Workshops / Classes

City of Bloomington Parks & Recreation

Class listing
Bloomington Parks and Recreation Community Gardening Program
  2014 WINTER-SPRING Garden/BCO Classes

The Community Gardening Program offers a variety of gardening and orchard management classes. For more information, call 349-3700 or email  hobsonr@bloomington.in.gov

To register for classes on line, please visit http://bloomington.in.gov/parks



Gardening Classes



Certificate in the Organic Management of Orchards (COMO)

Learn how to use organic methods in the management of orchards and earn COMO certification. The class covers site selection and modification, soil evaluation and amendment, orchard floor management, cultivar selection, grafting, pollination requirements, planting techniques, pruning, insect pest monitoring and management, plant pathology and disease control, irrigation, fertilization, and harvesting and fruit handling. Optional field trips and hands-on training opportunities are included. Passing a final examination is required for certification, but anyone may take the course for personal enrichment without taking the exam. A reference notebook is included in the fee for the class. Co-sponsored by Bloomingfoods, Hilltop Garden and Nature Center and Free University of Monroe County.

Thanks to the generosity of a COMO graduate, scholarship assistance is available through the Cassell Memorial Scholarship fund. Scholarship applications must be submitted at least two weeks prior to the start of the program and are available in the Parks and Recreation office. For more information about applying for a scholarship, call 349-3702.

Date: Tuesdays, January 14th to  March 4th (8 sessions), 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Register deadline: January 10th (registration code 76502-A)

Cost: $95 in city / $115 out of city

Ages: all ages

Location: Hilltop Garden and Nature Center, 2367 E. 10th St.

Instructor: H. Michael Simmons, Advanced Master Gardener



Eating Healthy on a Budget

This session begins by exploring the question, "what is healthy eating?" The class then covers suggestions for keeping a low-cost budget through shopping, kitchen and gardening strategies like bulk buying, using sale ads, and planning what and how much to plant in the garden. Consideration will also be given to the expense of "convenience" foods vs. batch and scratch cooking. Co-sponsored by Bloomingfoods and Hilltop Garden and Nature Center.

Date: Wednesday, February 19th, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Register deadline: February 18th (registration code 76504-A)

Cost: $13 in-city, $16 non-city

Ages: all ages

Location: Hilltop Garden and Nature Center, 2367 E. 10th St.

Instructor: Brandi Smith



Steadfast Blueberry

This class touches on all aspects of blueberry care. It covers planting methods and choices of soil amendments for the best and longest growth and production. Soil and plant nutrition, pruning, pest control, and irrigation systems suitable for blueberries will also be discussed. Co-sponsored by Boomingfoods and Hilltop Garden and Nature Center.

Date: Monday, March 10th, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Register deadline: March 7th (registration code 76511-A)

Cost: $15 in-city, $18 non-city

Ages: all ages

Location: Hilltop Garden and Nature Center, 2367 E. 10th St.

Instructor: Keith Uridel



Growing Brambles for the Home Garden

The class covers brambles (including both summer- and fall-bearing raspberries and blackberries), their preferred soil types, planting styles, and amendment and light requirements. Fertility management, pest control, foliar feeding and pruning for high production will be discussed. The instructor will also relate his experience with container growing of certain raspberry cultivars. Co-sponsored by Hilltop Garden and Nature Center.

Date: Monday and Wedesday, March 24th and 26th, 6:30-8:30pm

Register deadline: March 21st (registration code 76507-A)

Cost: $25 in-city/$30 non-city

Ages: all ages

Location: Hilltop Garden and Nature Center, 2367 E. 10th St.

Instructor: Keith Uridel



Vegetable Garden Planning

Successfully plan your own vegetable garden for the coming growing season! We'll talk about different sustainable gardening methods, from bio-intensive to permaculture. Learn the basics of crop rotation, companion planting, soil building, and cover cropping. Co-sponsored by Bloomingfoods and Mother Hubbard's Cupboard, 1100 W. Allen St., Ste. A

Date: Tuesday, March 25th, 6:30 – 8 p.m.

