gardener of Middlesex County, Herb Consultant – The Rutgers Gardens
Learn how to plant and care for herbs in your garden or in containers. Discover when and how to harvest your herbs as well as how to preserve and store your harvest.

Download Handout (PDF)

Program Questions? Contact Us!

Senior Program Coordinator: Dalynn Knigge, 848-932-7315
Administrative Assistant: Karen Tizzano, 848-932-7483

Photos from Past Offerings of Home Gardeners School
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