Renfrow Farms


Successful Gardener Class Series 2019

Our gardening class instructor Jeff Rieves has prepared two amazing line-ups of classes for 2019.  If you have never had the privilege of learning from such a seasoned agrarian, do yourself a favor and come out to one (or more) of these classes. You will leave encouraged, enthusiastic, and well prepared for your next venture into the wonderful world of backyard gardening!

Fresher food is healthier food. And you can’t get any fresher than food from your own back yard. Growing your own food is easy, it doesn’t have to take up a lot of space, and it can save you money.

Join Jeff Rieves, Horticulturist & former NC Cooperative Extension agent, for a season long session in the garden. Learn all about vegetable gardening, fruit plants, food garden design, and more! Wear your walking shoes as we will be touring the Renfrow Farm & Greenhouse during most classes.

WHERE: Most classes will meet at Renfrow Farms, unless weather dictates it must be at the hardware.
Farm address: 409 W Charles St
Hardware address: 188 N Trade St

PARKING: along W Charles St or N Ames St at farm; along N Trade St or in Renfrow Hardware’s back parking lot at hardware store

WHEN: Classes are held from 6:30pm-8:30pm on the Tuesday evenings listed below, unless otherwise noted.

COST: $20/person. Buy a “Class Pack” of 10 classes for $150.00 (25% discount). Class Pack offer applies to one individual who will attend 10 total classes, and can not be shared with anyone other than a spouse if the primary individual is unable to attend. No refund available for missed classes. 

Pre-register for classes here.  (The “101-series” is up and ready for pre-purchase with the “201-series” ticket sales going live soon)


2019 Class List

Successful Gardener “101-series” Classes


January 22: Grow Your Own: Starting Plants From Seeds
Growing your own plants from seed is easy and can save you money. We’ll talk about seed selection, setting up your growing area, looking after your young plants and lots more! We’ll be at the Hardware store for this one. Register here (you will be redirected to instructor Jeff’s website

*February 9: A Cut Above: The Pruning Workshop
Pruning is one of the most important things you can do for the health of your trees. This class covers the basic types of cuts, why to make a pruning cut, and the right tools and how to maintain them. This is a SATURDAY WORKSHOP, so we’ll go down to the farm and do some pruning. Please dress for the weather! Wear gloves and bring your pruners. Register here.

March 19: The Four Season Garden I: Spring & Summer
In the NC Piedmont, you can have something growing all year. And with a little protection, you can get an early start on lots of crops. We’ll look at ways to grow food earlier in the year and have more fresh food from your garden! We’ll look at some of those ways down at the farm, so please dress for the weather. Register here. 

April 23: The Organic Gardening Primer
We’ve all heard the “o-word”, but what does it mean? Learn how to grow more fresh food using flowers, herbs, & compost. Wear your garden boots, ‘cause we’ll be at the farm. Register here.

May 14: A Garden of Flowers For Cutting 
You’ve seen all the beautiful flowers we grow at the farm. Come learn how to grow your own! Dress for the weather, since we will be at the farm. Register here.

June 11: The Living Garden: Natural Pest Management
Pollinators, predators, & parasites are all part of a healthy garden. Add all of the “critters” that live in healthy soil, and your garden is a living thing, ready to provide you with fresh healthy food. We’ll be at the farm, so dress appropriately. Register here.

July 16: The Long, Hot Summer
“It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.” Well, I hate to break it to you, but it IS the heat! Every summer is different in the NC Piedmont, but heat is a common factor every year. Learn about dealing with all those 90 degree days. We’ll be out in the heat, so dress accordingly, and bring your water bottle. Register here.

August 13: The Four Season Garden II: Fall & Winter
Fall gardens begin in the late Summer, and your winter garden might, too! Planting guides, variety selection, season extension are some of the concepts to help you grow year round in NC. Dress for the farm. Register here.

