Bloomington Parks and Recreation Community Gardening Program
  2016 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


Getting Started with Backyard Chickens

Considering a small, backyard flock of hens but not sure how to get started? Have a flock but also want more information about your feathered friends? If so, this is the class for you! We will learn the ins and outs of raising chickens, and the benefits 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 of your own. We will examine the basics of coop selection and design, feeding and watering, manure management, and dealing with predators. We will also present information on acquiring chickens, flock health and behavior, everything you need to know about eggs, aging hens, dealing with weather extremes, and more! Co-sponsored by Bloomingfoods and Hilltop Gardens at Indiana University.

Date: Saturday 2/27, 1:00–4:00 pm

Registration deadline: February 25th,  Code: 46506-A

Register here

Cost: $20/in-city, $22/non-city

Ages: For all ages

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

Instructor: Julie James


Blueberries, Blackberries, and Raspberries: The Backyard Growers’ Fruiting All-Stars

This comprehensive course will introduce the beginning grower to the basics of successful berry production, and also help experienced gardeners avoid common pitfalls and increase yields. Location, planting, care, feeding, pest management, pruning, and cultivars that have performed in Indiana will all be discussed. Co-sponsored by Bloomingfoods and Hilltop Gardens at Indiana University.

Date: Tuesday & Thursday, 3/1 & 3/3, 6-8 pm

Registration deadline: February 29th, Code: 46503-A

Register here

Cost: $36 in-City, $40 non-City

Ages: For all ages

Location: Hilltop Gardens at Indiana University, 2367 E. 10th St.

Instructor: Keith Uridel


Landscaping with Native Plants

Have you always wanted to convert your yard to native plants, but you are not sure how to do it or what plants you should use? This class will present the reason and methods of choosing the right native plants for your home and landscape goals. Landscaping with native plants is not only beneficial to the environment. Go home with knowledge of plants native to Indiana and practical design skills. Co-sponsored by Bloomingfoods and Hilltop Gardens at Indiana University.

Date: Saturday, 3/5, 1-2:30 pm

Registration deadline: 3/3,  Code: 46507-A

Register here

Cost: $14 in-City, $15 non-City

Ages: For all ages

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

Instructor: Natalie Marinova, Field biologist and native plant expert


Eat Your Weeds

Celebrate sturdy weeds volunteers! Many of our weeds in North America were brought from Europe by immigrants for their value in cooking and healing. This class will look at the benefits of select weeds to your eco-system and how weeds can benefit your health. Tasty recipes for edible varieties will be shared with the class. Co-sponsored by Bloomingfoods, the Center of Sustainable Living, and Hilltop Gardens at Indiana University.

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

Registration deadline: 3/29,  Code: 46505-A

Register here

Cost: $13 in-City, $15 non-City

Ages: For all ages

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

Instructor: Rhonda Baird, Permaculture Designer and Teacher


Companion Plants and Strong Guilds

This workshop will look at the benefits of companion planting and situating plants relative to others, both annual and perennial, in the garden or landscape for maximum benefit and production. We will look at traditional, permaculture, and biodynamic approaches to encourage health and fertility in your setting. Co-sponsored by Bloomingfoods, the Center for Sustainable Living, and Hilltop Gardens at Indiana University.

Date: Tuesday 4/5, 6:30-8:00 pm

Registration deadline: 4/4,  Code: 46504-A

Register here

Cost: $12 in-City, $13 non-City

Ages: For all ages

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

Instructor: Rhonda Baird, Permaculture Designer and Teacher


Bloomington Community Orchard Classes

 The Community Gardening program and the Bloomington Community Orchard are pleased to offer Community Orchard classes free to the community as part of our continued dedication to making healthy food available to all. To register: please visit BloomingtonCommunityOrchard.org/classes and reserve your seat at least 48 hours before the class. Bloomington Community Orchard classes are co-sponsored by Hilltop Gardens at Indiana University, Bloomingfoods, the Bloomington Community Orchard and Free University of Monroe County.

FREE • Saturdays • 2–4 p.m. • For ages 16 yrs. and up.


Dormant Pruning of Fruit Trees

Learn how to prune fruit trees during dormancy in order to improve structure, stimulate growth, keep trees healthy, and increase productivity. In this hands-on class, participants both learn and practice proper pruning techniques. The class takes place in the orchard, so wear clothing appropriate for weather. The rain/snow date is 8 March. Participants are notified if use of rain/snow date is required.

Date: Saturday, 2/27, 2-4 pm

Cost: free

Ages: 16 yrs.and up

Location: Bloomington Community Orchard, 2120 S. Highland Ave

Instructor: H. Michael Simmons, Advanced Master Gardener


Soil Health for Fruit Trees

Learn how soil health affects the growth, health, productivity, and longevity of fruit trees, soil is biologically and chemically active medium from which trees derive water and important nutrients. Assuring the health of that medium helps trees to thrive. Participants learn how to monitor, preserve, and improve the health of the soil that supports fruit trees through easy and inexpensive methods in this hands-on class. The class takes place in the orchard, so wear clothing appropriate for the weather. The rain date is 16 April. Participants are notified if use of rain date is required.

Date: Saturday, 4/9, 2-4 pm

Cost: free

Ages: 16 yrs.and up

Location: Bloomington Community Orchard, 2120 S. Highland Ave

Instructor: H. Michael Simmons, Advanced Master Gardener


Unusual Fruits

The class introduces participants to unfamiliar fruits that will grow in our area. There are many delicious, productive, and nutritious fruits that grow well in our area but that are not well known here. The class covers a variety of these fruits and offers tips on where to purchase plants and how to grow them successfully.

Date: Saturday, 3/26, 2-4 pm

Cost: free

Ages: 16 yrs.and up

Location: Bloomington Community Orchard, 2120 S. Highland Ave

Instructor: H. Michael Simmons, Advanced Master Gardener