Home > Special Conferences & Programs > 41st Annual Home Gardeners School: March 2017

Home Gardeners School

41st Annual Rutgers Home Gardeners School

Saturday, March 18, 2017   |    9:00am - 4:00pm   |   New Brunswick, NJ

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Plan Out Your Day of Learning at Home Gardeners School!

New for 2017 - Plant Jeopardy Games & Rutgers Against Hunger Food Drive

We're excited to announce a new addition to our schedule this year: attendees can participate in plant Jeopardy games hosted by Steve Kristoph of Steven Kristoph Nurseries and win plant prizes! There will be two games - one just before lunch and one immediately after lunch. Educational and fun, these games will provide a new, interactive alternative for those who want to test their gardening knowledge against other plant lovers! Space is limited.

We're also asking Home Gardeners School attendees to help us feed New Jersey families! By donating non-perishable food through Rutgers Against Hunger (a university-wide initiative working to address the issues of hunger across the state), you can help us make a world of difference to those in need! Bring your donation of canned or boxed food items to the RAH table (look for the green collection bins) at Home Gardeners School, and we'll get your food to New Brunswick families in need. Thank you in advance for your generosity!

The Home Gardeners School provides expert instruction in the most innovative gardening and landscaping subjects available!

Designed to provide "something for everyone," the Home Gardeners School offers 37 individual workshop sessions covering a wide array of horticulture topics. This format allows you to select the workshops that are most relevant to your gardening interests in order to create your own unique, customized schedule for this fun day of learning.

There are two morning workshop sessions (running 9:00am-10:30am and 10:45am-11:45am). Next there is a one hour lunch break and keynote presentation. Two afternoon workshop sessions (running from 1:15pm-2:15pm and 2:30pm-4:00pm) conclude the day.

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, providing you with the opportunity to learn from the best in the business.

These experts will teach you about 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 build a fire pit, or participate in our fresh flower-arranging workshop in the afternoon.

And don't forget to visit our book and plant sale for great take-aways!

Before registering, please review the workshop options below to determine which sessions you want to particpate in! You can also download a print-friendly workshop grid (PDF format).

Rutgers Home Gardeners School: 2-Minute Video Overview

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Admission will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Register early to ensure your preferred workshop selection. If registering by mail or fax, 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, option 2 to discuss.

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

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.

Home Gardeners School Registration Fees
Early Registration Fee $60.00 Register on or before March 10, 2017 and save!
Registration Fee $75.00 After March 10, 2017
Master Gardeners Discount Fee $55.00 Register on or before March 10, 2017 and provide copy of certificate.
Box Lunch (Optional) $10.00 Please indicate your sandwich preference when registering.
Additional Fee for Workshop #18 $10.00 Required for Workshop #18 (Repotting and Maintaining Orchids) only
Additional Fee for Workshop #27 $35.00 Required for Workshop #35 (Fresh Flower Arranging) only

Substitutions are permitted. View cancellation policy.

Home Gardeners School Location and 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

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

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

Home Gardeners School Meal Information

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

An optional box lunch will be available for $10.00. To order, include payment with your registration and mark the appropriate space on the registration form. Please indicate your sandwich preference: Tuna, Turkey, Ham & Cheese, 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.

View Photos from Past Offerings of Home Gardeners School!

2017 Home Gardeners School Workshops

The Home Gardeners School is divided into four (4) time slots with multiple workshops available during each session. Descriptions for last year's workshops can be viewed by clicking on the titles below.

There are 19 brand new workshops (including Jeopardy games!) and 2 revised workshops on this year's schedule!

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

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

1. NEW! How to Build a Fire Pit Demonstration Workshop (Double Session, Runs until 11:45am)

Robert Belleck, Owner, Lily Pad Ponds, LLC

This workshop will show you different types of fire pits, from pre-form to natural stone to "masoned" brick, and everything you will need to build them. We will also talk about solutions for ash buildup as well as safety and choosing the best location. (25 person limit)

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.

