Spring Gardening days


Dig In! Spring Gardening Series

  • Friday, April 5, 2024, 5:00 PM - 7:30 PM
  • Friday, April 12, 2024, 5:00 PM - 7:30 PM
  • Friday, April 19, 2024, 5:00 PM - 7:30 PM
  • Friday, April 26, 2024, 5:00 PM - 7:30 PM

The Master Gardener Volunteers of Cornell Cooperative Extension are delighted to announce "Dig In! Spring Gardening Series," a seasonal series of classes designed to equip participants with the fundamental skills and knowledge necessary for success in nearly any type of garden. These classes will be held from 5 pm to 7:30 pm every Friday throughout the month of April, with programming in both Columbia and Greene Counties. Participants can pay $30 for the whole series, or $10 for a single class. We're excited to offer this series as a more intimate alternative to our renowned Spring Gardening Days event. Each class will be preceded by a one-hour community event, featuring activities such as seed swapping, equipment swapping, book sales, and more. Attendees can also look forward to giveaways and raffles, including the chance to win a beautifully crafted terrarium made during the Terrarium Gardening class.

Table of Contents

How to Register


Class Descriptions

Meet the Master Gardeners

How to Register


Date Location Time of Teaser Time of Workshop Teaser Title of Workshop Presenter
4/5/2024 Extension Education Center, Hudson 5 - 6 pm 6 - 7:30 pm Seed Swap Seed Starting Mary Ann Iaccino
4/5/2024 Agroforestry Resource Center, Acra 5 - 6 pm 6 - 7:30 pm Seed Swap Seed Starting TBA
4/12/2024 Extension Education Center, Hudson 5 - 6 pm 6 - 7:30 pm Equipment Swap Vegetable Gardening Frieda Pearce
4/12/2024 Agroforestry Resource Center, Acra 5 - 6 pm 6 - 7:30 pm Equipment Swap Vegetable Gardening Pat Esposita
4/19/2024 Extension Education Center, Hudson 5 - 6 pm 6 - 7:30 pm Plant Propagation Buffet Terrariums Linda Levitt
4/19/2024 Agroforestry Resource Center, Acra 5 - 6 pm 6 - 7:30 pm Book Sale & Floral Arrangement Demo Cut Flower Garden Dorian Hyland
4/26/2024 Extension Education Center, Hudson 5 - 6 pm 6 - 7:30 pm Book Sale & Floral Arrangement Demo Cut Flower Garden Maureen Mooney
4/26/2024 Agroforestry Resource Center, Acra 5 - 6 pm 6 - 7:30 pm Plant Propagation Buffet Terrariums Linda Levitt

Class Descriptions

Starting Seeds (4/5 at Both Locations)We will be kicking off this event with a seed swap – please see below for guidelines

This hands-on workshop will teach home gardeners to not only save money but also grow a greater variety of plants for their gardens by starting seeds indoors. Topics covered will include techniques for starting seeds indoors, proper care, lighting and watering, and how to prepare your seedlings for transplant into your garden.

