Image of vegetables.

2022 MSU Tollgate Farm HomeGrown Gardening Series

Second Saturdays, 10 - 11 a.m. ET
Join us for this interactive virtual and hybrid series on home vegetable gardening.
Are you interested in starting a vegetable garden for the first time or are you an experienced veggie gardener looking to explore new ideas? All levels of experience are welcome at this series designed to encourage and support home vegetable gardeners!

Feb. 12 - Healthy Soils for the Backyard Garden - MSU Extension Sustainable Agriculture Instructor Darby Anderson 

Did you know every teaspoon of soil is home to billions of microorganisms, and all of them play an essential role in your soil's health? Join MSU Tollgate's Sustainable Agriculture Instructor Darby Anderson as we explore the inner workings of what goes into healthy soil. Together we will dig deep into the soil as an ecosystem, soil testing, organic matter, cover crops, mulch, and more!

March 12 - Composting for the Smart Vegetable Garden - MSU Extension Consumer Horticulture Educator Rebecca Krans and MSU Extension Master Gardener State Coordinator Sarah Rautio 

Healthy soils grow better vegetables, so improve your soil through composting. Whether a beginning or experienced gardener, we’ll provide the ‘compost recipe’ with all of the necessary ingredients, supplies, and steps needed to help you compost successfully. 

April 9 - Sustainable Methods for Veggie Gardeners - MSU Extension Community Food Systems Educator Kristine Hahn

This session will show you that growing vegetables sustainably is easy and fun just in time for your spring crops! Simple and basic sustainable methods for growing vegetables including three season growing, cover crops, mulch, and pest and disease management will be discussed and demonstrated when possible.

May 14 - Bring Eden to Our Communities with Edible Forests (Hybrid) - Naim Edwards, Director of Detroit-MSU Partnership for Food, Land, and Innovation, MSU Extension Specialist  

Edible Forests are landscapes that integrate woody fruit and nut crops. In this presentation, Naim will discuss his experiences with edible forests, explain their relevance, and share about his work in Detroit to make them a reality. Participants will learn about Michigan fruits and nuts and the benefits of spreading them across the landscape.

June 11 - Phenomenal Phenology: Connecting Seasonal Changes, Plant Biology and Observation in the Garden - MSU Extension Consumer Horticulture Educator Isabel Branstrom

At the end of winter, do you find yourself looking for a sign that it’s spring? Maybe it’s not the day on the calendar that says, “First day of spring,” but rather a certain shrub in bloom, or a particular tree that is just starting to leaf out. This process of noting changes in plant life cycles based on seasonal environmental shifts is phenology. Plant phenology can be useful in the garden to time pest scouting, initiate management strategies, and to develop correlations as well as deeper understanding of our environment over time. In this session, we will learn more about why. Tips on recording your own observations and helpful resources will also be shared.

July 9 - Adaptive Gardening for Health and Wellbeing, Special 2-hour hybrid workshop, 10 am - noon - Michigan Horticultural Therapy Association Therapists Mary Machon and Cathy Flinton

Join us for this exciting special hybrid HomeGrown Gardening session to explore adaptive gardening and tools and the positive effects gardening has on social, physical, and mental health. Learn from Michigan Horticultural Therapy Association speakers Mary Machon and Cathy Flinton as they lead a 2-hour workshop on the proper use of tools, posture, and other adaptive resources to help people with all abilities garden. Registrants of all ages can choose to visit Tollgate Farm or zoom in from home to learn about beneficial activities used in horticultural therapy that can help them or their friends, family, coworkers, or clients benefit from plants and gardening.

August 13 - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Integrated Pest Management for the Veggie Garden - MSU Extension Sustainable Agriculture Instructor Darby Anderson 

From the beneficial Squash Bees to the pesky Potato Beetles, we interact with bugs daily as gardeners. MSU Tollgate's Sustainable Agriculture Instructor Darby Anderson will explain the principles of Integrated Pest Management approach and explore practices such as physical barriers, trapping, mulching to limit and suppress pest populations and thus damage to our crops.

September 10 - Processing and Preserving Your HomeGrown Produce - MSU Extension Food Safety Educator Ghaida Havern and MSU Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Educator Lisa Treiber  

The advantage of having a home garden is that you can pick and cook with the delicious veggies you've grown yourself. Learn the latest methods and research for preserving your homegrown vegetables at home. Let us help you fill your pantry and freezer by preserving food safely! There will be a demonstration of equipment and safe processes. Handouts will be available!

$12 per session for one household, $90 for all eight sessions

Preregistration required. Recorded lectures available to paid registrants. A link will be sent prior to the session.
Series will be virtual with select hybrid sessions (virtual and in-person combined). Non-refundable.

MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center
28115 Meadowbrook Rd., Novi, MI 48377


Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by contacting the event contact two weeks prior to the start of the event. Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible.

Contact Information

For more information, please contact Ellen Koehler at