2. NEW! Annuals for All Locations

Ira Grasgreen, Eason Horticultural Resources

Sun, shade, hot, cool, wet, or dry … annuals are the workhorse in the garden. We will highlight new varieties, and feature those that shine in both your landscape and containers.

3. Easy Drip Irrigation for Your Garden

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.

4. NEW! Growing Lean Mean Greens and Other Vegetables Naturally for a Healthy Diet

Bill Hlubik, Agricultural and Resource Management Agent, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Middlesex County

In this informative lecture, learn about some of the best vegetables to grow in your garden to improve your health, and how to grow them naturally with less input of pesticides or fertilizers when grown correctly.

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

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.

6. NEW! Design and Care Techniques for Perennials

Bruce Crawford, Director, Rutgers Gardens

To the unknowing, a perennial represents a care-free plant that once planted, will come back year after year and create an amazing garden. In reality, a perennial garden or mixed border requires thought in order to get the impact that you typically see in magazines. Come learn some of the simple tricks that you can employ to create a successful garden that changes gracefully from season to season.

7. Composting: As the Worm Turns

Virginia Lamb, 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 best friend. Learn which kitchen scraps are acceptable and what waste additions would be beneficial for great compost.

8. NEW! Introduction to Plant ID

Ted Szczawinski, Certified Tree Expert; Adjunct Instructor, Rutgers - Newark

This class will focus on the techniques used to identify plants, trees and shrubs. Learn how to unlock clues found in the bark, the fruit, the leaves, the flowers and more.

9. Canning Fruits and Vegetables

Daryl Minch and Sandra Grenci, Family & Community Health Sciences (FCHS), Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Somerset and Hunterdon Counties

This workshop will introduce the best practices for successful canning of fruits and vegetables. Various techniques and common mistakes will be demonstrated and discussed.

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

10. NEW! Think Outside the Window Box: Creative Container Ideas

Kirsten Soriano, Landscape Designer

Container gardening is an excellent way to add art and creativity to your home and garden, no matter what the size. This class will inspire you with creative design ideas as well as practical advice on soils, plants and maintenance throughout the garden.

11. NEW! A Japanese Touch for Your Garden

Judy Glattstein, Garden Consultant

More than just grouping a rock, a lantern, and a pine tree, Japanese garden style is refined and elegant. Explore the seasonal aspects of the Japanese garden, discuss how water and stone are employed to suggest the natural landscape, and investigate ideas for adapting these elements to our own landscape and garden objectives.

12. NEW! Going Organic in the Landscape without a Safety Net

Bill Hlubik, Agricultural and Resource Management Agent, Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE), Middlesex County

This class will review how to landscape organically based on RCE's successful Organic Landscaping Program. Bill will discuss best management practices and the latest disease resistant plants to keep pests under control naturally.

13. Great Soil, Great Gardens PART ONE: Basic Soil Science

Dr. Karen Plumley, Instructor, Lecturer

The 'foundation' of a great garden is the soil. While most people would never dream of building a house on a flimsy foundation, many people put in extraordinary effort to plant gardens on foundations that can't support them. Learn about soil basics and why soil 'ain't just dirt,' so you can begin building the garden of your dreams.

NOTE: Go beyond the basics with great soil tips in part two of the series - Great Soil, Great Gardens PART TWO (Workshop #23) - held in the afternoon during Session #3.

14. NEW! Backyard Beneficials: Designing Your Landscape to Attract the "Good Guys!"

Steve Rettke, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Program Associate, IPM Coordinator

Learn an alternative approach to controlling insects and pests in your garden by implementing the practice of Integrated Pest Management. We will discuss the philosophy behind IPM along with monitoring and strategy techniques. We will also touch upon degree day models, improving soil health, creative ways to remove unwanted pests, and more!

15. Early Spring Vegetable Gardening

Virginia Lamb, 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 can be done in a variety of ways, and in a variety of spaces, from beds to containers. You can start right away and will be eating homegrown peas, kale, lettuce and mesclun in May!

