Community Garden Development Training

This series of classes (CGDT) begins in November and runs through the winter to get you ready for next spring.

Participants in CGDT classes must complete and submit an application. For the list of the CGTD classes click here.


Master Composting Series

This series of classes and field trips is designed to give you a greater knowledge of what it truly takes to sucessfully compost yard and kitchen waste.  There’s a science to it! For details see more info in our MARCH class listings.


Intro to Living Green Series

Want to learn to be a “greener” you by making your home, garden and products more organic and natural?  Delve into this series and see what you can easily accomplish to green up you life.  Classes offered in February, March, April, May, and June.  There will be additional classes scheduled for the remainder of the year – stay tuned and see classes listed below.

Civic Forester Series

Spring is a great time to plant trees.  Explore a wide range of trees, their uses in the landscape and how to plant and maintain them in this three part class series designed to cultivate civic-minded tree stewards. The Civic Forester Series is presented in partnership with Taking Root, a regional campaign for reforestation. The three week series is $30 and offered in March.

Professional Development Series**

Whether you’re a green industry professional seeking CEUs or an individual interested in learning more about sustainable architecture and reducing human impact on the environment, this series is for you! This set of classes will focus on The Living Building Challenge (LBC) – one of the newest green building rating systems. The LBC is a building certification program, advocacy tool, and philosophy that defines the most advanced measure of sustainability in the built environment possible today. A variety of experienced live instructors will provide engaging presentations related to the seven performance categories of the LBC known as Petals: Place, Water, Energy, Health & Happiness, Materials, Equity and Beauty. Classes begin in April and will be hosted every other month in 2015. Stay tuned for postings and register for individual sessions listed below.

** after title indicates a class in this series



Homegrown Tomatoes

Thursday, March 5, 6:00-8:00pm
Instructor:  Jerry Luebbe, President – Cincinnati Heirloom Open Pollinated Tomato Associate Growers (CHOPTAG)
Cost:  $10 (free for CGC volunteers)

A guide for the tomato gardener in the quest for the perfect tomato and the beginner tomato gardener just getting started. Grow varieties with superior flavor and color that you can’t find at the grocery store. Topics will include origin & history, soil fertility, seed and plant variety selection, growing & harvesting, pests, saving seeds, starting plants from seeds, seed and plant suppliers. Click here to register.


Schoolyard Garden Development Training

Saturday, March 7, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Instructors: Mary Dudley, Youth Education Coordinator and Sam Dunlap, School Gardens Coordinator
Cost: Free. Please register by calling 221-0981 x 11

This training is for teachers, parents, and community members who wish to start a schoolyard garden. The training is a full day of learning a design process for a socially and ecologically diverse garden. We share ideas and examples from other schools, teach basic gardening and composting skills, and model gardening lessons you can use in the classroom.  After participating in the training you are enrolled in our Schoolyard Garden Network, which means you have access to free seeds in the spring time, Civic Garden Center volunteers, consultations from our staff, and plant or material donations.


Civic Forester Series

Tree Selection and Identification

Monday March 9, 2015 6:00-8:00 pm
Instructor: Scott Beuerlein, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

Trees play a variety of roles in our community, and different trees are suited for very different contexts, environmental conditions and community preferences. Learn how to select a site for a new tree planting and evaluate it to determine what tree species would be successful there. An extensive overview of trees well suited to our region and diverse planting sites.  Click here to register.

Tree Planting and Maintenance

Monday March 16, 2015, 6:00-8:00 pm
Instructor: Bennett Dowling, CGC Horticulturist

A tree’s success in life has a lot to do with how it is planted and cared for. Learn best practices in tree planting to ensure your investment of time and resources will result in a healthy tree. Bennett’s crash course in tree maintenance – pruning, watering, mulching, establishment period, periodic pruning, upkeep & health assessment will give you the knowledge and skills you need to keep your trees going strong and help you evaluate when it is time to consult an arborist.

Trees in our Communities

Monday March 23, 2015, 6:00-8:00 pm
Instructors: an assortment of horticulturists from regional institutions

This final class in the Civic Forester series explores the many avenues for tree planting, care, and awareness in the com-munity. An assortment of regional horticultural specialists will discuss the Taking Root regional tree planting campaign and efforts to establish neighborhood and school arboreta, as well as efforts to raise awareness of trees of importance in our communities. Case studies will explore successful programs in neighboring regions and how they can be applied and improved in the Tri-State. Civic Forester students will learn how to apply all their knowledge toward improving the urban forest.

