Urban Homesteading

Urban HomesteadingMaple Sugaring

February  7, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Rondo Library

Learn basic techniques and practical tips on how to tap your own back yard maple trees to make affordable pure maple syrup. This hands-on workshop will include a brief history, equipment, tree identification, tapping, collection and finishing your syrup. For aspiring/novice/hobbyist sugar makers.

Presenter:  Chris Ransom

Chris has been making syrup as a hobbyist in his backyard in Vadnais Heights since 2004.  He is currently the Secretary of the Minnesota Maple Syrup Producers Association.

Growing West Side Seed Library Opening

February  11, 1-3 p.m.
Riverview Library

Celebrate the beginning of the 2017 growing season with the Growing West Side Seed Library Opening. Join us for activities for the kids, mini workshops on Starting Seeds Indoors, Winter Sowing and Growing Your Own Sprouts. Bring the Family.

Presented by Growing West Side

Composting / Vermiculture

February 18, 1-2 p.m.
Rice Street Library

Learn how to create compost in your backyard and start an indoor worm bin composting system. Compost is an excellent soil amendment, providing needed nutrients to growing plants. Learn how to compost your kitchen and yard waste in your own back yard, saving you money and decreasing waste going into landfills.  Learn how to choose and prepare a site and structure, how to feed and maintain the compost pile, and what to do with the compost once it is ready.  Vermi-composting -composting kitchen waste in a worm bin inside your home - will also be covered.

Presented by Frank Dolejsi  and Growing West Side

Frank Dolejsi is a Ramsey County Master Gardener. He retired as Director of the Minnesota BCA Forensic Science Laboratory in 2013. An avid gardener for over 40 years, he entered the Master Gardeners program after retirement. As a scientist he became interested in the chemical and biological systems related to composting. He has made presentations on composting to both community and business groups.

Frogtown's 4th Annual Green Gathering

February 19, 2-4 p.m.
Rondo Library

Let's make our community healthier, wealthier, safer, and more beautiful. Treats, exhibits and info sharing with urban homesteaders, gardeners, park advocates, tree huggers, pollinator pals, water stewards, animal lovers and more!

Presented by Frogtown Green.

Seed Library Gathering & Planting a Garden with Seed Saving in Mind

March 2, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Riverview Library

5:30-6:30 p.m. Seed Library Gathering: Meet other folks interested in seed saving and the development of seed libraries in the Twin Cities--and find how you can participate. Growing West Side Seed Library will be open!

6:30-7:30 p.m. Planting a Garden with Seed Saving in Mind. Presented by Michelle Grabowski, UMN Extension - Horticulture and Plant Pathology, and Courtney Tchida, UMN Student Organic Farm Manager

Apartment Gardening

March 7, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Rondo Library

Learn tips and techniques for growing vegetables in small spaces.

Presented by Roger Hintze.

Roger Hintze grew up on a farm near Rochester MN, where his love of gardening began at age 5. He received a BS and MS in Horticulture, Botany and Plant Physiology from the University of Minnesota, and later spent two years in Viet Nam with a volunteer organization similar to the Peace Corps, working with the Vietnamese Ag Service in the Mekong Delta. He spent next 42 years were working in a tech and sales position with a wholesale greenhouse and nursery supply firm, which was based in Roseville. He became a master gardener in 1999 and has been volunteering with the Ramsey County MG program for 17 years.

Raising Chickens

March 16, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Riverview Library

Learn how to raise chickens at home. Topics include choosing a breed, housing, feeding, care, and city rules. Come with questions. Even if you already have hens, you'll learn something new

Presented by Rob Czernik

Rob Czernik is a Permaculture designer and teacher, and runs Powderhorn Feed Co. He keeps chickens in South Minneapolis and works with small farmers to provide the best grains for your backyard flock. His presentations are informative and empowering -- you'll come away ready to bring a flock to your backyard! 

Hmong Herbs for Chicken Soup

March 21, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Arlington Hills Library


Master gardener Mayyia Lee and her daughter Zongxee Lee will talk about growing and using Hmong herbs that have been passed from one generation to the next for centuries. They will share their efforts to preserve the names and traditions of these herbs through research and gardening efforts.

Presented by Mayyia Lee and Zongxee Lee

Mayyia Lee is a Master Gardener and teaches organic gardening at Big Marine on St.Croix.She had bountiful of vegetables at two to three farmers markets. Zongxee Lee loves to garden and does researching on Hmong herbs in her spare time.

Landscaping with Edibles

March 28, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Sun Ray Library


Edible gardening has gained popularity in recent years and has been moving from the backyard to the front yard. While people once grew food out of necessity it has now become a more fun and acceptable part of the urban landscape. Growing perennial fruits, especially berry bushes is easy and well suited for smaller urban spaces with limited space and sun.  We will explore various ways of incorporating edibles in to any landscape, whether a few herbs in a pot or more specific areas set aside as kitchen gardens - edibles in gardens are here to stay - mixed with flowers to provide food for our pollinators.

Presented by Mette Nielsen

Mette Nielsen has been gardening for over 30 years in Minneapolis and has slowly converted her garden to include more edibles, especially perennials fruits. A native of Copenhagen Denmark, she now grows many of the perennial fruit bushes she grew up with.

Mette established and maintains the edible gardens at Birchwood Cafe in Minneapolis. She is a U of M Extension Master Gardener in Hennepin County where she works primarily with an edible garden project in transitional housing in downtown Minneapolis. When not gardening, Mette cooks and photographs food - the latest collaboration with Beth Dooley "Savory Sweet - simple preserves from a northern kitchen" will be published by University of Minnesota Press in spring 2017.

Growing Grapes

April 6, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Dayton's Bluff Library

How to grow grapes in your backyard-soil, light and water needs, trellis systems, and best grape varieties

Presented by Sharron Peterson

Sharron Peterson is originally from Atlanta, GA. Her love for food and wine was instilled by her father. She was cooking by age 5 and setting O.J. out in the sun to see what would happen. (hint: tiny bubbles). She worked in the wine industry for 20 years. She started in sales/marketing (in Northern Cal) but kept sneaking away from her desk to hang out in the oenology lab and with the vineyard workers and eventually convinced them to let her work in the fields. She trained in viticulture/winemaking at U.C. Davis, was cast in a show about winemaking, for PBS, and traveled throughout France interviewing wine makers and working in their wineries. She currently volunteers as a master gardener and resides in urban Saint Paul with her 13 year-old son, my husband, 3 dogs, 3 cats, 3 grapevines.