Garden Event at Farmingdale State College: Home Grown Food: Planning and Planting the Abundant Landscape

On Friday April 20, Farmingdale State College’s Department of Ornamental Horticulture will host “Home Grown Food: Planning and Planting the Abundant Landscape.” It will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Teaching Gardens and Greenhouse at the college. The public is invited, and the $5.00 admission will benefit the Sustainable Garden at the Department of Ornamental Horticulture.


The event will help anyone interested in learning how to grow their own fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers. It will also feature interactive workshops, garden tours, plants for sale, and local food.

Renowned speakers include the following:

  • Other speakers on a wide variety of topics central to the themes of the one-half acre garden

This event coincides with Farmingdale State College’s Centennial and celebrates the remarkable resiliency of the Department of Ornamental Horticulture, a founding program of the college. The training of students to grow and incorporate food-bearing plants within ornamental landscapes is a tradition dating back to the early days of the State Institute of Applied Agriculture at Farmingdale and remains relevant today on Long Island where a growing segment of citizens desire to grow and/or support locally produced food.

Tentative Schedule: subject to change

8:30 am: Opening Remarks: “Why a Sustainable Garden at Farmingdale State College?” A Short History of Food Production within the Department of Ornamental Horticulture.”

9:00 am: “Luscious Landscaping with Fruits” – Lee Reich PhD. Lee Reich, PhD is an avid farmdener (more than a garden, less than a farm) who turned from plant and soil research with the USDA and Cornell University to writing, lecturing, and consulting. He is the author of six books, including the newly released Grow Fruit Naturally and writes regularly for Associated Press and publications such as Fine Gardening and Horticulture.

10:00 am: “The Grower’s Calendar: Timing Your Harvest” – Caroline Fanning and Daniel Holmes. Caroline and Daniel, native Long Islanders, are a husband and wife team that launched Restoration Farm, a seven acre farm at Old Bethpage Village Restoration in 2007.

11:00 am: “Hunting for Wild Foods” – “Wildman” Steve Brill. Mr. Brill is an author, tour guide and wild food expert who has been collecting wild foods in New York City parks since 1982.

12:00 pm: Lunch break, garden tours, touring time within vendor display area, book signing with Lee Reich and Steve Brill.

1:00 pm: “Wild Foraging Tour” – “Wildman Steve Brill.

2:00 pm “Pruning Fruit Trees”Lee Reich. See bio above.

3:00 pm: “Compost Tea and Compost Making” – Stephen D’Amato. Mr D’Amato is the principal of D’Amato Landscaping, Inc, Northport, NY.

3:30pm: “Backyard Bee Keeping” – Joan Mahoney. Joan, a student in the department of Ornamental Horticulture, works for the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, is a backyard beekeeper and manages the hive within the Sustainable Garden.

4:00 pm: “Backyard Chickens” – Jennifer Murray. Ms. Murray is proprietor of Turtleback Farms, a sustainable farm operation on a 22 acre historic farm nestled along the Nissequogue River abutting over 30 acres of preserved woodlands in Smithtown NY.

All Activities take place at The Teaching Gardens, conveniently located adjacent to the Smith Street/Rt. 110 entrance on the Farmingdale State College campus.

For more information call: Michael Veracka (631) 420-2113 or email

Lecture descriptions:

“Luscious Landscaping with Fruits” – Lee Reich. What could be more pleasant than picking luscious fruits from a plant that you also admire for its beauty? Meet some of the best trees, shrubs, and vines for this purpose, plants that require little maintenance yet provide stunning flowers in spring, color in autumn, and neat form in winter. For landscaping, the ideal is a plant that also is low maintenance, being pest-resistant and requiring little or no pruning. Learn how to grow shadbush, gumi, actinidia, medlar, and other ornamental, fruiting plants, and how to use them to beautify your yard.”

“The Grower’s Calendar: Timing Your Harvest” – Caroline Fanning and Daniel Holmes. Knowing when to plant is important for any grower. Whether you’re a farmer growing for market or a backyard gardener growing for home consumption, there are many factors to consider when timing your harvest. This workshop will address these considerations—target season, days to maturity, succession plantings, weed and disease pressure—and highlight the planting calendar currently used at Restoration Farm, a five-acre CSA in Old Bethpage.

“Hunting for Wild Foods” – “Wildman” Steve Brill. This talk will uncover the vast world of wild greens, herbs and roots that can be collected and eaten. Upon the completion of his talk Steve will serve a wild harvested salad, then lead participants on a foraging tour through our garden and campus grounds.

“Pruning Fruit Trees” – Lee Reich. A slide lecture about pleaching, pollarding, and creating standards and espaliers. These four pruning techniques make a bold statement in the landscape and have a practical side as well. We will cover the ornamental and practical uses of these techniques, the steps involved in creating them, and the plants appropriate for such techniques.

“Compost Tea and Compost Making” — Stephen D’Amato. Ecological landcare is gaining popularity among homeowners and landscape practitioners alike, and is a growing sector of the green industry. In this hands-on workshop Steve will show how incorporating sustainable practices can promote intelligent plant management, enhanced biological activity in your soils and help reduce or eliminate your need for chemical fertilizers and inputs.

“Backyard Bee Keeping” – Joan Mahoney. Agriculture depends greatly on the honeybee for pollination. Honeybees account for 80% of all insect pollination. Without such pollination, we would see a significant decrease in the yield of fruits and vegetables. Joan will detail the process of beekeeping, and all that goes into cultivating a successful hive.

“Backyard Chickens” – Jennifer Murray. This workshop is for those who wish to introduce chickens into your farm operation or wish to keep chickens in your yard. Jennifer will demonstrate the dual roles chickens can play: how laying hens increase opportunities in the market garden or provide food for your table, forage for insect pests post-harvest, and improve soils – decreasing weed growth and increasing soil vitality, plus fertilizing the soil with their manure.

For more information contact Michael Veracka, MLA, Department Chair and Assistant Professor, Department of Ornamental Horticulture, Farmingdale State College,

(631) 420-2113. For more information about The Sustainable Garden go to Further information about Farmingdale State College’s Department of Ornamental Horticulture is available at