To register for the Civic Forester Series click here.

Master Composter Series

Prerequisite: Successful passage of pre-test (knowledge available during one of Civic Garden Center’s Basic Composting classes or Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District class)
Cost: $30 per participant
Class size is limited. Registration is required.

Calling all garden gurus and environmental enthusiasts! Ready to get down and dirty? Enroll in our intensive Master Composter Training. You’ll learn the details of soil science, a variety of composting methods, and how to share your knowledge with our local community. 10 hours of classroom instruction will be complemented by 10 hours of field study, exposing participants to the vast wealth of composting resources in our area. Certificates will be awarded upon completion of 30 volunteer hours working in community gardens and education programs. Don’t miss your chance to join this unique opportunity. Spaces are limited and interested participants must submit proof of basic composting knowledge via a pre-test before they are considered for enrollment.  Click here for pre-test.

Classroom Instruction: March 10, March 17, March 24, and March 31 from 6:00-8:30 pm

Field Study Tours: March 14, March 21, March 28, and April 4 from 10:00 am-12:30 pm at various locations in the region

Click here to register.


Botany for Vegetable Gardeners (CGDT)

Wed., Mar. 11, 6-8:30pm
Cost: $10 (free for volunteers)
Instructors: Mary Dudley Youth Education Coordinator and Greg Potter
Basic Botany:  Learn the environmental conditions needed for healthy plant growth, the function of roots, stems and leaves, and a basic understanding of photosynthesis and respiration. Click here to register.


Living Green Series:  DIY for home & health / Planning Your Healing Garden

Due to weather conditions on 2/18/15 these two classes have been combined – two for the price of one!

Thursday, March 12, 6:00-8:00 pm
Instructor: Carisa Hund-Bunten, Owner of Seventh Street Gifts, Newport, KY
Cost: $10 (free for CGC volunteers)

Did you ever wonder if your favorite products are really good for you and the environment?  Do they contain a lot of extra ingredients or fragrances you may not need or even like? The focus of this series of classes is to increase understanding of how commonly used ingredients work and learning to make similar but “greener” versions. You will gain the confidence to make up recipes based on your specific needs or taste; learn what natural ingredients work for best for certain conditions ; and then how to plant, harvest and store ingredients from your own “healing garden”.


Now that you are ready to enhance your body, home and environment, start by learning what to plant!  Cari and Bennett will provide names of plants (many will be available at our Spring Plant Sale) and tips on growing them to ensure a successful harvest of ingredients for making the soaps, lotions, scrubs, teas and infusions you will learn about in subsequent classes in this series. Click here to register.


Fruit Trees for our Region

Saturday, March 14, 10:00 am -12:30 pm
Instructor: Dave Koester, Campbell County Extension
Cost: $10 (free for CGC volunteers)
To grow successful fruit trees it helps to start with plants that are the right size for your site and are disease resistant. Take home ideas for fruit tree varieties that are well adapted to our region and will provide the best opportunity for harvesting quality fruit in your own backyard. We will also discuss the best Rootstocks for our region. Learn what you need to do to keep them healthy and disease-free, including shaping and annual pruning. This class will include a classroom presentation and an outdoor pruning demonstration.  Click here to register.


Backyard Composting Methods

Saturday, March 14, 2015, 1:00-3:00 pm
Cost: $10 (free for CGC volunteers)

Explore a variety of outdoor composting systems and discuss the pros and cons of various bins and tools. Learn best practices in maintenance strategies to achieve your composting goals. This class covers basic composting techniques, explores different ways to compost in place and how to use compost in the garden. Click here to register.


Building Healthy Soils

Wednesday, March 18, 6:00-8:00 pm
Instructor: Holly Utrata-Halcomb, Hamilton County Soil & Water Conservation District
Cost: $10 (free for CGC volunteers)

This class will provide an introduction to basic soil science and discuss the importance of conserving and cultivating a biologically active soil to grow healthy fruits, vegetables and perennials. The seasonal cycle of soil as well as composting, green manure and cover crops will be reviewed as part of a strategy to build fertile soil. Soil testing available: Bring a soil sample to class (request a soil sample direction kit first from and we will ship it for you. There will be a follow up session on April 8 with Holly to review your test results and to make recommendations for soil amendments. The cost of the soil test for Hamilton County residents is $5 per test, for gardeners living outside of Hamilton County the fee is $12 per test.  Click here to register.


