Jeff’s Classes for 2019
CCCC Sustainable Agriculture Program
I teach Farm Business Management at Central Carolina Community College. This is a curriculum-based course, so you’ll need to go to www.cccc.edu to apply.
RCCC Agripreneurship series
Taught in partnership with Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and Carolina Farm Stewardship Association’s Elma C. Lomax Incubator Farm in Concord, NC. For registration and details, go to www.rccc.edu.
RCCC Home Gardening Series
These short Classes give a first-time Gardener the information they need to grow lots of good, fresh food at home. Taught at Lomax Farm, there will be lots of hands in the soil experiences.
January 14 – From the Windowsill to the Garden: Starting Plants from Seed
Growing your own plants from seed is easy and can save you money. We’ll talk about seed selection, setting up your growing area, looking after your young plants and lots more!
February 11 – A Cut Above: Pruning Fruit trees for Better Health & Production
Pruning is one of the most important things you can do for the health of your trees. This class covers the basic types of cuts, why to make a pruning cut, and the right tools and how to maintain them.
March 18 – When Can I Plant Tomatoes? Garden Planning for the Complete Beginner
When to plant is as important as how to plant and what to plant! Join us for a primer on how to plan your garden for healthier plants, more food, and more fun!
April 8 – The Family Food Garden: More Fresh Food from the Home Landscape
Never planted a garden before? Want to add more variety to your garden? This class will show you the basics of creating a garden for season–long fresh fruits and vegetables.
May 13 – Good Neighbors: Companion Planting for a Healthier Garden
Companion Planting is an ancient concept that is new again. We’ll look at ways to get more fresh food from your garden, attract pollinators and beneficial insects, and repel the critters that cause us trouble.
June 10 – Something’s Eating My Plants – A Baker’s Dozen of the Most Common Garden Pests
Gardens are places of Life in all its abundance. Some of that abundance is shared, not always willingly, with the critters that we call pests. We’ll talk about 13 (or more if we have time) of the pests we most often encounter in our gardens
July 8 – Go Forth and Multiply: Plant Propagation
Lots of food plants are very easy to propagate. We’ll learn the basics of making new plants from root or stem cuttings, and from divisions. Propagating plants is an easy and fun way to grow more fresh food!
August 12 – Good Soil: A Gardener’s Guide to Soil Testing
Growing healthy food begins with building a healthy soil. Building soil starts with the soil test, and it’s a test you can’t fail, unless you don’t take it! This class teaches soil sampling, reading the soil test results, and what to do with those results.
September 9 – Leaves make Great Tomatoes: Home Composting
If there is such a thing as a magic substance, compost is that thing. It loosens clay soil, builds up sandy soils, helps soils drain better, or helps soils hold more moisture. And if you’re growing tomatoes, it just can’t be beat! We’ll cover how composting works, what kinds of bins to use, and how to add compost to your garden.
October 14 – An Apple a Day: Fruit plants for a Healthy Family
It’s really easy to add fruit plants to your garden or home landscape. Not only is fruit good for you, fruit plants can have beautiful spring flowers, great fruit, and good fall color. Join us for the basics of adding fruit to your garden!
Successful Gardener series
Successful Gardener Classes are held at Renfrow Farm, 409 W John Street, Matthews, NC, OR at Renfrow Hardware, 188 N Trade Street, Matthews. Classes begin at 630PM, and end around 830 PM.
Successful Gardener 101 Classes
January 22 Grow Your Own: Starting Plants from seeds
Growing your own plants from seed is easy and can save you money. We’ll talk about seed selection, setting up your growing area, looking after your young plants and lots more! We’ll be at the Hardware store for this one.
*February 9 A Cut Above: The Pruning Workshop
Pruning is one of the most important things you can do for the health of your trees. This class covers the basic types of cuts, why to make a pruning cut, and the right tools and how to maintain them. This is a SATURDAY WORKSHOP, so we’ll go down to the farm and do some pruning. Please dress for the weather! Wear gloves and bring your pruners.
March 19 The Four Season Garden I: Spring & Summer
In the NC Piedmont, you can have something growing all year. And with a little protection, you can get an early start on lots of crops. We’ll look at ways to grow food earlier in the year and have more fresh food from your garden! We’ll look at some of those ways down at the farm, so please dress for the weather.
April 23 The Organic Gardening Primer
We’ve all heard the “o-word”, but what does it mean? Learn how to grow more fresh food using flowers, herbs, & compost. Wear your garden boots, ‘cause we’ll be at the farm.
May 14 A Garden of Flowers For Cutting
You’ve seen all the beautiful flowers we grow at the farm. Come learn how to grow your own! Dress for the weather, since we will be at the farm.
