March 2021
Cool Season Veggies
If you are desperate to get outside in the garden in the early spring (let’s face it, we all are!), don’t make the mistake of planting warm-season crops too soon. Utilize cool-season crops early in the spring. They are well-adapted to grow during a time of year with random frosts, even snow.

The Therapeutic Power of Plants
Celebrate ​National Horticultural Therapy Week March 14-20, 2021
Many people enjoy looking at plants and flowers and find it relaxing to dig in the dirt. But research and a growing number of horticulture therapy programs are showing that gardening holds serious healing power.

Trained and certified therapists, including members of the American Horticultural Therapy Association (AHTA), help clients treat physical and psychological conditions including PTSD, addiction, and dementia through gardening.

According to the AHTA website, “Horticultural therapy helps improve memory, cognitive abilities, task initiation, language skills, and socialization. In physical rehabilitation, horticultural therapy can help strengthen muscles and improve coordination, balance, and endurance.”

Horticulture therapy programs have been implemented in schools, correctional facilities, retirement homes, hospitals, outpatient facilities, and community centers, and the same techniques can be adapted to home gardens. More information on finding a program or licensed therapist can be found at

National Garden Bureau past-president Heather Kibble says, “Caring for plants and experiencing nature brings healing and purpose to people whose lives have been affected by illness, addiction, violence or military service.” The National Garden Bureau ( administers an annual grant for therapeutic gardens to support garden-based education and therapy.

Research compiled by the National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture (NICH) reveals other benefits of plants and gardening on the healing process, including a reduction in the amount of pain relievers taken post-surgery by patients in rooms containing plants. Plants in room décor also reduced the stress, blood pressure, and reported fatigue levels of hospital patients.

Source: The National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture (NICH) - a consortium of industry leaders who are promoting the benefits and value of horticulture. NICH brings together academia, government, industry, and nonprofits to cultivate the growth and development of a healthy world through landscapes, gardens and plants — indoors and out.
2021 Invasive Species Trail Survey
Tired of feeling cooped up inside?
Want to see everything our beautiful Finger Lakes have to offer?
Have an itch to help the environment?

You can do all that and more by joining us in the 2021 Trail Survey! We are seeking volunteers to help us survey for invasive species on trails throughout our region. Invasive plant and animal species are among the greatest threats to the ecosystems of the Finger Lakes. Without any natural predators, these organisms are able to grow and spread quickly, easily overrunning the native plants and animals that call the Finger Lakes home. This process leads to irreversible economic, environmental, and cultural damage.
One of the biggest challenges with invasive species is simply knowing where they are. These species can often spread much more quickly than we can track, making it difficult to control them. That’s why we’re looking for volunteers to get out in the field and help us find them all!
Through this program we will give you all the tools necessary to locate the invaders. If you’re interested, please register here ( Once registered, we will explain how to identify invasive species, how and where to search for them, and more! As this is a volunteer program, there is no commitment to how often you need to survey, or what you need to look for, or where (although we will have suggestions if you’re unsure!).
We hope to see you out there!

How to Create Habitat For Stem Nesting Bees
Approximately 30% of native bees nest above ground in cavities in stems and wood. Follow the instructions on this graphic to provide more opportunities for stem-nesting bees such as small carpenter bees (Ceratina) and small mason bees (Hoplitis).
Spring Equinox
In 2021, the spring equinox occurs on Saturday, March 20. This event marks the astronomical first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. What does equinox mean? What happens on the equinox? What determines the first day of spring?

In the Northern Hemisphere, the March equinox (aka spring equinox or vernal equinox) occurs when the Sun crosses the equator line, heading north in the sky. This event marks the start of spring in the northern half of the globe. After this date, the Northern Hemisphere begins to be tilted more toward the Sun, resulting in increasing daylight hours and warming temperatures.