Introduction to Organic Land Care For the Home

Thursday, March 26, 6:00-8:00pm
Instructors: John Hemmerle, Owner + Designer of Our Land Organics, LLC. & Jodi Westfall, Nurse Practitioner, Huber Personalized Medicine
Cost: $10 (free for CGC volunteers)
Did you know the average homeowner uses 10 times more chemical fertilizer and pesticides per acre than conventional farmers use on farmland? Not only is this financially and environmentally costly, it is also completely unnecessary. Join John Hemmerle, owner and designer for Our Land Organics as he explores the principles of organic land care and how to apply them to your own yard and garden. In addition Jodi Westfall of Huber Personalized Medicine will bring her years of experience in the medical field to discuss the health benefits that nutrient dense and chemical free food have on our bodies. Come join us in an exciting evening discussing key aspects to having a healthy yard and body in our modern world.  Click here to register.


How to Build and Use a Rain Barrel  

Saturday, March 28, 1:30-3:00 pm
Instructor: Jerome Wigner, CGC Volunteer
Cost: $10 (free for CGC volunteers)

FREE WATER for your plants! A rain barrel is a great way to help reduce storm water runoff and save a little money spent on summer watering. Take home tips to help you install and maintain a barrel at your home. Click here to register.



Living Green Series: Green your Spring Cleaning

Thursday, April 2, 6:00-8:00 pm
Instructor: Carisa Hund-Bunten, Owner of 7th Street Gifts, Newport, KY
Cost: $15 per participant, registration is required

Learn how to take the chemicals out of your cleaning routine this spring by replacing them with natural products that work. In this hands-on workshop, each participant will make and take green cleaning supplies including spray cleaner, furniture polish and dry laundry detergent. You’ll leave with the knowledge and practice to make refills at home using high quality oils, waxes and essential oils. Click here to register.


Construction Techniques for the Gardener (CGDT)

Saturday, April 4, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Cost: $10 (free for CGC volunteers)
Instructor: Greg Potter, Community Gardens Coordinator

Garden construction fundamentals – learn to build raised beds, paths, compost bins, cold frames and simple trellis forms. Alternative building materials for these features will also be addressed. Click here to register.


Identifying and Removing Invasive Plants:  a hands-on workshop

Saturday, April 11, 10:00 – 11:30 am
Instructor:  Bennett O. Dowling, CGC Horticulturist
Cost:  $10 (free for CGC volunteers)

Our region is plagued by many invasive plants and the Civic Garden Center grounds are no exception.  A presentation of different invasive plants and thier effects on local ecology will be followed by a walk on the grounds to view these criminals in action.  Different removal and control methods will be discussed.  Click here to register.


History of Hauck’s Sooty Acres: talk and tour

Saturday, April 11, 1:00-2:00 pm
Guide: Bennett O. Dowling, CGC Horticulturist
Cost: $10 (free for CGC volunteers)

When gardening enthusiast Cornelius J. Hauck landscaped this property in the first half of the 20th century, he named it Sooty Acres in reference to the smoggy air of this urban site.  Despite all the challenges of city living, many of his original specimen trees and shrubs thrive.  Learn about the history of the gardens and some of the interesting heritage trees on the grounds, such as a rare oak, and other specimens you do not commonly see in our region. During this spring tour, enjoy the many flowering trees that adorn the gardens. Click here to register.


Edible Ornamentals

Tuesday, April 14, 6:00-8:00 pm
Instructor:  Sue Trusty, Horticulturist
Cost: $10 (free for CGC volunteers)

Today’s gardeners want more than an attractive landscape – they want it to fulfill multiple functions. What better way to tap into this trend than to include plants the please the eye, the nose, and the taste buds? Sue will offer a variety of options for adding edible trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants to your plant palette.  Click here to register.


