During National Volunteer Week, April 21 -27, we salute University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener volunteers! In the most recent year, Extension Master Gardeners contributed over 129,220 hours of volunteer service preparing for, teaching about, and assisting Minnesota citizens find information about best practices in horticulture and environmental stewardship.
Master Gardener news
The U of M Extension Master Gardeners, Simply Good Eating and Community Nutrition staff in Pine County promoted healthy eating at the local fair and community garden. "Grow Yourself a Healthy Handful" was inspired by an educational program through the MN Landscape Arboretum.
Trina Barno, Simply Good Eating Director, and Kelly Appeldorn, Pine County Community Nutrition Educator put together two impressive display boards that Master Gardeners used in fair booths in both Kanabec and Pine counties. They also put together helpful handouts on U of M Extension recommended canning and freezing processes and recipes.
Extension Master Gardeners planted five gallon pails as well as five plastic flower pots full of the five most nutritious vegetables in May. They watered, fertilized and weeded them throughout the summer. The live potted examples were on display at the Pine County community garden and at the fair.
Master Gardener fair booth co-chairs Roger and Linda Fischer designed the display, utilizing materials from the MN Landscape Arboretum as well as two tipping container stands and planted herbs in them. They were a favorite of fairgoers! The booth was located between two walkways, so it was visible from two sides. Nineteen Extension Master Gardeners answered visitors' questions on powdery mildew on vine crops, herbs, stringy snap beans, brown spots on hostas, flowers, vegetables and many other gardening topics. They even had a door prize sign-up for a four-hour tiller rental at a local dealer.
For more information:
Extension Master Gardener Program: firstname.lastname@example.org
Extension Master Gardeners - Pine County: Terry Salmela, Terry.Salmela@co.pine.mn.us
MN Landscape Arboretum: http://www.arboretum.umn.edu
Every Tuesday from June through August, U of M Extension Master Gardeners have been sharing their penchant for plants with students of the University of Minnesota's Gopher Adventures program--a day-camp style, summer youth program designed to open the minds and imaginations of local kids, ages 5-12.
Held in the Department of Horticultural Science Display Garden on the St. Paul campus, weekly themes like Gardening Basics, Soil Sleuths, and Trash to Treasures are designed to work as stand-alone lessons for those enrolled in the program for only a single week, while the overarching, acronym-based topic: "PLANTS" (P-lace, L-ight, A-ir, N-utrients, T-hirsty (water) and S-oil), ties everything together for those who attend on a regular basis.
This year, the "Goldy in the Garden" program has been headed-up by Extension Master Gardeners Betsy Massie, Kate Wodtke, and Rochelle Jansen from Hennepin County --with help from a rotating support staff comprising volunteer Master Gardeners from across the state.
Each class typically begins with a brief lesson, group discussion, and activity centered around that week's unique theme in the Garden's Outdoor Classroom. During last week's Plant Parts class, students first discussed the structural components of familiar garden vegetables and flowers, and then applied what they had learned through the dissection of locally-grown Asiatic and day lilies.
As the day heats up, students migrate to the covered gazebo to record the past week's weather conditions and contemplate issues of conservation and environmental stewardship. This past week, "re-use" was the topic of discussion, and students were tasked with brainstorming ways to repurpose old shoes. Creativity flowed as students suggested options like donation, making hamster beds, and even using rain boots as vessels for potting plants.
Next week, Pollution Solutions takes center stage, followed by a plant-based scavenger hunt in the garden. In week ten, everything comes full circle, as students are able to see how their planting, weeding, and watering has paid off--with an end-of-the-season harvest party, where students can literally "eat what they sow."
For more information:
Extension Master Gardener Program - email@example.com
Department of Rec Sports Youth Progams: firstname.lastname@example.org
Master Gardener volunteers on the scene were Diane, Sarah R, Ge, Z, Melvin, and Sean.
The class started out with the gardeners drawing a picture of their ideal garden or coloring a plant part picture. Attached the works of the 2 older girls. One gardener designed a pea teepee in her ideal garden!. The students acted out 'radishes and weeds' in an effort to understand why weeding is important. Then, Gardeners to the Rescue! The class weeded the west border where we will be planting lettuce this week and did a great job!
Next up was a demonstration of what plant parts people eat. The class examined carrots (roots), celery (stem), cauliflower (flower), lettuce (leaves), cherry tomatoes (fruit), and sunflower seeds (seeds). Then they ate these plant parts in 'plant part roll-ups' -chopped carrots, celery, cauliflower, tomatoes, and sunflower seeds rolled up in a lettuce leaf, dipped in Ranch or Western dressing. SUCCESS!!!!!!! The kids ate them, liked them....even asked for seconds.
One Master Gardener volunteered to be a radish! That is truly being present to the cause!
Looking forward to our next class--BUGS!
