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Organic Edible Garden Series

May 19 @ 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

One event on March 31, 2019 at 1:30 pm

One event on April 14, 2019 at 1:30 pm

One event on April 28, 2019 at 1:30 pm

One event on May 5, 2019 at 1:30 pm

One event on May 19, 2019 at 1:30 pm

One event on June 30, 2019 at 1:30 pm

One event on July 14, 2019 at 1:30 pm

One event on October 20, 2019 at 1:30 pm

One event on October 27, 2019 at 1:30 pm

Whether you are brand new to vegetable gardening or you are looking for ways to increase your success, this series is for you! From seed to harvest, UT Gardens Knoxville will cover the essential steps to creating an abundant organic vegetable garden. Though the focus of this series is on vegetables, the principles also apply to annual and perennial flower gardens. This 10-part series will begin in the spring, take a break over the summer, and pick up again in the early fall so you can apply the concepts in your garden and bring your questions back to be discussed in class. Classes will include a hands-on or take-home element to be applied directly to your home garden.

Series Cost: $330/Members; $375/Nonmembers.
Register online at:

You are welcome to sign up for individual classes by contacting Holly Jones at [email protected] or (865) 974-9266.

Starting Seeds Indoors
Date: Sunday, March 17, 2019
Time: 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Starting your plants from seed gives you the power to grow all the best and brightest varieties for your garden. Join James Newburn in the greenhouse for this class on starting your own vegetable, flower, and herb seeds. You will learn about the basics of seed starting, light requirements, media selection and learn about our favorite seed resources. You will also learn about soil-blocking which reduces the expense and waste associated with container grown seedlings. Students will be given supplies and space to start a limited quantity of seeds in our state-of-the-art greenhouse.

Organic Pest and Disease Control
Date: Sunday, March 31, 2019
Time: 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
One of the biggest challenges to growing your own food is dealing with the multitude of pests and diseases that come your way. Successful organic gardeners employ a variety of methods to keep the garden healthy and productive. This class will cover crop rotation, companion planting, mechanical control, variety selection, beneficial insect management, natural insecticides, bio-fumigants and more. Lead instructor: Holly Jones

Soil Biology
Date: Sunday, April 14, 2019
Time: 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Soil Biology is the foundation of organic gardening. We’ll start with a review of the physical and chemical composition and then spend most of the time on the biological components of soil. We’ll take a closer look at the nitrogen cycle and the Soil Food Web. Once you realize that soil is a habitat for all sorts of microbes – and larger, visible creatures – you begin to understand why organic gardeners say “feed the soil, and the soil will feed your plants.” Students will take home two pounds of Red Bud Farms’ certified organic worm castings to enhance your soil food web. Lead instructor: Marsha Lehman

Style and Function in the Edible Garden
Date: Sunday, April 28, 2019
Time: 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
This class covers several topics:
1. How to collect and submit a soil sample for testing.
First things first! Before you start planting, you need a baseline of your soil and a plan for your garden. We’ll help you decide how many samples you need as well as instructions on how to collect a soil sample, complete the forms, and send it off for testing. (How to read the soil test report will be a later class.)
2. Aesthetics in designing your garden.
In the design portion, we’ll look at how to apply principles of design to vegetable production for a garden that is both beautiful and functional.
3. Year-round production.
Finally, we’ll discuss how to plan your garden for year-round production. Students can bring in a sample of soil from their home garden to the next class meeting for an agricultural laboratory soil analysis.