Introduction to the Living Building Challenge 3.0**

Friday, April 17, 2015, 11:30 am-1:00 pm
Instructor: David Hart, LEED AP BD+C, Tremco, Inc.
Cost: $20 (includes lunch)
Credits: Approved for 1 AIA LU and 1 GBCI CE Credit

Join us for an introduction to one of the newest green building rating systems, the Living Building Challenge (LBC). The LBC is a building certification program, advocacy tool and philosophy that defines the most advanced measure of sustainability in the built environment possible today. This course will discuss the origins, values, and intents of the LBC rating system, and dissect the criteria and imperatives, as well as the certification process. We will also compare it to other green building rating systems, including USGBC’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED). Taught by an experienced live instructor, this engaging presentation concludes with an in-depth look at real-life examples and case studies.  Click here to register.


Family Class:  Natural Egg Dying

Saturday, April 18, 10:30 am-noon
Class size is limited. Registration is required.
Instructor:  Mary Dudley, Youth Education Coordinator
Cost: $5 per participant

Welcome the spring season with a fun twist on dying eggs!  We will use natural materialsto make earthy hues on eggs and design a little nest to carry them home.  Click here to register. 

Gardening With Deer

Wednesday, April 22, 6:00-8:00 pm
Instructor: Michelle Andersen, Flourish Landscape and Interior Design
Cost: $10 (free for CGC volunteers)
In this educational look at gardening WITH deer, participants will learn the ins and outs of how to peacefully garden without repellants, and love the deer again. Get ready to learn more about the behavior of our region’s most beautiful garden pest and put that new understanding to work towards designing landscapes that deer won’t eat. Specific attention will be given to deer proof ornamental plant selections and strategies for keeping deer out of vegetable gardens.  Click here to register.


Living Green Series:  Soap Making for Mom

Thursday, May 7, 6:00-8:00 pm
Instructor: Carisa Hund-Bunten, Owner of 7th Street Gifts, Newport, KY
Cost:  $15 per participant, ages 10 and up, registration is required

Just in time for Mother’s Day: make a natural gift that mom is sure to love. Participants will make two customized soaps using goat’s milk and/or vegetable glycerin bases. Essential and fragrance oils, botanicals and natural additives will be available to create soaps perfect for gift giving! Everyday kitchen materials will be turned into useful and practical soap molds. Participants will leave with their handmade soaps, recipes and ability to continue the fun at home. Click here to register.


Project Learning Tree Educator Workshop

May 9, 2015, 8:30am – 6:00pm
Cost:  $25 per participant

  • PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide with 96 activities that are aligned with ELA & Mathematics Common Core State Standards
  • Eligible for Green Works grants worth up to $5000

For additional information call 513.221.0981 to speak with Mary Dudley. Click here to register.

Project Learning Tree (PLT) is an award-winning, interdisciplinary environmental education program featuring classroom-proven, hands-on learning activities for youth. The curriculum can enhance your programs for youth in classrooms, camps, and community events. The material has links to technology, reading connections, differentiated instruction, and outdoor explorations.


Family Class:  Teas & Tonics

Saturday, May 16, 10:30-noon
Class size is limited. Registration is required.
Instructor: Mary Dudley, Youth Education Coordinator
Cost: $5 per participant

Tea has a rich, ancient culture tht comes from both western and eastern traditions.  Learn how to grow, create and serve tea during this fun program. Click here to register.


Fabulous Containers: Edible and Ornamental

Tuesday, May 19, 6:00-8:00 pm
Instructors: Bennett O. Dowling, CGC Horticulturist
Cost: $10 (free for CGC volunteers)

Are you interested in gardening but lack a yard? There are plenty of plants you can grow in containers… on a roof, balcony, stoop or even indoors. Learn the basics of keeping container plantings healthy and fresh throughout the seasons. We will dive into how to design both ornamental and edible containers for visual, olfactory and taste appeal. Click here to register.


Choosing Plants for the Permaculture Garden

Thursday, June 4, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Instructor: Amy Stross, Chief Home Officer at & John Hemmerle, Owner + Designer of Our Land Organics, LLC
Cost: $10 (free for CGC volunteers)
In permaculture, plants are chosen for their usefulness and their ability to perform multiple functions. For example, create an edible privacy hedge, or under-plant your fruit trees with herbs that increase their productivity and reduce their susceptibility to pests. Discover the plant selections that can help you create a productive, low-maintenance, and ecologically-friendly garden.  Click here to register.