Submitted by M. P., U of MN Extension Master Gardener - Ramsey County
In recognition of Master Gardener volunteers and the 35th anniversary of the University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener program, Governor Dayton proclaimed July 19th, 2012 as U of M Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Day in MInnesota. Click here and read more about the contributions of Master Gardeners and the Governor's proclamation.
The University of Minnesota Extension Volunteer Master Gardeners of Dakota County, in cooperation with the U of M Rosemount Research and Outreach Center (RROC), are sponsoring Super Tuesday Evening in The Garden
Date: Tuesday, July 31
Time: 5 - 8 p.m.
Location: Dakota County Master Gardener Research and Display Gardens in UMore Park,1605 West 160th St. in Rosemount (1 mile east of the intersection of Highways 46 and 3).
The event is free and open to the public.
The evening provides garden-centered presentations on projects currently underway at the RROC along with tent talks on special topics of gardening interest. Garden talks are organized around six themes: Growing Healthy Food, Sustainable Landscapes, Minnesota Introductions & Bird Gardening, Preservation of Pollinators, Minnesota Reasearch, and Gardening for Kids. There will be four special tent presentations on Weed, The Well-Tended Garden, Plant Photography, and Honey Bees.
The Extension Simply Good Eating program will share information about the importance of eating healthy and nutritious food, especially those fresh foods from your own garden.
Tickets for refreshments will be available for purchase on site.
Visit the Dakota County Master Gardener blog at http://blog.lib.umn.edu/mgweb/dakota for more information and continual updates on the event and other Master Gardener projects at UMore.
Ask A Master Gardener, part of the national Extension Ask An Expert online Q&A tool, is staffed by Extension Master Gardeners ready and willing to provide solutions to your gardening problems within 24 hours. Minnesota recently completed online volunteer training and currently 71 Master Gardeners are volunteering for Ask A Master Gardener.
How does it work? Simple. Click on the link to Ask A Master Gardener, type in your question, attach a photo if you like, and click Submit. Your question is filtered at the national level and sent to a Master Gardener who's criteria (location, topic, etc.) matches your question and location. The Master Gardener volunteer receives your question via email, researches and responds to your email.
Archives of answered gardening questions can also be searched on the national eXtension website. And don't forget to visit the U of M Extension Garden website for publications, classes, events, and other great resources!
The next time a gardening problem perplexes you, Ask A Master Gardener!
For 35 years University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener volunteers have been sowing seeds of success across Minnesota.
Examples of that success are described in the spring 2012 edition of Extension's Source magazine. A feature story tells how Master Gardeners in Isanti County have given back to their community in Cambridge, MN. Interest in the community garden they initiated in 2009 has grown significantly and benefits the community on several fronts. Other side articles in Source describe how Master Gardeners contribute to University research and how Master Gardener educational classes lead to citizens adopting greener gardening practices.
To view or download the complete Source magazine that highlights Extension programs and impact in Minnesota, click here.
July 19-21, 2012
Every two years, the Upper Midwest Regional Master Gardener Conference is hosted by WI, IL, IA, or MN. In 2012, it's our turn here in Minnesota, and we are excited and proud to be hosting the conference for Extension Master Gardener volunteers at the world-renowned Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.
This conference is for Extension Master Gardeners and their guests only.
The conference will also feature a vendor fair, a silent auction with proceeds going toward the Jr. Master Gardener program in Minnesota, book signings, Minnesota Wine Opening Reception and a Minnesota Buffet Banquet featuring speaker Dr. Ed Schneider, Arboretum director.
The class sessions are diverse and exciting and focused around research in the Midwest! Some are classroom-based, some hands-on, some a little of both. Registration is now open. We hope all Upper Midwest Extension Master Gardeners will join us!
Registration is online! Click here.
Master Gardeners don't just experiment with plant varieties on their own, they assist University of Minnesota faculty with research. Beginning in 2009, Master Gardeners in Dakota County aided Extension horticulturist Dr. Vince Fritz on a Brassica research project. The project set out to evaluate variety performance and to characterize each variety's relative health benefit based on the variety's phytonutrient concentration. Vegetables with high phytonutrient concentrations are thought to have preventative benefits against some forms of cancer. The research is directly connected to a collaborative study Dr. Fritz is conducting with the U's Masonic Cancer Center.
Master Gardeners helped to plant and maintain the trial plots at the University of Minnesota's Rosemount Research and Outreach Center (RROC). They also assisted with data collection and as co-educators about the research during annual open house events at the RROC. Later this year a variety trial report will be published. The report will include relative phytonutrient concentrations in each of the varieties trialed.
Dr. Fritz says of the Master Gardener volunteers, "I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the Master Gardeners in Dakota County over the years. Their enthusiasm, desire to learn, and desire to 'pass it on' is contagious."