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Posted Tuesday, December 18th, 2018

Register Early for the Day-Long Gardening Seminar

Morris Community Gardeners: Grow Your Know-How at March 2 Conference

Artwork: Joe Wirtheim at

The one-day Community Garden Conference on March 2 offers valuable information for community gardeners.

Whether you are a gardener, manager or organizer trying to get a community garden started, you will find valuable information at this event sponsored jointly by Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Friends of Frelinghuysen Arboretum and Morris County Park Commission.

Author Barbara Pleasant, garden editor at Mother Earth News, will deliver the keynote address entitled Creating Abundance: The Community Gardening Experience.  At registration, participants select four breakout sessions for the afternoon from sessions on vegetable gardening, garden pests, garden tools, ergonomics, fall gardening, horticultural therapy, and a coordinators round table.

To register or for more information, visit or call 973.326.7603. Those who sign up before Feb. 1 receive the discounted admission of $50. After Feb. 1 the cost is $60. Lunch is included. The arboretum is located at 353 East Hanover Ave., Morris Township. Please bring a donation for the Interfaith Food Pantry. The snow date  is Sunday, March 3. Master gardeners who attend are eligible for 5.0 Rutgers Master Gardener CEU’s.

Detailed explanations of the seminar’s offerings are below.

Keynote Address: Creating Abundance: The Community Gardening Experience by Barbara Pleasant, Author
Creating abundance comes naturally when your allies are sun, soil and fellow gardeners who want to feed and nurture their families and friends. In this lively keynote talk, Barbara Pleasant will show what sets abundant thinkers apart, including their willingness to try new things. The garden plays a role, too, because simply working in soil makes for a happier life. Barbara Pleasant has been reporting on organic gardening for more than 30 years, first with Organic Gardening magazine and more recently with Mother Earth News. She is the author of numerous books including Homegrown Pantry: A Gardener’s Guide to Selecting the Best Varieties & Planting the Perfect Amounts for What You Want to Eat Year Round, a 2018 INDIE Forward finalist and winner of a Silver Award of Achievement from the Garden Writers Association. She lives in Floyd, VA, where she grows a big garden filled with food and flowers, an assortment of fruits, and keeps a small flock of chickens, who all have names. Her website is Barbara will have books for sale and signing.

Top Ten Community Garden Pests and Diseases of 2018
Peter Nitzsche, Agricultural and Resource Mgmt Agent Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Morris County
Community gardens across New Jersey were surveyed to determine the most common pests and diseases found this past growing season. Learn tips and techniques for combating them in order to grow the best vegetables in your garden plot. Pete Nitzsche’s commitment to community gardens is the reason this conference became a reality nine years ago. Pete holds a B.S. in Plant Science and an M.S. in Horticulture from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Commercial vegetable and small fruit production and marketing are the focus of his applied Research and Extension program and he also oversees the Rutgers Master Gardener volunteer program. His work on strawberries and tomatoes led to the release of the Rutgers Scarlet strawberry and the ‘Rutgers 250’ tomato in 2016.

Mastering the Art of Vegetable Gardening
Matt Mattus, Plantsman, Author
Prepare to encounter new varieties of common plant species, learn their history and benefits, and, most of all, identify fascinating new edibles to grow in your own gardens. You may subscribe to or have read Matt’s award winning gardening blog Growing with Plants. Matt Mattus has been involved with horticulture throughout his career, which began as a kid aged 9 years old who wandered into Horticultural Hall after a weekly piano lesson in the city and who decided that he too could grow marigolds and exhibit them! While most folks know Matt as a horticultural authority, the truth is his lifelong love of all plants began with his passion for raising vegetables because they have a deep connection to our past, and to our kitchens. Matt will bring books for sale and signing.

Horticultural Therapy and the Community Garden
Ann Fahey, Assistant Superintendent of Horticultural Education, Morris County Park Commission
Community Gardens are a great place to incorporate horticultural therapy. Learn what horticultural therapy actually is and what a garden needs to include to become a therapeutic place from Ann Fahey, Certified Horticultural Therapist. Ann started Horticultural Therapy programs for the Morris County Park Commission in 2017. In just over a year, 7 groups attended programs and students with special needs intern in the Scherer Garden. Her talk will include what makes a successful program and why community gardens are a great partner for horticultural therapy.

Garden Tools and Ergonomics
Shaun Ananko, Director of Agriculture and Education, Grow It Green Morristown
Is your back hurting while you are gardening? Did you ever wonder what new tools might be out there to use for gardening? In this class, we will go over all of the garden tools we use and the proper way to use them. We will also discuss maintenance and proper care. Come learn the best tools to use for the various gardening tasks. Try your hand under the expert guidance of Farmer Shaun.

Autumn Abundance: Extending the Growing Season
Nick Storrs, Owner, Homegrown Nursery, Tarrytown, NY
Don’t let the bounty from your vegetable garden end on Labor Day! Learn what to plant and when along with growing tips for an abundant fall harvest, as well as how to protect against late season pests and frost. Nick Storrs has been working in and around gardens for the past decade. He worked on market farms outside of Burlington, VT before coming to New York City. He has been a gardener in Central Park and now manages the Randall’s Island Urban Farm and owns Homegrown Nursery. He raises over 200 varieties of fruits and vegetables while teaching others about the importance of good food and engaging students of all ages in our food system. He is currently an instructor at the New York Botanical Garden as well as offering classes at the Lyndhurst Estate.

Coordinators Roundtable: Communication Strategies That Work
Whether it be with volunteers, gardeners or our local politicians, sometimes communicating effectively can be tough. Are your gardeners not responding to emails? Are you having trouble getting and keeping volunteers? Are your work days poorly attended? How do you find the right champion on your town council? Learn some strategies that have worked for other garden managers and share your own success stories with the group. This session will be moderated by Patti Millar, Volunteer Coordinator for the Morris County Park Commission, Cynthia Triolo, Rutgers Cooperative Extension and Community Garden Manager for the past 10 years and Paul O’Malley, Randolph Community Garden Committee.