Register deadline: March 24th (registration code 76512-A)

Cost: $8 in-city / $10 non-city

Ages: all ages

Location: Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard, 1100 W. Allen St., Ste. A

Instructor: Stephanie Solomon, Grow Organic Educator and Director of Education and Outreach for Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard



Gardens for Kids

Let's bring out the kid in all of us by creating gardens that speak to child passions. From small ponds to small fruits, hiding places and flowers...the instructor uses her experience creating and observing her own permaculture garden and children to inspire you and your family. We will cover design considerations, encouraging children's sensibilities, connecting with nature in the garden, and the practical aspects of creating these spaces. The cost of materials provided by the instructor is included in the fee. Co-sponsored by Bloomingfoods and Hilltop Garden and Nature Center.

Date: Wednesday, April 9th, 6-8:00 p.m.

Register deadline: April 7th (registration code 76506-A)

Cost: $16 in-city, $20 non-city

Ages: all ages

Location: Hilltop Garden and Nature Center, 2367 E. 10th St.

Instructor: Rhonda Baird, Permaculture Designer and Teacher




Bloomington Community Orchard Classes

Co-sponsored by Bloomingfoods, Bloomington Community Orchard and Free University of Monroe County. Participants are notified if use of rain date is necessary.



Planning Home Fruit Plantings

Winter offers the optimal time to plan for ordering and planting fruiting trees and shrubs. The class provides guidance in deciding which fruits to grow, which cultivars to order, sources for those cultivars, and design considerations for the home orchard. The class provides all you need to know in order to get started growing delicious and nutritious fruits at home. Co-sponsored by Bloomingfoods, the Bloomington Community Orchard and Hilltop Garden and Nature Center.

Date: Saturday, December 7, 2:00-4:00 p.m.

Register deadline: December 4

Cost: $8 in city/ $10 out of city (registration code 66507-A)

Ages: all ages

Location: Hilltop Garden and Nature Center

Instructor: H. Michael Simmons



Dormant Pruning of Fruit Trees

This course will focus on the development of the home forest garden, which incorporates fruit trees and other perennials with herbs, flowers, and annual veggies to create diverse, beautiful systems that give you fruit and friends. This course will cover basic permaculture design tips and strategies that help you design and improve your garden. We will look at choosing species, management, pest control, and harvest. Co-sponsored by Bloomingfoods and Hilltop Garden and Nature Center.

Date: Saturday, February 22nd, 2-4pm

Register deadline: February 20th (registration code 76503-A)

Cost: $10 in-city, $12 non-city

Ages: all ages

Location: Bloomington Community Orchard

Instructor: H. Michael Simmons, Orchard Educator



Propagating the Orchard

Learn how to make many trees and bushes from just a few. The class covers such propagation techniques as budding, grafting, stooling, layering, and taking hard- and softwood cuttings. Learn and practice propagation techniques in this hands-on class! This class takes place in the Community Orchard, so dress appropriately for the weather. The rain date is March 29.

Date: Saturday, March 22nd, 2-4pm

Register deadline: March 20th (registration code 76505-A)

Cost: $10 in-city, $12 non-city

Ages: all ages

Location: Bloomington Community Orchard

Instructor: Phillip O’Conner, Tree Improvement Specialist, Indiana Division of Forestry



Managing the Orchard Floor

Learn what to grow and what not to grow under your fruit trees. The class covers using legumes to contribute to the nitrogen budget of fruit trees, using flowering plants to attract beneficial insects, and avoiding competition with tree roots. This class takes place in the Community Orchard, so dress appropriately for the weather. The rain date is April 19th.

Date: Saturday, April 12th, 2-4pm

Register deadline: April 10th (registration code 76508-A)

Cost: $10 in-city, $12 non-city

Ages: all ages

Location: Bloomington Community Orchard

Instructor: H. Michael Simmons, Orchard Educator


For a complete listing of all City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Courses, check out the Winter/Spring Program Guide