Transplanting and Direct Sow + Tomato Time!
Date: Sunday, May 5, 2019
Time: 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Plan before you plant! Bring your garden plans to share your ideas as well as your challenges. We’ll consider what options you might have. Then we’ll review proper planting techniques for both direct seeding as well as transplanting. We’ll spend time in the garden looking at various structural options for climbing and vining plants, as well as how covered hoops can help protect plants. Lead instructor: Marsha Lehman.
Special focus on tomatoes! We’ll focus on the beloved tomato plant and share favorite varieties as well as growing techniques. Students will take home a variety of choice tomato selections including the brand new ‘Garden Gem’ or ‘Garden Treasure’ heirloom hybrids from the University of Florida. Lead instructor: Holly Jones

Reading and Understanding Soil Test Reports
Converting from Synthetic to Organic Fertilizers
Date: Sunday, May 19, 2019
Time: 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Does your soil pass the test? We’ll review your soil test report and discuss what the different numbers mean. Is “satisfactory” good enough? We’ll also look at the recommendations for fertilizer application that are included in the report – and show you how you can convert the recommendations to organic equivalents. Lead instructor: Marsha Lehman

Fall Planting Strategy
Seed Starting for Fall Crops
Date: Sunday, June 30, 2019
Time: 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Summer is the time to start seeds for a fall garden. Some call this succession planting, others call it the second cool season. We’ll talk about why a fall garden is worthwhile as well as what edibles do well in the fall. You’ll get to start some seeds for your home garden as well as get a variety of disease resistant seed varieties and supplies to start fall crops from the UT Gardens! Lead instructor: Marsha Lehman

Cover Crops and Compost
Date: Sunday, July 14, 2019
Time: 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Never leave the soil bare. Something will grow, and it will most likely be weeds! This class will explain how you can feed the soil even when you’re not growing something for YOU to eat. We’ll discuss the many benefits of cover crops as well as where to get them and how to integrate them into the soil. We’ll also discuss the options for composting (hot, cold, worm) and then go to the garden to build a compost pile. Students will take home a sampling of UT Gardens’ favorite cover crop seeds. Lead instructor: Marsha Lehman

Grow Food Year-Round
Date: Sunday, October 20, 2019
Time: 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Learn how to stretch the growing season a bit and extend your harvest into the winter as well as to get a jump start in the spring. There’s even a history lesson, as some of these techniques have been around a long time. We’ll explain the difference between growing season and harvest season, and take a look at how length-of-day impacts the growing season. Then we’ll head to the garden to look at various options for winter crop protection. You will take home a culinary herb plant to be grown indoors for fresh herbs all winter. Lead instructor: Marsha Lehman

Sweet Success with Perennial Berries
Date: Sunday, October 27, 2019
Time: 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Learn the basics to successfully grow blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, elderberries, goumi, goji, bush cherries, aronia and arctic kiwi berries. UT Kitchen Garden manager, Holly Jones will share her experiences over the past 6 years growing these nutritious and delicious perennial fruits. We will cover pest protection strategies, fertilization and pruning. Students will be given a berry plant to take home.

Presenter Bios:

James Newburn has put his expertise toward the success of the UT Gardens since 1992. He received a B.S. in horticulture from UT. He started working for UT as a student in 1992, and became floriculture research greenhouse manager upon his graduation in 1995. James received an M.S. in Public Horticulture in 2008. After serving as the UT Gardens Curator since 1999, James is now the Assistant Director. His duties include day-to-day operations of the gardens, coordinating UT Gardens’ plant trial research and training and oversight of garden staff and student interns.

Holly Jones has been managing the production, maintenance, and display of vegetable, small fruits, herb and cut flower crops for the UT Gardens sustainable kitchen garden for the past 5 years. She studied public horticulture at the University of TN where she received a bachelors degree in Plant Sciences. She has been practicing horticulture for over 18 years in a variety of climates and landscapes.

Masha Lehman became a certified Master Gardener in 2013 and is very active in the Knox County organization. In early 2016, she was recognized as the 2015 Outstanding Master Gardener for the state of TN. She is chair of the Speakers Bureau, which has won awards at the state level (2016) and international level (2017). She is a frequent presenter as well. In addition to the Speakers Bureau, she actively advises, and volunteers in two charity gardens — which combined, provided nearly 7500 pounds of fresh produce in 2017.
Marsha’s specialty is growing edibles organically; she has filled her back yard with 34 raised beds.


May 19
1:30 pm - 4:30 pm


UT Gardens Knoxville
2518 Jacob Drive
Knoxville, TN United States
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