16. NEW! Native Trees for Small Spaces

Kim Eierman, Horticulture Consultant, Kim's Native Landscape Consulting

Even with limited space, you can still plant beautifully and ecologically with a wide array of small native trees. Learn which choices are most suitable for your region and that will also provide important ecological services including: nectar, pollen, fruit, seeds and nuts, and berries, cover and bird nesting sites.

17. Freezing Techniques for Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs

Daryl Minch and Alexandra Grenci, Family & Community Health Sciences (FCHS), Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Somerset and Hunterdon Counties

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!

18. NEW! Plant Jeopardy

Game Host: Steve Kristoph, Owner, Steven Kristoph Nurseries

Based on the hit TV game show, contestants working in small groups will compete for top plant prizes. The format is exactly the same as what you're familiar with; regular jeopardy, double jeopardy and final jeopardy…we even have the lock-out buzzer system allowing the group who knows the answer fastest to get first dibs on scoring. Sign up and have some fun! (16 person limit)

Lunch Break: 12:00pm-1:00pm

2017 KEYNOTE PRESENTATION: Exploring NJ Climate Variability and Change

Dr. David Robinson, Professor, Department of Geography, New Jersey State Climatologist, Rutgers University

New Jersey has recently experienced some of its wettest and warmest years in over 120 years of observations, along with a number of extreme weather events. This is similar to what is being seen globally, and can be attributed to significant human influences that are amplifying natural climate variations. This presentation will discuss this situation, including what may be ahead to challenge NJ gardeners in the years to come.

Read more about Dr. David Robinson and the Office of the New Jersey State Climatologist.

Dr. David Robinson, 2017 Keynote Speaker

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

19. Repotting and Maintaining Orchids - Hands-On Workshop SOLD OUT!

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

Nicki Graf, Research Farm Supervisor III, Rutgers University, Floriculture Greenhouse

Learn the DO's and DON'Ts of potting and repotting orchids, and take home a beautiful orchid. This hands-on demonstration will also highlight how to mount on bark and wood mediums. (Additional fee of $10 per person - 25 person limit)

20. Using the Internet to Answer Your Gardening Questions

Ken Karamichael, Director, Rutgers University, Office of Continuing Professional Education

Facebook, YouTube and Twitter – oh my!! Learn creative ways to explore online resources to enhance your garden design and beauty. Expand your plant knowledge and acquire "lightning fast" search skills during this "#" interactive session.

21. Backyard Chickens

Judy Glattstein, Garden Consultant

One simple step up from a vegetable garden, backyard chickens are easy and fun to keep. We will discuss how to start right with chickens, everything from selecting a breed for eggs, meat, or show, and how to house from chicken coops to chicken tractors. Learn what to feed, and all sorts of fun details about caring for your birds.

22. REVISED! Pairing Wine with Food

Steve Csontos, Grower/Vintner

This program's objective is to help you develop your own personal appreciation of wine based on the foods you enjoy. We will use wine/food pairing as a strategy to explore the most popular varieties of wine.

23. Great Soil, Great Gardens PART TWO: 10 Tips to Great Soil

Dr. Karen Plumley, Instructor, Lecturer

Proper soil evaluation can be mastered by gardeners of any skill level. It won't break the bank, and will likely save you money in the long run in the form of healthier, more attractive plants. We will review 10 concrete steps that you can take to improve your garden soil starting this spring!

NOTE: Learn soil foundation basics in part one of the series - Great Soil, Great Gardens PART ONE (Workshop #13) - held in the morning during Session #2.

24. NEW! Native Plants for Native Pollinators

Bruce Crawford, Director, Rutgers Gardens

There has been a tremendous resurgence for native plants. Yes, these plants provide both attractive floral and foliar additions to the garden, but the interest extends far beyond beauty. They also provide food through pollen, nectar or foliage that will support our native insect populations and all the animals that feed upon these insects. We will highlight numerous beauties that will enhance your garden while sustaining our natural environment!

25. NEW! Introduction to Permaculture

Kevin J. Murphy, P.L.S., P.E., Director of Surveying/Program Manager, DW Smith Associates, LLC

What is permaculture? Come learn about the history, the prime directive, three basic ethics, concepts and themes, and methods of design!

