Seasonal Workshops on the Farm


Keeping Your Classroom Fresh & Growing!


Day of Garden Skills Workshops & Demonstrations for the School Garden

Date: Saturday, April 26
Place: Tranquil Lake Nursery in Rehoboth
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Fee: Free and open to all educators with registration

Print Registration form or Print Schedule for the Day

Send an e-mail to Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom with your name, school and contact information.

Printable Directions to Tranquil Lake Nursery

This workshop is free and open to all educators with registration. Bring your own lunch.  There is a $20 fee for those teachers who would like to receive Professional Development. Ten Professional Development Points are offered for each workshop with accompanying classroom project.


Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom is sponsoring an educational day of workshops and demonstrations on Saturday, April 26 from 9:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Tranquil Lake Nursery in Rehoboth. . Learn a variety of new skills that will help you with your school gardening efforts.

Spend an educational and fun day brushing up on your gardening techniques and learning new activity ideas for the school garden on Saturday, April 26, from 9:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Tranquil Lake Nursery in Rehoboth with twelve workshops and demonstrations to support successful efforts in the school garden will be held throughout the day, including digging garden beds, constructing raised beds, gardening in containers, seeding and saving seeds, mulching, tree planting, herbs and more. Free an open to educators, school gardeners, garden volunteers and the public. Bring your own lunch. For those teachers who would like Professional Development certification there is a $20 fee. Ten Professional Development Points are provided to teachers with accompanying school gardening or classroom activity. Registration is required. This educational event is supported in part with funds from Bartlett Tree Experts Company and the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and with assistance from Tranquil Lake Nursery.

Workshops & Demonstration Schedule

Day of Garden Skills for the School Garden


9:00 a.m.------- Preparing the Vegetable Garden Beds - Double Digging Method
---------------------Debi Hogan and Nursery crew, Tranquil Lake Nursery


The day begins with a demonstration on how to prepare vegetable garden beds using the French Intensive Method known as Double Digging. During this demonstration “Preparing the Vegetable Garden Beds - Double Digging Method” horticulturist and gardener Debi Hogan and the nursery crew at Tranquil Lake Nursery, will show digging the bed, amending the soil and preparation for planting in the ornamental vegetable garden at Tranquil Lake Nursery.


9:30 a.m.------- The Importance of Mulch in the School Garden & Preparing the Garden Bed - Lasagna Layering Materials
------------- ------Alice Posner, Program Associate, Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom


Mulch is the essential ingredient that will ease your labor in the garden. It holds soil moisture, discourages weeds and even adds to the organic material in the soil. In this . workshop, learn about “The Magic of Mulch in the Garden & Lasagna Layering the Garden Beds”. MAC’s School Garden Mentor and Program Associate Alice Posner will discuss different types of mulch from grass clippings to salt marsh hay and even black plastic. She’ll offer suggestions for saving water and labor in the garden and show you how to use different mulches to building a garden beds without digging or removing sod. Look closely at a garden that was layered a year ago to see how soil improvement.


10:00 a.m.----- Tool Basics: Keeping Garden Tools Clean, Rust-Free & Moderately Sharp
---------- ---------Steve Cushman, Tool Guru and Friend of Tranquil Lake Nursery, Rehoboth


Join nursery friend Steve Cushman for a demonstration on “Tool Basics: Keeping Tools Clean, Rust Free and Moderately Sharp.” Steve’s passion for machine tools, farm tools and rebuilding equipment is contagious. Steve maintains his own gardening equipment, keeping them always ready for the task at hand. He will bring the tools and show garden visitors how to clean and care for tools and sharpen equipment in his demonstration. He will take you through the process of sharpening everything from shovels to pruning shears to lawn mowers. Learn the correct angle for sharpening blades and how to keep your tools sharp and efficient.


10:30 a.m.----- Planting, Transplanting and Hardening Off Seeds for the School Garden
----------- --------Marian Hazzard, School Garden Educator, Touchstone Community School, Grafton


It is easy and rewarding to start your vegetables and annual in the classroom and then move then outdoors to the garden when the season is ready. In her demonstration “Planting, Transplanting and Hardening Off Seeds for the School Garden” Marian Hazzard school garden educator from the Touchstone Community School in Grafton will discuss planting show you how to start the seeds in the classroom, when and how to transplant seedlings, the care vegetables need indoors, and hardening off seedlings before planting them out in the garden..

11:00 a.m.----- Square Foot Planting in the School Garden
------------ -------Alice Posner, Program Associate, Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom


Square foot gardening is a method of gardening that adapts well to the school gardening. Alice Posner, MAC’s School Garden Mentor and Program Associate has seen this method used successfully in a number of school gardens and has even tried the technique herself with much success. She will describe the method and how it has been adapted for his students in the school setting in her Demonstration “Square Foot Planting in the School Garden.”


