Gardening Classes

Whether you are thinking about starting your first garden or you’ve been gardening for years, these classes are for you. Gardening is all about trying new things in order to learn what works, as well as sharing ideas and techniques with others. The goal of this series is to provide basic information for beginning gardeners, as well as a forum for more seasoned gardeners to share information and ask questions.  Join us for all or part of this series as we glean information from some of the many experienced gardeners in our community. Classes are open to all faculty, staff, students and community members.

The Center for Sustainable Communities is offering this series of gardening classes free of charge to all participants.

There is no charge for the classes, but registration is required. Please register
online. We anticipate classes filling up quickly so please sign-up early to secure your spot.

Gardening Series: 2015 Season Offerings 

Seed Selection: Choosing the Right Seeds
Facilitators: Mike Bollinger and Grant Olson
Thursday, March 5, 2015

Valders 362

Hybrid or heirloom? Indeterminate or determinate? Early or late maturing? Choosing seeds is exciting but can also be daunting. There are so many options! Which varieties grow best in this region? Where is the best place to buy seed and seedlings? How do I ensure a continuous harvest of key crops throughout the season? How do I select varieties that best suit my needs and values? Mike Bollinger (River Root Farm) and Grant Olson (Seed Savers Exchange) will discuss factors to consider when selecting seeds, as well as recommend some of their favorite varieties. Please Preregister. 

Seed Starting 101
Facilitator: Jeff Scott
Thursday, March 12, 2015

Valders 362

There are many reputable places to buy high quality transplants, but have you ever thought about growing your own? Benefits of growing transplants at home include the ability to choose your favorite varieties, as well as the potential for significant cost savings. Production does depend a fair amount on the quality of the transplants so its important to understand the factors that can lead to high quality, healthy transplants. Jeff Scott of Driftless Gardens will discuss strategies and techniques to help you learn to grow your own plant starts this year. Please Preregister. 

How to Build a Raised Bed
Jeff Scott
Thursday, April 9, 2015

Valders 262

There are a myriad of benefits to gardening within a raised bed system. Benefits can include easier weed and pest control, better soil, accessibility and aesthetics. Jeff Scott of Driftless Gardens has installed many raised beds at schools and homes within the Decorah community. During this class he will discuss key considerations related to raised beds as well as show plans and budgets for various raised bed systems. Please Preregister. 

How to Make a Bean Tipi
David Cavagnaro
Thursday, April 30, 2015

Valders 362 / Valders Edible Landscape

Bean tipis are an easy way to maximize the use of your garden space while also adding making the garden more topographically interesting. If you’ve always thought bean tipis must be difficult to build, think again! David Cavagnaro of the Pepperfield Project will work alongside participants to build a bean tipi in one of Luther’s edible landscapes. Participants will learn about the types of materials from which tipis can be constructed as well as learn the best strategy for building a secure structure. Please Preregister. 

Container Gardening
David Cavagnaro and Perry Halse

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Valders 362

Containers can be great places to grow a garden! Container gardens are versatile and can be highly productive. David Cavagnaro has been photographing container gardens for years and will share his expertise on creating beautiful container gardens with combinations of flowers, plants and herbs. Perry Halse, of Luther’s ground crew has been incorporating edibles into flower pots all across campus. Participants are sure to leave feeling inspired to create container gardens that is sure to be the talk of the neighborhood. Please Preregister. 

How to Build a Low-Cost Hoophouse for Home Production
Giles Teslow (Luther College Carpenter)  and Perry Halse (Luther College Grounds Crew Staff)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

College Farm - 2132 Pole Line Road, Decorah

Hoop houses can provide shelter for seedlings and early and late season crops. Many companies now offer greenhouses and hoop houses that are sized for home production. These structures can be expensive but the good news is that you can build one yourself! Giles Teslow and Perry Halse have both built multiple low budget hoop houses and will be on hand to provide you with design ideas and tips for constructing your own. Please Preregister. 

Backyard Chickens
Jon Jensen and Rachel Sandhorst
Thursday, July 16, 2015
Valders 362

Do you like omelettes and quiche? Have you always dreamed of being able to have fresh eggs for breakfast from a coop right out your back door? Jon Jensen and Rachel Sandhorst have been raising their own broilers and laying hens for years and will share some of what they’ve learned with participants during this session. They will discuss housing, light requirements, seasonal needs, feed and other considerations. Chickens are popping up all over Decorah. Come learn how you can be the next house to sport a coop. Please Preregister. 

Growing Grapes
David Cavagnaro
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Valders 362

Think grapes and Iowa don’t mix? Think again. Join David Cavagnaro for a conversation about growing grapes in this region. David has successfully grown grapes at his farm north of Decorah for years and will share with you some of his best tips and tricks. He will provide recommendations on varieties that do well in your midwestern home garden. Please Preregister. 

Saving the Season: Storing Vegetables Through the Winter
David Cavagnaro
Thursday, October 1, 2015

Valders 362

You’ve grown bushels of beautiful sweet potatoes, carrots, potatoes, brussels sprouts, leeks, squash and onions. They are still happy in the garden but you know the frost and cold temperatures are imminent. Have no fear. Regardless of whether or not you have a root cellar, there are many creative solutions for storing your homegrown vegetables so that you can enjoy them throughout the winter and spring. Come learn how. Please preregister.