Seed Swap Guidelines

  • Please bring viable seeds, in an envelope, zip top bag, or original seed package, etc. We will have envelopes available to take seeds home in.
  • Please Label your seeds , we recommend copying the label of seed packs, if saved seeds (At a minimum, each variety should have a notecard listing the name, type of plant, season collected, if open pollinated and source of the seed. Labels are even more useful if they also include information about the growing conditions, appearance, and flavor.)
  • Please bring only viable seeds . Below is a list of seeds and how many seasons they are viable:
  • 1 year: onions, parsnips, parsley, spinach, Anemone, Aster, Begonia’ Chives, Coneflower, Coreopsis, Delphinium, Larkspur, Nigella, Pansy, Phlox, Salvia, Vinca, Viola
  • 2 years: corn, peas, beans, chives, okra, dandelion, Ageratum, Baby’s breath, Candytuft, Clarkia, Columbine, Coreopsis, Cyclamen, Dahlia, Dusty miller, Four o’clock, Foxglove, Gaillardia, Impatiens, Lisanthus, Lupin, Marigold, Nicotiana, Penstemon, Petunia, Portulaca, Rue, Statice, Strawflower, Tithonia
  • 3 years: carrots, leeks, asparagus, turnips, rutabagas, Achillea, African daisy, Alyssum, Amaranth, Anise, Bachelor Button, Calendula, Campanula, Caraway, Cosmos, Dianthus, Didiscus, Dill, Fennel, Hollyhock, Lobelia, Marigold, Marjoram, Poppy, Sage, Savory, Scabiosa,Shasta daisy, Snapdragon, Stock, Sweet pea, Sunflower, Thyme, Verbena
  • 4 years: peppers, chard, pumpkins, squash, watermelons, basil, artichokes, cardoons, Centaurea, Celosia, Lavatera, Morning glory, Nasturtium, Sweet alyssum
  • 5 years: most brassicas, beets, tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, muskmelons, celery, celeriac, lettuce, endive, chicory, Basil Borage Carnation Catnip Chrysanthemum, Cilantro, Hollyhock, Lavendar, Lemon Balm, Oregano, Zinnia
  • How many seeds to bring. Those new to seed saving and seed swaps might want some suggestions on how much seed should be exchanged. You want to take at least the minimum number of seed necessary to meet your home garden needs but at the same time you want to leave plenty of seed for other participants to try. Some general suggestions are to share larger quantities of smaller seeds and smaller quantities of larger seeds. For most home gardeners 12-20 tomato or pepper seeds, 20-25 bean or pea seeds, and 25-50 flower or herb seeds should more than suffice.
  • If you want to take more seeds then you brought (or didn’t bring any seeds), we suggest a 0.50 donation for each pack you take.

Vegetable Gardening (4/12 at Both Locations)We will be kicking off this event with an equipment swap and shop – please see below for guidelines Want to grow tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, beans, lettuce, garlic, and much more but don’t know where to start? This class will give you the helpful information you need for a successful garden. Topics will include how to plan your site, how to select your plants, planting techniques, how to care for what you have planted including how to manage weeds, pests and diseases and much more.

Swap and Shop Guidelines

  • Bring a useful, clean, and in-tact gardening item(s) to the Extension Office in Hudson or Acra prior to the class (during the month of March) OR bring with you on the day of the event. You may bring more than one item – several will also be accepted and appreciated.
  • SWAP: You may swap your item for one or more items that interest you from the available items.
  • SHOP: Don’t have an item to donate – but see something you would really like? – OKAY! You may SHOP and take it – perhaps you want to leave a donation of a modest amount (a money jar will be available) OR please make yourself feel fulfilled by taking the item(s) and giving them a good home!
  • DONATE: Perhaps you are all full with items – and do not intend to take swap your gardening item – or see one you would want! You may just leave the item(s) with us at the Extension Office as a donation!
  • ITEM Suggestions: The incomplete list includes: planters, lawn decorations, tools, watering cans, string, wooden trellis’, gloves, markers, lawn signs, etc. etc. etc.
  • PROHIBITED ITEMS: NO plants, bushes, soil, bulbs, or live elements are permitted! Why? Because of noxious worms, contaminations, and other vermin that we cannot pass along. No Exceptions!
  • CONDITION: ALL items must be in good, in-tact, and working condition – just as you would want! Please clean and dry all items BEFORE bringing them for a donation; otherwise, we cannot accept them.
  • Questions: Please e-mail Abbey Cash at abbeybcash@gmail.com or Xandra Powers at Xandra.powers@Cornell.edu

Terrarium Gardening (4/19 at Hudson, 4/26 at Acra) We will be kicking off this event with a plant propagation buffet – take home a houseplant cutting to start your next terrarium. First come first served. A terrarium is a small green space that is created in a transparent container consisting of various plants and other materials. Completed terrariums can be used to brighten up your décor or as a gift for someone special. This presentation will demonstrate how to properly plant a terrarium, suggest materials, tools, containers and design.

*This class includes the opportunity for one lucky participant to take home the terrarium we make during the demonstration.

