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Extension Gardener Course – Information

person setting a plant into soil The information below is from classes that will be offered in 2020.

The Extension Gardener Course is a series of eight gardening classes offered by the Franklin 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, blueberry & small fruit production, starting vegetables & flowers from seed, sustainable lawn care practices, plant identification, and many more. Field trips will also be offered to regional gardening points of interest. You can choose which classes/field trips you would like to attend.

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 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.

Classes will require a registration fee.  Classes will be taught by Colby Griffin, Franklin County Extension Horticulture Agent, and will be held in the Annex of the Franklin County Extension Center, located at 103 S. Bickett Blvd. Louisburg, NC.

Online Registration is available. Register Here >>

Class 1: Thursday, 1/16  Handouts > 

Focus will be on common soil problems, how to diagnose them, and how to improve your soil with compost, cover crops, and other soil amendments. *Weather permitting* We will move outdoors for hands-on soil sampling. Cost is $8.00 per person.

Class 2: Thursday, 2/13 > 

  • Growing Fruits, Nuts & Berries

We will explore which fruits 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. Dr. Bill Cline, NCSU Extension Specialist (Blueberries & Muscadine Grapes) will be joining us for this class. We will also be traveling to Vollmer Farm (Bunn, NC) for on-site blueberry pruning demonstration. Cost is $8.00 per person.

Class 3: Thursday 3/12 > 

  • Growing Flowers & Vegetables from Seed

You will learn the basics of starting vegetables indoors or within a protected structure in order to have healthy plants ready for installing outdoors in the spring. We will discuss planting times, season extension practices, and integrated pest management practices. Seeds, pots, and planting media will be provided. Cost is $10.00 per person.

Field Trip: Thursday, 3/19

  • NCDA – Soil Lab & JC Raulston Arboretum

We will be touring the Soil Laboratory at NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Agronomic Division Headquarters on Reedy Creek Road in Raleigh. Millions of samples come through this lab each year and you’ll get a behind the scenes look at the process. We’ll also be stopping by the JC Raulston Arboretum, NC State’s research & teaching garden. No cost – however bring money for lunch.

Class 4: Thursday, 4/2 >

  • Carolina Lawn Care: Managing Beautiful Lawns

The workshop will include information about fertilizing and watering your lawn in a way to reduce pollution, while maintaining a beautiful lawn in the process. Cost is $8.00 per person.*Weather permitting* We will move outdoors for demonstrations on how to properly calibrate your fertilizer spreader.

Field Trip: Thursday, 4/16

  • Duke Gardens
  • We will be traveling to the renowned Duke Gardens at Duke University in Durham. A guided tour will be available for our group. Duke Gardens consists of 55 acres of specialized gardens and is known for their incredible terraced garden. Cost is $10.00 per person + lunch.

Class 5: Thursday, 6/4 >

  • Diagnosing Plant, Disease & Weed Problems with Proper Management

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. Pests happen. Sometimes you can overlook them but other times you need to control them to keep your plants healthy. Cost is $8.00 per person.

Class 6: Thursday, 7/9 >

Woodland Walk – Learning Proper Woody Plant Identification

Proper identification is crucial in making management decisions for any plant in the landscape or garden. Identification of native (and non-native) tree species is needed for many landowners & homeowners seeking to enhance their familiarity with trees. We will begin with a brief presentation at the Extension Annex and head to DeHart Botanical Gardens in Louisburg (Hwy 401). Cost is $10.00 per person.

Class 7: Thursday, 8/13 >

Cool Season Crops for Vegetable Gardens

Vegetable crops are classified as either ‘warm-season’ or ‘cool-season’ according to their optimum planting time. Cool-season crops are generally planted in early fall to early spring because they do not tolerate the heat stress of the summer. However, cool-season crops vary in the specific horticultural practices needed for optimum production. Participants will learn techniques and timing, best varieties, common problems, and harvesting methods.
Cost is $8.00 per person.

Class 8: Thursday, 9/10 >

The Fundamentals of Composting & Vermicomposting

Are you interested in improving your soil, becoming a better recycler, and being able to create the paramount of compost for you garden? Participants will learn about the science of the decomposition process, understand the types of materials that are readily compostable, how to fine-tune the composting process by finding optimal temperature, moisture, aeration, and pile dimensions, and troubleshooting common composting problems. Dr. Rhonda Sherman, NCSU Solid Waste Extension Specialist will be joining us for this class. Cost is $8.00 per person.