11:30 a.m.-----Bokashi Composting in the School Garden - Using Anaerobic Fermentation
------------ -------Paul Pieri, Science Teacher, the Wheeler School, Providence and Maurolo Farm, Little Compton, RI


This workshop will offer an overview of “Bokashi Compost in the School Garden.” At the Wheeler School Garden in Seekonk, Science Teacher Paul Pieri, is running a trial test of this new method of composting that utilize a two part technique and anaerobic digestion to allow for utilization of all wastes from the school cafeteria, including meat and milk. Learn how he set up the system and is collecting data with his students. Paul also owns Maurolou Farm in Little Compton, Rhode Island where he grows flowers for the cut market.

12:00 noon Soils, Compost and the School Garden
------------ -------Emily Jodka, New Urban Farmers


Soil is the essential element that determines the success of your school garden. It is important to be able to understand soil properties such as type, texture, drainage, pH, color, and parent materials. Compost is one of the best materials for improving any soil. In this workshop “Soils, Compost and the School Garden” Emily Jodka of the New Urban Farmers will offer an overview of soils and composting. You will learn soils basics, how to build a bin, the science of compost, adding the materials to the pile, turning and aeration and how to adapt composting to a school project.


12:30 p.m.- --- Extending the School Garden Season: Building & Using Low Tunnels
------- ------------Josh Leveque, School Garden Coordinator, Mullen Hall School, Falmouth


There are numerous ways that you can extend the season through the fall and into the winter, and also get an early start in the spring. At the Mullen Hall-Elementary School in Falmouth, students are raising crops through the winter using low tunnels. These 3-foot-tall structures resemble miniature hoop houses and can be constructed in any length. They are cost effective, kid-friendly in construction and use, easy to store, and have given great results. Josh Leveque from Mullen Hall School will demonstrate “Extending the School Garden Season with Cold Frames.” He will also provide and overview of crop varieties, planting schedules, and other garden practices to extend the growing season in your school garden and get an early start on the season.


1:00 p.m.------ Techniques for Successfully Planting a Tree in the Schoolyard
-------- -----------Morgan Rhodewalt, horticulturist and farmer, Amherst


Have you ever wanted to plant a tree in the school yard but been unsure how to handle it and didn’t have a clue how to go about digging the planting hole. In his 1:00 p.m. demonstration “Techniques for Successfully Planting a Tree in the Schoolyard”, horticulturist and farmer Morgan Rhodewalt will show you how to prepare the tree, dig the hole, amend the soils and move the tree into its new location. Learn how and when to water and when you should prune.


1:30 p.m.- ---- Pruning Basics: from Thinning to Cutting Back and Rejuvenation
---------- ---------Jeremy Thurber, Arborist, Bartlett Tree Experts Company, Seekonk


Learn how and when to cut back shrubs and trees, ornamental grasses and vines with arborist Jeremy Thurber from Bartlett Tree Experts in Seekonk. Jeremy will take you through the nursery gardens offering pruning tips in his demonstration “Pruning Basics: from Thinning to Cutting Back and Rejuvenation.” He’ll show you how to cut back trees and shrubs to keep them in scale with the garden, thin out overgrown shrubs and trees, rejuvenate older plantings and encourage prolific bloom in the future.


2:00 p.m.--- -- Seed Saving in the School Garden
--- ------ ----------Emily Jodka, New Urban Farmers


Seed saving provides a valuable lesson in cultural heritage, genetic diversity and also offer a gift your class can give to following stewards of your garden. In her presentation “Seed Saving in the School Garden,” Emily Jodka from the New Urban Farmers will tell you which plants are the easy ones to save seeds from, how and when to do it, how to dry and store seed, and tips on how to do this with young children.


2:30 p.m.------ Gardening in Containers in the School Garden: Vegetables and Herbs
- ----- -- ----- ---Tony Ghelfi, Manthela George School, Brockton, and Debi Hogan, Mass. Ag. in the Classroom


Tony Ghelfi, 3rd grade teacher at the Manthela George School in Brockton will offer a workshop on “Gardening in Containers in the School Garden: Vegetables and Herbs." Growing plants in containers allows the opportunity to add beauty or a vegetable patch to areas with limited horticultural attributes such as on pavement or under shallow rooted trees.  It also provides the opportunity to get the garden started indoors and then move the garden outdoors when the weather is favorable.  You can also send the garden home for the summer where it will be watered and tended until fall. Tony will discuss tips for planting and care as well as ideas for decorating the containers with your students.  Debi Hogan, Horticulturist and garden will also show how she uses containers such as window boxes and large pots to grow herbs in the summer and then move them indoors in the fall.

Plan to spend the day and learn skills that will help you get your school garden off to a great start. Learn new techniques that will help you hone your gardening skills and improve the look and ease of care of your garden.

We are grateful to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and to Bartlett Tree Experts Company in Seekonk for sponsoring this day of workshops and demonstrations. We also thank Tranquil Lake Nursery for providing the site for this day of garden skills workshops and demonstrations. Read more about Tranquil Lake Nursery.