Workshops / Classes

City of Bloomington Parks & Recreation

Class listing
Bloomington Parks and Recreation Community Gardening Program
  2015 WINTER-SPRING Garden/Bloomington Community Orchard 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


Gardening Classes


Certificate in the Organic Management of Orchards

In this eight-week class series, learn how to use organic methods in the management of orchards and earn a Certificate in the Organic Management of Orchards (COMO). 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. Hands-on training opportunities and optional field trips 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 registration fee. 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. Co-sponsored by Bloomingfoods, Hilltop Garden and Nature Center, and Free University of Monroe County.

Date: Tuesdays, 1/13 - 3/3, 6:30-8:30 pm

Registration deadline: January 8th,  Code: 16509

Register here: www.bloomington.in.gov/communitygardening

Min/max: 8/20

Cost: $95 in-city / $115 non-city

Ages: 16 yrs. and up

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

Instructor: H. Michael Simmons, Advanced Master Gardener


Getting Started with Backyard Chickens

If you have ever dreamed of having your own backyard flock of chickens, this class is for you! Learn the ins and outs of raising chickens in your own backyard. From having your own fresh eggs to enjoying "chicken TV" for pure entertainment, there are plenty of reasons to have a backyard flock. The instructor will cover the basics of coop selection and design, feeding and watering, manure management, dealing with predators, flock health and behavior, and everything you need to know about eggs, weather extremes and more! Co-sponsored by Bloomingfoods and Hilltop Garden and Nature Center.

Date: Saturday 2/7, 1-4 pm

Registration deadline: February 5th, Code: 16508-A

Register here: www.bloomington.in.gov/communitygardening

Min/max: 8/20

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

Ages: 16 yrs. and up

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

Instructor: Julie James


Introduction to Permaculture Design

What is permaculture design and how does it fit into an evolving world of sustainability? This two-part workshop gives an overview of permaculture design as a tool and a network of people. In the first session we will look at design and its uses from the permaculture perspective. You will be assigned homework that is intended to help you view your home from a new perspective. In the second session, we will work on basic permaculture design based on your assessment of your own habitat. Co-sponsored by Bloomingfoods and Hilltop Garden and Nature Center.

Date: Wednesdays, 2/18 & 2/25, 6:30-8:30 pm

Registration deadline: February 16th, Code: 16505-A

Register here: www.bloomington.in.gov/communitygardening

Min/max: 8/20

Cost: $25 in-city / $29 non-city

Ages: 16 yrs. and up

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

Instructor: Rhonda Baird, Permaculture Designer and Teacher


Berries for the Home Garden

This two-part class covers pertinent information on growing blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries for the small-scale and home grower. Planting and establishment, annual care, maintaining fertility, pest management, and cultivars for this bioregion will be discussed. This class will be presented from the standpoint of the organic method of growing berries and cane fruits. Co-sponsored by Bloomingfoods and Hilltop Garden and Nature Center.

Date: Monday and Wednesday, 3/9 & 3/11, 6-9 pm

Registration deadline: March 8th, Code: 16506-A

Register here: www.bloomington.in.gov/communitygardening

Min/max: 8/20

Cost: $36 in-city / $40 non-city

Ages: 16 yrs. and up

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

Instructor: Keith Uridel


Vegetable Garden Planning

Plan for a successful home vegetable garden with help from Mother Hubbard's Cupboard garden educators. Discuss basic organic gardening techniques and how to use strategies such as crop rotation, soil building, companion planting, and garden mapping to prepare for success with a productive garden season. Co-sponsored by Bloomingfoods and Mother Hubbard's Cupboard.

Date: Wednesday, 3/11, 6:30-8 pm

Registration deadline: March 9th, Code: 16504-A

Min/max: 5/20

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

Ages: 16 yrs. and up

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

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


Creating a Perennial Paradise

Gear up for spring with this course on perennial planting. Learn how to create landscapes that yield food, fun, and beauty. We will discuss a wide range of species and strategies for garden establishment and maintenance. In addition to indoor class time, we will take a plant walk around the Hilltop gardens to see what is emerging from winter hibernation! Co-sponsored by Bloomingfoods and Hilltop Garden and Nature Center.