The Cutting Garden (4/19 at Acra, 4/26 at Hudson) We will be kicking off this event with a used book sale – buy used gardening books and magazines for a suggested donation. Have you had fantasies of having huge and colorful flower bouquets in every room of your home? You can create a separate low maintenance garden that will provide you with beautiful blooms from spring to the first frost. Come learn about some of the best and most popular annuals and perennials to grow. You will learn about site selection, growing requirements and resources.

Meet The Master Gardeners!

Mary Ann Iaccino: Seed Starting Growing up on a family-owned and operated fruit farm, working side by side with her parents and family makes gardening ingrained in Mary Ann. She will never get tired of saying, “Yes, I grew that!” Gardening has always been something she loves to do and talk about. Mary Ann also enjoys gaining knowledge and making friends who share a passion for gardening. Before moving to Columbia County in 2005, she became a Master Gardener Volunteer in the 1990s when she lived in Dutchess County. Mary Ann received her instruction from Darryl David in Ulster County with the first MGV group established there. Mary Ann has a background in secondary science education and in business, is semi-retired, and only wishes there were two growing seasons here. Her favorite quote sums it up: “To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.” -Gandhi

Frieda Pearce: Vegetable Gardening Frieda Pearce is a Master Gardener through CCE Columbia-Greene. As her undergraduate minor was botany, she has always been interested in flora, however, her exposure centered around tropical and subtropical species. After a career in research and teaching, she has now reverted to discovering North American habitat, its species, and their maintenance. She has developed a passion for vegetable gardening, growing trees and natives, and trying to manage their viability without the use of pesticides and repellents. She divides her efforts between Columbia County and Riverside Park in New York. 

Patricia Esposita: Vegetable Gardening Patricia was born and raised in Greene County. Her Dad was a chicken farmer and they had 2000 laying hens. She helped collect and deliver eggs. Girl Scouts and 4H were Patricia’s after school activities growing up as well as a large garden of vegetables that they would exhibit at the youth fair. Sewing, especially quilting has always been a passion.

Patricia and her husband have 2 children (boy and girl) and 2 grandchildren (ditto). When she retired from business, part-time gardening jobs as well as volunteering with Hospice and meals on wheels filled her days.

Patricia’s best friend suggested they take the Master Gardener class in 2014, and they have been having a lot of fun ever since. Environmental and ecological issues are very dear to her heart. Being a master gardener enriched Patricia’s life immensely. It has been her pleasure to be of service to Columbia Greene Cooperative Extension.

Linda Levitt: Terrarium Gardening

Linda is not a stranger to this area. Many family members owned property here in Copake and Craryville as far back as the 1930’s. She spent many hours here visiting her Grandparents and extended family.

She moved to Copake full-time in December 2014, after retiring from the insurance industry. She owned her own insurance agency for 30 years with a specialty in employee benefits.

She always loved gardening and in 2014 she became a Master Gardener Volunteer. She has since earned an advanced certification in horticulture and landscape design from Berkshire Community College and Berkshire Botanical Garden. She sits on the Board of Directors of the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia and Greene counties. She volunteers as a docent at the Berkshire Botanical Garden in Stockbridge, MA. She is also a member of the Germantown Garden Club. She has designed containers and gardens for clients here in the Hudson Valley.

Maureen Mooney: The Cutting Garden
A Master Gardener for 12 years, Maureen has had a passion for growing vegetables/herbs and flowers since childhood. A retired nurse, she loves to grow and dry flowers for bouquets or wreaths to share with others. She grows her veggies and flowers organically and year-round. There is always something to harvest.

"Natasha Strickland: Seed Starting

Natasha fell in love with growing vegetables as a child, she has been farming, growing vegetables and herbs for the last 10 plus years. She is also the Operations Co-Director of a 180 acre community farm and healing village, a herbalist and a Environmental Justice program director where she teaches teenagers how to farm, heal the soil, compost and run a greenhouse."

"Dorian Hyland: The Cutting Garden

A Master Gardener for over ten years, Dorian has developed a passion for restoration of native plants, shrubs, grasses and sedges to the diverse Hudson Valley landscape, as well as rehabilitating the woods behind her home. She also enjoys growing vegetables, flowers for cutting and drying. and medicinals which she tinctures."


Xandra Powers
Community Horticulture Coordinator
518-828-3346 x106

Last updated April 1, 2024