June 11 The Living Garden: Natural Pest Management
Pollinators, predators, & parasites are all part of a healthy garden. Add all of the “critters” that live in healthy soil, and your garden is a living thing, ready to provide you with fresh healthy food. We’ll be at the farm, so dress appropriately.
July 16 The Long, Hot Summer
“It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.” Well, I hate to break it to you, but it IS the heat! Every summer is different in the NC Piedmont, but heat is a common factor every year. Learn about dealing with all those 90 degree days. We’ll be out in the heat, so dress accordingly, and bring your water bottle.
August 13 The Four Season Garden II: Fall & Winter
Fall gardens begin in the late Summer, and your winter garden might, too! Planting guides, variety selection, season extension are some of the concepts to help you grow year round in NC. Dress for the farm.
September 17 Compost 101
“Composting is something your Granpa does.” I’m a grandparent, and I have been composting since the 1970’s. I can tell you that nothing helps a garden more than the addition of compost. It’s easy, simple, and worth doing, things that don’t always go together. Join us to learn the single best thing you can do for your garden. You’ll get dirty doing it, so dress accordingly.
October15 Fruits & Nuts & Berries For Your Backyard
When I was a kid, we always asked Santa for “ fruits & nuts & candy”, because they were so seasonal in availability. With some planning and preparation, they don’t have to be at your house, not anymore. And you don’t need acres and acres to provide a lot of healthy food, either. We’ll talk about site selection, “best” varieties, planting, maintenance, and harvest of all this good food. Since we will be at the farm, dress appropriately.
Successful Gardener 201 Classes
January 29 Home Propagation: Hardwood Cuttings
There are a lot of ways to grow plants, and taking cuttings (pieces of the plant cut away from the parent plant) is one of the best ways to learn propagation. There are several fruit plants that grow well from last year’s growth. Learn the “who/what/when/where/why” of taking hardwood cuttings. Dress for the farm.*
February 12 Home Propagation: Grafting workshop
Grafting is one of the more difficult methods of propagation. Removing living tissue from one plant and adding it to another, This is a great skill for any gardener. This workshop has limited seating, and will have an additional materials charge. Dress for the farm*, but we will be inside some, too.
March 26 Backyard Beekeeping
Honeybees are a delight to watch at work, and are vital to our food system. We’ll go over the basics of beekeeping, including going into the hives if weather permits. This is another workshop with limited “seating” and a materials charge. If you are allergic to bee stings, bring an epi-pen and an OK from your doctor. Long sleeves and long pants are suggested. Fragrances can upset the bees, so please refrain from their use.
April 30 Home Propagation: Seed Saving
There are dozens of old vegetable varieties and fruit cultivars available to us. We can take a handful of seeds and in a few years have enough seed to share and plant many times over. There are some very simple things to do to save a good variety, and have some to plant & share next year. Dress for the farm*.
May 21 Organic Gardening 201
The follow up to the OG Primer, this class takes you deeper into how organics works in the garden. The OG Primer is a prerequisite for this class. Dress for the farm.*
June 18 Flower Arranging with Pressly
We’ll be joined for this class on creating beautiful flower arrangements by Pressly Blackley-Williams, the manager of Renfrow Farm. She has a real eye for color, texture, and contrast, concepts essential to eye-catching arrangements. Our class on growing flowers for cuts is a prerequisite for this class. This workshop has limited seating and a materials charge. Dress for the farm.*
July 23 What’s Eating My Plants?!?
This class on diagnostics will help you identify all the pests and pathogens in your garden. Our class on The Living Garden is a prerequisite for this course. Dress for the farm.*
August 20 Home Propagation: Softwood Cuttings
Softwood cuttings are taken from the current year’s growth of a plant. Being much more tender, they are more complicated to “grow on”. This workshop has limited seating and an additional materials charge. While Hardwood cuttings class is not a prerequisite, the experience might be helpful. Dress for the farm.*
September 24 Compost 201*
As I say in 101, “Compost happens.” But there are some things we can do to improve the quality of our compost, or maybe make compost faster. “Compost 101” is a prerequisite for this course. Dress for the farm.*
October 22 Home Propagation: Division
One of the simplest methods of propagation, root division can be done anytime a plant is dormant. This is a messy class, so be sure to dress for soil and mud. This class may be limited by how much plant material we have on hand.
*Dress for the Farm means sturdy, closed toe shoes, long pants, short/blouse for the weather, and a hat or head wrap. Sunscreen may be appropriate seasonally, as will a good water bottle. Gloves are usually a good idea, too.by