Summer School

The month of July is full of learning opportunities for the garden and the kitchen
Courtesy of Renfrow Farms
Local on-farm classes invite area residents to see farming operations firsthand.

Whether you're a beginning home gardener or an experienced gardener looking to branch out into new plant varieties or growing techniques, area farms and organizations offer classes to advance your knowledge. Other kitchen-oriented classes provide inspiration for making the most of your garden harvest.

July 8: Splendid Raw Food Dishes. The Mecklenburg County Cooperative Extension presents the latest installment in the Sustainable Living Series. Attendees will learn quick, easy recipes filled with fresh ingredients and nutrients. Noon to 1:30 p.m. Cost is $5. More information and registration instructions here.

July 8: Eco-Friendly Gardening: Eat Your Weeds! Learn how to turn aggravating weeds into beneficial compost from a master composter at this class offered by the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. The class also has information about which weeds contain nutritional benefits and medicinal properties. The program starts at 2 p.m. at the Scaleybark branch. More information and registration instructions here.

July 15: Eco-Friendly Gardening: Backyard Chickens. This class is a collaborative effort by the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and Mecklenburg County's Wipe Out Waste program. Learn how beneficial (and fun) backyard chickens can be. The program starts at 2 p.m. at the Scaleybark branch. More information and registration instructions here.

July 21-22: Go Forth and Multiply: Plant Propagation. Renfrow Farms in downtown Matthews holds monthly gardening classes with instructor Jeff Rieves, horticulturist and former N.C. Cooperative Extension agent. This month, the class is all about propagating plants. July 21, 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.; July 22, 10 a.m.-noon. Cost is $20 per person or $30 per couple. Children younger than 16 can attend for free with a paying adult. More information and registration instructions here.

July 22: Eco-Friendly Gardening: Productive Vegetable Gardens with Companion Planting. Another class from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library provides instruction on this organic gardening technique. Companion planting is one method to increase vegetable production without the use of commercial pesticides and fertilizers. The program starts at 2 p.m. at the Scaleybark branch. More information and registration instructions here.

July 22: Got Gardening Problems? Get Solutions! This Sustainable Living Series class shares information about common plant pests and diseases. Extension Master Gardeners show attendees how to identify problems and manage them in an environmentally friendly way. Noon to 1:30 p.m. Cost is $5. More information and registration instructions here.

July 23: Pollinators and Pests: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Mary Roberts of Windcrest Farm in Monroe invites visitors to tour the Certified Organic farm. A talk follows about the difference in pests and beneficial insects, how to identify them, and how to attract the ones you want and deal with the ones you don't. 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Cost is $15. More information and registration instructions here.

July 29: Healthy Summer Cooking. Join Chef Alyssa Gorelick at Atherton Market for an evening of fresh recipes. Participants make each recipe alongside Gorelick, eat the finished products, and take home a recipe book. The lineup for this class includes tomato-watermelon gazpacho, seared yellowfin tuna, squash and zucchini fritters, and frozen yogurt peach cups. Class starts at 6:30 p.m. Cost is $60. More information and registration instructions here

Categories: Charlotte @Home