September 17: Compost 101
“Composting is something your Grandpa does.” I’m a grandparent, and I have been composting since the 1970’s. I can tell you that nothing helps a garden more than the addition of compost. It’s easy, simple, and worth doing, things that don’t always go together. Join us to learn the single best thing you can do for your garden. You’ll get dirty doing it, so dress accordingly. Register here.

October 15: Fruits & Nuts & Berries For Your Backyard
When I was a kid, we always asked Santa for “ fruits & nuts & candy”, because they were so seasonal in availability. With some planning and preparation, they don’t have to be at your house, not anymore. And you don’t need acres and acres to provide a lot of healthy food, either. We’ll talk about site selection, “best” varieties, planting, maintenance, and harvest of all this good food. Since we will be at the farm, dress appropriately. Register here.

Successful Gardener “201-Series” Classes

(Website will be updated soon when these classes are available for early registration)

January 29: Home Propagation: Hardwood Cuttings
There are a lot of ways to grow plants, and taking cuttings (pieces of the plant cut away from the parent plant) is one of the best ways to learn propagation. There are several fruit plants that grow well from last year’s growth. Learn the “who/what/when/where/why” of taking hardwood cuttings. Dress for the farm.*

February 12: Home Propagation: Grafting workshop
Grafting is one of the more difficult methods of propagation. Removing living tissue from one plant and adding it to another, This is a great skill for any gardener. This workshop has limited seating, and will have an additional materials charge. Dress for the farm*, but we will be inside some, too.

March 26: Backyard Beekeeping
Honeybees are a delight to watch at work, and are vital to our food system. We’ll go over the basics of beekeeping, including going into the hives if weather permits. This is another workshop with limited “seating” and a materials charge. If you are allergic to bee stings, bring an epi-pen and an OK from your doctor. Long sleeves and long pants are suggested. Fragrances can upset the bees, so please refrain from their use.

April 30: Home Propagation: Seed Saving
There are dozens of old vegetable varieties and fruit cultivars available to us. We can take a handful of seeds and in a few years have enough seed to share and plant many times over. There are some very simple things to do to save a good variety, and have some to plant & share next year. Dress for the farm*.

May 21: Organic Gardening 201
The follow up to the OG Primer, this class takes you deeper into how organics works in the garden. The OG Primer is a prerequisite for this class. Dress for the farm.*

June 18: Flower Arranging 
Our class on growing flowers for cuts is a prerequisite for this class. This workshop has limited seating and a materials charge, so this session’s price will differ from all the rest. Exact cost TBD. Dress for the farm.*

July 23: What’s Eating My Plants?!?
This class on diagnostics will help you identify all the pests and pathogens in your garden. Our class on The Living Garden is a prerequisite for this course. Dress for the farm.*

August 20: Home Propagation: Softwood Cuttings
Softwood cuttings are taken from the current year’s growth of a plant. Being much more tender, they are more complicated to “grow on”. This workshop has limited seating and an additional materials charge. While Hardwood cuttings class is not a prerequisite, the experience might be helpful. Dress for the farm.*

September 24: Compost 201*
As I say in 101, “Compost happens.” But there are some things we can do to improve the quality of our compost, or maybe make compost faster. “Compost 101” is a prerequisite for this course. Dress for the farm.*

October 22: Home Propagation: Division
One of the simplest methods of propagation, root division can be done anytime a plant is dormant. This is a messy class, so be sure to dress for soil and mud. This class may be limited by how much plant material we have on hand.

*Dress for the Farm means sturdy, closed toe shoes, long pants, short/blouse for the weather, and a hat or head wrap. Sunscreen may be appropriate seasonally, as will a good water bottle. Gloves are usually a good idea, too.

Jeff’s Bio:

Jeff Rieves works as an independent educator, consultant, and writer, working to rebuild the Local Food culture. He consults with individuals and businesses, helping home gardeners, small farms and food businesses. Jeff blogs about growing good food, practicing Yoga, and Living an Intentional Life at

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