The word equinox comes from the Latin words for “equal night”—aequus (equal) and nox (night). On the equinox, the length of day and night is nearly equal in all parts of the world. With the equinox, enjoy the increasing sunlight hours, with earlier dawns and later sunsets.
Fertilizer Tips
Upcoming Zoom Events
Registration Required
Be on the lookout for your confirmation email with the Zoom link to access the class!
Herb Gardening Workshop
Thursday, March 18, 7PM - 8PM
Hosted by Chili Public Library
Herbs can transform ordinary meals into something special. Incorporating herbs into your garden design adds color, fragrances, and interest to your landscape. Participants will learn the benefits of herb growing from their beauty and use in cooking, to their medicinal uses and healing properties. 

Presented by Master Gardener, Lois Breen. 
Raised Bed Gardening
Saturday, March 20, 10:30AM - 11:30AM
Hosted by Parma Public Library
Learn the key steps to ensure a successful vegetable garden as well as cover planting and harvesting techniques, the advantages of raised bed gardening, and the top 10 vegetables for home gardening.

Presented by MG, Lauren Caruso.
Improving Your Garden Soil
Tuesday, March 30, 6PM - 8PM
Hosted by CCE Tompkins County
Learn tips and tools for working in all kinds of soil, including our area's tricky, clay soils. Main topics include: improving your soil fertility, tilth, microbial and fungal diversity, using tools such as sheet mulching, compost, cover crops, compost teas and juices, biochar, broad forking, double digging, and more. In addition, we'll take a look at different styles of compost bins and tumblers and chat about the pros and cons of each.

Presented by Jennie Cramer, Horticulture Program Manager of CCE Tompkins County
Raised Bed Gardening
Tuesday, April 6, 7PM - 8PM
Hosted by Brighton Memorial Library
Registration: Call 585-784-5300 or email and we will send you the Zoom link within 24 hours of the program.
Learn the key steps to ensure a successful vegetable garden as well as cover planting and harvesting techniques, the advantages of raised bed gardening, and the top 10 vegetables for home gardening.

Presented by MG, Lauren Caruso.
Attracting Pollinators to your Garden
Thursday, April 8, 7PM - 8PM
Hosted by Mendon Public Library
Registration: Call 585-624-6067

Pollinators play an important role in native ecosystems, home gardens, and global food production. This presentation will discuss the wide range of pollinators active in our gardens and what gardeners can do to make their yard more attractive to pollinators. We will discuss a variety of native plants and provide a plant list handout. 

Presented by MG, John Nelson
Job Opening: Urban Garden Educator (2 Locations)
The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at Cornell & Harvest NY (part of Cornell Cooperative Extension) is now hiring an Urban Garden Educator!

2 Locations Open: Rochester, NY & Brooklyn, NY

As part of the Urban Agriculture team, you will provide leadership and delivery of educational programming related to community gardening, including production, harvesting, food safety, sustainability, nutrition, food access and other social and environmental justice issues as identified. You will create innovative or alternative (to existing delivery models) educational programs that meet programmatic and community needs as well as changing regional and statewide issues.

Learn more and apply here (March 22 deadline):
Need help with your garden? Try a Home Site Assessment!
The Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe County Master Gardeners offer site assessments of residential properties within Monroe County.

A $75.00 fee provides a one-hour consultation with a team of two CCE-MC Master Gardeners in the areas of plant identification, disease, pest or weed identification. Master Gardeners can offer suggestions on landscape and garden design. If a sample needs to be submitted to the diagnostic lab, a lab fee of between $5 and $20 will be charged.

Master Gardeners can also report on environmental situations limiting the growth of particular plants (soil or light conditions). They will also identify situations that might require professional follow-up such as tree care or removal and can provide a list of companies.

Visits scheduled April through October. Call to schedule your home site assessment now! 585-753-2558
Gardening Helpline at Your Service
When plant, insect and wildlife problems happen in the garden, who can home gardeners call? A team of trained Master Gardeners are available to help answer gardening and pest questions, and solve problems using current research-based information.

By calling the helpline, you’ll find yourself in contact with someone who will help identify the cause of your problem, or give an answer to your question using Cornell’s experience and research knowledge. If the issue is addressed in one of our many factsheets, it will be sent to you for your reference.

Contact us: (585) 753-2555 or

Gardening Helpline Hours:
November – March: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 9 AM - 12 PM
April – October: Monday - Friday, 9 AM - 12 PM       
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Gardening Helpline:
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(585) 753-2558