Garden Basics: Keeping your garden looking great all summer

Monday, June 8, 6:00-8:00 pm
Instructor: Bennett O. Dowling, CGC Horticulturist
Cost: $10 (free for CGC Volunteers)

The work you do in the garden all summer not only contributes to its beauty, but also can be pivotal in ensuring the health of your plants. This class covers watering and water conservation measures, pruning, feeding, common pest and disease issues, and other seasonally appropriate topics. Click here to register.


Living Green Series: Summer Organic Skincare

Tuesday, June 9th, 6:00-8:00 pm
Instructor: Carisa Hund-Bunten, Owner of 7th Street Gifts, Newport, KY
Cost: $20 per participant, registration is required
Summer sun and activities really take their toll on hair, hands, and feet. Learn natural ways for looking your best with help from your garden. Discover simple cures for bee stings and sunburn, as well as keeping those feet sandal-ready. Cari will share some of her favorite recipes to help you breeze right through the season. Participants will take home a “kit” for summer skin-care. Click here to register.


The Materials Petal: Rationale and Strategies for Creating a Healthy, Low-Impact Built Environment**

Friday, June 12, 2015, 11:30 am-1:00 pm
Instructor: David Whittaker, ASLA, LEED AP, and Living Future Accredited with Human Nature, Inc., Cincinnati, OH
Cost: $20 (includes lunch)
Credits: Approved for 1 AIA LU and 1 GBCI CE Credit

Join us for an in-depth overview of the Materials Petal, one of the seven regenerative categories (or Petals) that define the Living Building Challenge (LBC). This course will discuss the intent and rationale behind the Materials Petal and illustrate how the LBC can help us generate places that minimize or eliminate toxins, reduce material usage, maximize reuse, and support a regenerative economy. This informative and inspirational presentation will include an in-depth look at real-life examples and case studies. Click here to register.

Get the Most out of your Tomato Plants

Tuesday, June 16, 6:00-8:00 pm
Instructor: Jerry Luebbe, President – Cincinnati Heirloom Open Pollinated Tomato Associate Growers (CHOPTAG)
Cost: $10 (free for CGC volunteers)

Help your tomato plants not just survive but thrive throughout the growing season. Learn how to prevent or deal with common pests, diseases and other pitfalls of tomato cultivation to maximize your plants’ yield and the flavor of their fruit. Click here to register.


Family Class:  Flower Friends

Saturday, June 20, 2015, 10:30-noon
We love to eat straight from the garden in the summer and so do some of our favorite insects.  Munch your way through the garden and discover what bugs help our garden grow. Click here to register.


Family Class:  Solar Cooking

Saturday, July 18, 2015, 10:30-noon
Have you ever tasted sunshine?  Join us for a funfilled day of solar oven construction and experimental cooking using energy from the sun. Click here to register.



Abundant Tomatoes: Taste Test, Save Seeds, Keep Plants Healthy

Tuesday, August 11, 6:00-8:30 pm
Instructor: Jerry Luebbe, President – Cincinnati Heirloom Open Pollinated Tomato Associate Growers (CHOPTAG)
Cost: $10 (free for CGC volunteers)

Join us for a tomato taste test in the height of the season to sample a wide variety of heirloom tomatoes. Pick up ideas for which varieties to grow next year and how to use them in your kitchen. Learn the art of tomato seed saving so you can pass on your own heirloom seeds. Take home strategies for keeping your plants growing strong into the fall. Click here to register.


Family Class:  Cosmic Compost

Saturday, August 15, 2015, 10:30-noon
Amazing adventures lie just below the soil!  Join us as we learn the secret lives of worms and how we can make “black gold” for the garden from composting our kitchen scraps. Click here to register.


Saving Seeds

Tuesday, September 8, 6:00–8:00 pm
Instructor:  Sue Trusty, Horticulturist
Cost: $10 (free for CGC Volunteers)

Collecting seed from plants can be exciting, economical and is essential for preserving genetic diversity of plants.  Through discussion and demonstration, find out how to collect and store seed from annuals, perennials and woody plants; learn the best references to use in determining collection techniques; discover the difference between hybrids and open-pollinated plants. Click here to register.


Family Class:  Fairy Houses & Gnome Homes

Saturday, September 19, 2015, 10:30-noon
Let your imagination soar as you collect curious garden objects and construct a place for magical fairies and gnomes to live.  We will provide some craft supplies and natural objects.  Participants are encouraged to bring additional items from home to enhance their projects! Click here to register.