26. NEW! Dealing with Climate Change in Your Landscape

Kim Eierman, Horticulture Consultant, Kim’s Native Landscape Consulting

Climate change is here and impacting our landscapes – increased flooding, more frequent droughts, more extreme weather events and increasing temperatures. Want to help fight climate change at home? Learn how the plants you choose and the landscape practices you use help reduce the impacts of climate change and improve the environment around you.

27. NEW! Dwarf Conifers and Other Dwarf Ornamentals: Their Use in the Landscape

Greg Wolek, Owner, Wolek Garden Design

In this class you will learn how to use and implement dwarf conifers and other dwarf ornamentals in small spaces such as entry ways to homes. The discussion will also include how to select and maintain specimens that winter over in above the ground planters, and how to pair plants on the basis of color, form and texture to create a biodiverse display.

28. NEW! Plant Jeopardy

Game Host: Steve Kristoph, Owner, Steven Kristoph Nurseries

Based on the hit TV game show, contestants working in small groups will compete for top plant prizes. The format is exactly the same as what you're familiar with; regular jeopardy, double jeopardy and final jeopardy…we even have the lock-out buzzer system allowing the group who knows the answer fastest to get first dibs on scoring. Sign up and have some fun! (16 person limit)

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

29. Fresh Flower Arranging - Hands-On Workshop

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)

30. NEW! The History of Deer and the NJ Gardener

Bruce Neary, Owner/Operator, BCN Horticulture, LLC

Having issues with deer? How can that be here in suburban New Jersey? Learn how this modern pest issue evolved, and who we are to blame for their over-population! Included is a history of the white-tailed deer's population flux, some biology and behavior characteristics, the effect its over-abundance is having on the natural environment, and some modern methods for dealing with this 'loved and hated' creature!

31. Made for the Shade

Judy Glattstein, Garden Consultant

Perennials, annuals, bulbs and shrubs provide the palette. Spring comes with early flowers. As trees leaf out, the flowers fade and elegant foliage provides options from subtle to showy. Combine and create the appropriate plants for results for gardens from casual and country to sophisticated and formal.

32. NEW! Getting Your Garden Started: A Guide for NJ and NY Gardeners

Vincent A. Simeone, Garden Writer/Lecturer/Horticultural Consultant

This lecture will offer the instructor's top picks for plants that will thrive in this area's winter cold, soils, coastal conditions, urban living and other unique growing conditions. The information presented is practical and concise and will guarantee success for novice gardeners.

33. Beekeeping: 101

Robert Hughes, Beekeeping Specialist, Past President NJ Beekeepers Association

Welcome to the interesting world of bees and their benefits! Discussion 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.

34. NEW! Rejuvenating the Tired Landscape

Bruce Crawford, Director, Rutgers Gardens

Has your garden become rather lackluster in appearance? Is there something missing, but you simply cannot put your finger on what specifically needs your help? We will cover a range of topics including planting design, patios, and even water features that will not only rekindle your passion for your garden, but will also enhance the value of your home!

35. Establishing and Maintaining Your Lawn

Pedro Perdomo, Registration Specialist, Nisso America, LLC

This class is a must for turfgrass (lawncare) enthusiasts. Learn the basic management practices used to prepare and maintain a healthy lawn all spring and summer long. Topics to be covered will include fertilization, dethatching, seed selection and more.

36. REVISED! Hostas for Garden Texture

Walter Cullerton, Penn State Master Gardener

Take a journey into the wonderful world of hostas, the number one selling perennial (according to American Nurseryman magazine). In this workshop, discover hostas of every size, color and leaf shape as well as "visit" gardens in the East, Midwest, South and Northwest.

37. NEW! Natural Solutions from Your Herb Garden

Caren White, Master Gardener of Middlesex County, Herb Consultant – The Rutgers Gardens

Herbs are good for more than cooking. Learn how you can use them around the house, in your garden and even for personal grooming.

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Senior Program Coordinator: Dalynn Knigge

Administrative Assistant:
Karen Tizzano

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