Sunny days are here again and the buds are starting to bloom — now it’s time to go outside and get dirty. But don’t worry: You don’t have to be a horticulturalist to have your garden looking great this year.
“There’s no such thing as a brown or a black thumb,” says Christina Feile, vice president of Atlantic Nursery and Garden Shop in Freeport, which her family has run since 1929. “It’s just a green thumb that hasn’t really ripened yet.”
And there are plenty of places to go for advice and inspiration, for beginners and experienced gardeners alike. Here are some classes that can teach you the best ways to plant fruits and veggies, as well as how to care for your lawn, trees and flowers.
WHEN | WHERE 9:30 a.m. May 14 at Atlantic Nursery and Garden Shop, 250 Atlantic Ave., Freeport
INFO 516-378-7357, atlanticnursery.com
This workshop coincides with the shop’s annual “Tomato Fest,” a weekend when the nursery is stocked with more than 50 varieties, including Amish Gold, Cherokee Purple and other plants that are difficult to find. Longtime owner Sig Feile will share his tips for producing the tastiest tomatoes, whether you’re looking to use them in a succulent sauce or as toppers for terrific BLTs.
PLANTING VEGETABLES AND HERBS
WHEN | WHERE 10 a.m. May 14 at Martin Viette Nurseries, 6050 Northern Blvd., East Norwich. Call to reserve a seat.
INFO 516-922-5530, martinviette.com
As part of the nursery’s spring and summer lecture series, this class emphasizes the fun of growing your own fresh vegetables — and children are encouraged to attend. “We want kids to have healthy diets and that starts really young,” says education and marketing manager Donna Moramarco. “Science shows if they grow it, they’re more apt to eat it.” Bring a small sample of your garden soil for a free pH test; measuring acidity and alkalinity can determine what nutrients might need to be added to ensure healthy plants.
ALSO TRY Other topics include: spring lawn care (April 30), roses (May 21), container plantings (June 4), creating a beautiful landscape (June 11), hydrangeas (June 25) and crape myrtles (July 16).
ORGANIC LAWNS AND GARDENS
WHEN | WHERE 10 a.m. May 14 at Bridge Gardens, 36 Mitchell Lane, Bridgehampton. Reservations are required.
INFO 631-283-3195, ext. 19; peconiclandtrust.org
Garden manager Rick Bogusch — along with the Perfect Earth Project’s Sean O’Neill and Greener Pastures Organics president Paul Wagner — lead a discussion about moving toward a chemical-free landscape. They’ll explain proper mowing techniques, how to make compost and types of organic pest control. “There’s growing interest in this topic, especially on Long Island where water quality issues are so important,” Bogusch says. Bridge Gardens is owned by Peconic Land Trust, a nonprofit that promotes land conservation and working farms on the East End.
ALSO TRY Adults and kids are welcome to help transplant vegetable and herb seedlings at the annual Stewardship Day at Quail Hill Farm, Deep Lane, Amagansett (10 a.m. May 21; free). And don’t miss lectures on rain gardens and native plants that will take visitors through Harper Preserve in Southold ($5) and another at Bridge Gardens about the benefits of buffer gardens near wetlands ($10). Both are at 10 a.m. June 11.
GROWING FRUITS AND BERRIES
WHEN | WHERE 3 p.m. May 22 and 1 p.m. May 28 at Garden of Eve Organic Farm and Market, 4558 Sound Ave., Riverhead. Registering ahead online is recommended.
INFO 631-722-8777, gardenofevefarm.com
Expert employees will teach how to successfully grow strawberries, blackberries and more, with tips like when to prune to ensure maximum growth. You’ll get to take home your own strawberry plant, potting soil and planter, too.
ALSO TRY The farm also offers classes on how to grow your own organic vegetables and flowers at 1 p.m. May 14 and 3 p.m. May 21 ($15).