This week, staff writer Laura Rysz talks with Jane Risse about the upcoming “This Month in the Garden” series presented by the Greenhouse Project.

Residence: Scranton

Professional background: Certified master gardener since 2009 and trained in passive solar-heated greenhouses, small plot intensive, square foot gardening, urban farming and community garden management

Title: Director of the Greenhouse Project and greenhouse educator for this series

Q: What inspired this event?

A: (“This Month in the Garden”) education series is a continuation of our “Seasonal Gardening for Beginners” classes. We host monthly gardening classes with the topics timed for the growing season so people have successful vegetable gardens and experts are available to answer questions. We hope to be back to in-person classes this spring, but for now, virtual remote classes are offered.

Q: How does the virtual event work?

A: It is a free class. Donations are appreciated. For the “Planning Your Garden” on Thursday, Feb. 18, (from) 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., we will teach the basics of how to plan a backyard or container vegetable garden. This includes site selection, soil and light considerations, and materials needed. For the “Seeds & Transplants” on Thursday, Feb. 25, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., we will teach you which to sow or transplant (and) how to source your seeds and seedlings and the supplies needed to get started. No experience or materials are needed. These are two different sessions, and both are on Zoom. To register, email We’ll send you the Zoom link. There also is an opportunity for a question-and-answer session and to talk with folks in your own growing climate about common problems and successes.

Q: What can you tell us about Roy Holm, who is leading the class?

A: Roy Holm is our featured instructor for the first two topics. He is 33 years old and born in Indiana. He attended Juniata College for a degree in philosophy and ceramic arts. He first started farming during a year excursion to Juneau, Alaska, working on an off-the-grid subsistence homestead on an island. Since then, Holm has accumulated more than 10 years of experience in organic landscaping (and) organized and regenerative farming.

Q: Why is it important to start thinking about your garden in February?

A: Audrey Hepburn said, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” To survive the long, dark and cold winters, it is helpful to set goals and plans for being outside in nature. More practically, seed companies tend to run out of the best varieties of seed as the spring approaches. Some herbs, like rosemary, can take several months to grow big enough to transplant. If one has the interest and time, winter is a good time to literally draw out what you will want to plant where and a great time to purchase supplies for your garden.

Q: What is unique about this event?

A: The Greenhouse Project literally grows a community. We work with people and plants to grow a healthier community. Our roots tether individuals to their neighbors. We nurture connections at a time with social unrest and isolation. Roy Holm is volunteering his time to help the Greenhouse Project nourish our community. A bonus is that we all get to meet like-minded people who are interested in food.