Date: Wednesday, 3/25, 5:30-7:30 pm

Registration deadline: March 23rd, Code: 16507-A

Min/max: 8/20

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

Ages: 16 yrs. and up

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

Instructor: Jonas Carpenter, Permaculture Designer and Teacher


Bloomington Community Orchard Classes

 The Community Gardening Program and the Bloomington Community Orchard are pleased to announce that all Community Orchard classes will be provided free to the community, as part of our continued dedication to making healthy food available to all.

To register, e-mail Education@BloomingtonCommunityOrchard.org at least 48 hours before the class, including your name, phone number, and e-mail. For more information, visit BloomingtonCommunityOrchard.org.


Instructor: H. Michael Simmons, orchard educator 
Participants are notified if use of rain date is necessary. 

Co-sponsored by Bloomingfoods, the Bloomington Community Orchard, the Free University of Monroe County, and Hilltop Garden and Nature Center.

FREE • Saturdays • 2–4 p.m.  • For ages 16 yrs. and up.
Hilltop Garden and Nature Center, 2367 E. 10th St.

Growing Organic Pome Fruits

Learn to grow pome fruits (apples and pears) in the home landscape by using organic management strategies. Topics include cultivar selection, pollination requirements, planting, pruning, nutrient budgeting, irrigation, pest and disease control, and harvesting and storage of fruit. Enjoy safe, nutritious, and delicious apples and pears for cooking or eating out of hand without spending a fortune. Questions about existing trees are welcome. Co-sponsored by Bloomingfoods, the Bloomington Community Orchard, Hilltop Garden and Nature Center, and the Free University of Monroe County.

Date: Saturday, 1/31, 2-4 pm

Registration deadline: To register, e-mail Education@BloomingtonCommunityOrchard.org at least 48 hours before the class, including your name, phone number, and e-mail. For more information, visit BloomingtonCommunityOrchard.org.

Cost: free

Ages: 16 yrs. and up

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

Instructor: H. Michael Simmons, Advanced Master Gardener

Dormant Pruning of Fruit Trees

Learn how to prune fruit trees during dormancy in order to improve structure, stimulate growth, and increase productivity. In this hands-on class, which takes place entirely outdoors, participants both learn and practice proper pruning techniques. Please bring clothing and shoes appropriate for the weather. The rain/snow date for this class is 3/7. Co-sponsored by Bloomingfoods, Bloomington Community Orchard, Hilltop Garden and Nature Center, and the Free University of Monroe County.

Date: Saturday, 2/28, 2-4 pm

Registration deadline: To register, e-mail Education@BloomingtonCommunityOrchard.org at least 48 hours before the class, including your name, phone number, and e-mail. For more information, visit BloomingtonCommunityOrchard.org.

Cost: free

Ages: 16 yrs. and up

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

Instructor: H. Michael Simmons, Advanced Master Gardener


Growing Organic Stone Fruits

Learn to grow stone fruits (peaches, plums, and cherries) in the home landscape by using organic management strategies. Topics include cultivar selection, pollination requirements, planting, pruning, nutrient budgeting, irrigation, pest and disease control, and harvesting and storage of fruit. Enjoy safe, nutritious, and delicious stone fruits for cooking or eating out of hand without spending a fortune. Questions about existing trees are welcome. Co-sponsored by Bloomingfoods, the Bloomington Community Orchard, the Free University of Monroe County, and Hilltop Garden and Nature Center.

Date: Saturday, 3/28, 2-4 pm

Registration deadline: To register, e-mail Education@BloomingtonCommunityOrchard.org at least 48 hours before the class, including your name, phone number, and e-mail. For more information, visit BloomingtonCommunityOrchard.org.

Cost: free

Ages: 16 yrs. and up

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

Instructor: H. Michael Simmons, Advanced Master Gardener