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A generous Ramsey County resident has created a new endowment fund at the University of Minnesota Foundation, for the Ramsey County Extension Master Gardener program, in honor of two prior Master Gardeners. The Ramsey County Master Gardeners work with several projects related to urban gardening, food justice, and specialized garden programs for under-served audiences; the fund will go to fortify and enhance these projects. We are deeply thankful for this generous gift, and the interest and support it conveys.

What does it take to be an Extension Master Gardener Volunteer? This year's statewide conference will explore that question and take volunteers to the "next level" in their horticulture knowledge and skill base.

Read about the nationally-acclaimed keynote speakers, including: Dr. Marla Spivak, University of Minnesota Bee Lab (Friday, June 26), and Dr. Peter H. Raven, Missouri Botanical Garden (Saturday, June 27).

Review schedules and tentative agendas for Friday and Saturday.

Make your hotel reservation now. A limited block of rooms has been reserved for Master Gardeners.

Register for the conference

Read more

Crow Wing Co. MNTC MG Donation 9-8-14.jpg

Minnesota Teen Challenge (MNTC) in Brainerd, MN recently received matching donations of $925 each from Crow Wing County Extension Master Gardeners and from Daniel and Ken Lueken of Baxter, MN for the establishment of a new community garden. Crow Wing County Extension Master Gardeners will mentor MNTC clients and staff from start to finish during this unique, on-site educational garden program. A grant from Crow Wing Power provided the initial starting funds for the sustainable gardening project. Minnesota Teen Challenge provides treatment and recovery services for young adults.
Pictured here are (l to r) Eric Adamson, MNTC program manager, Sam Anderson, MNTC center director, Jackie Froemming, Crow Wing County Extension Master Gardener Coordinator, and, Ken Lueken, Crow Wing County Extension Master Gardener.

Tomato Problems Brochure Available


Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for tomato problems - web.jpgThis new brochure about three common tomato problems in Minnesota gardens was a popular handout at the Extension Master Gardener booth during the 2014 State Fair.  To review or download the handout just click here.

The brochure includes photos and descriptions of Early Blight, Septoria Leaf Spot and Blossom End Rot.  It includes best gardening practices to minimize and control the problems. 

Generous Gift to Benefit the Program


P. Hartley_MG_0016-8 (2).jpgPlease join us in celebrating an exciting gift to benefit the Extension Master Gardener Volunteer program!

Pam Hartley, a Ramsey County Extension Master Gardener, has created a new endowment fund at the University of Minnesota Foundation to support educational programming for the statewide Extension Master Gardener Volunteer program.  In addition, she has included this endowment fund as part of her estate planning.  We thank Pam for her dedication to, and vision for the program.

"Pam's generous gift will allow us to expand and enhance our educational offerings as well as strengthen innovative programming and increase access to information. Her belief that continuing education and advanced training is key to keeping the program strong will have positive benefits for Extension Master Gardeners throughout the state," said Extension Master Gardener Program Director, Tim Kenny.

Pam has served as a dedicated Extension Master Gardener for nearly two decades, mostly in Anoka County and now in Ramsey County.  She continues very actively volunteering to educate residents in sustainable gardening practices.

Over her years as an Extension Master Gardener volunteer, Pam has taught educational classes for both adults and children and helped to create a Veteran's Peace garden that is used as a teaching garden. Pam has enjoyed volunteering at information booths, farmer's markets, diagnostic clinics, the state fair, and answering phone inquiries. She has been honored to act as a mentor to interns and has served in many leadership roles, including both the state and county advisory boards, organizing horticultural days, and co-chairing a regional Extension Master Gardener conference.

Thank you Pam for your generous commitment and your investment in the future of the Extension Master Gardener program!

August 4 blog post.jpgThe 2014 Minnesota State Fair is just around the corner - August 21 through September 1. Be sure to stop by the "Ask a Master Gardener" booth in the Agriculture and Horticulture building when you are at the fair. Just say "hello" or bring your gardening question. Extension Master Gardener volunteers will be at the booth from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. daily to help you solve gardening questions, provide information about biochar and tomato diseases, and share links and references to a wealth of University of Minnesota Extension garden information.  You may not find anything on a stick at this booth, but you'll find Extension Master Gardener volunteers eager to assist you.

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by Julie Weisenhorn, University of Minnesota Extension educator, horticulture

This year, one crop being trialed by Extension Master Gardeners is patio tomatoes. These are tomatoes developed to be grown in containers - smaller, more compact and prolific producers. Extension Master Gardener volunteers Clarie Kari, Lynn Meyer, and Anita Hoaglund, along with Extension educator Julie Weisenhorn, planted the trial tomatoes in large containers in the outdoor classroom of the Hort Science Display Garden on the St. Paul campus. The team is asking the public to rate the tomatoes via an online survey. Visitors can click on a QR Code with their smart phone or type in the survey link. The Extension Master Gardener campus trials team is looking forward to seeing how using this technology in the garden might help gather the public's taste preferences for the patio tomatoes.


JMG donation to Crow Wing EMGs P1010112 (1).jpgNearly 150 fifth grade students at Champlin-Brooklyn Park Academy for Math and Environmental Sciences in Champlin, MN walked across the stage on June 6 to receive their certificates and pins to become certified Junior Master Gardeners. As part of the event, they presented a check for $500 to Crow Wing County Extension Master Gardeners to start a Junior Master Gardener (JMG) program in Brainerd. The donation came as a result of the students' JMG service project.

The Junior Master Gardener program was integrated into the Academy's fourth and fifth grade science curriculum several years ago. It is comprehensive. Over the two-year period, students complete all the requirements to become a certified Junior Master Gardener. Through classroom activities, teaching gardens, independent work assignments and service projects, students learn not only about plant science, but see the curriculum integrated into math, language arts and other subjects.

Since the school program began, Extension Master Gardeners from Anoka and Hennepin Counties have collaborated with teachers to assist in delivering Junior Master Gardener classes. Extension Master Gardener volunteers from Hennepin County currently conduct month classes with each of the five 4th grade and five 5th grade classes. To achieve the service project requirement for the program, students grew seedlings and created hanging flower baskets for a plant sale. A portion of the proceeds of the sale go to a charitable group. This year students wanted the donation to go to an organization starting a Junior Master Gardener program. They chose the Crow Wing County Extension Master Gardeners who are making plans to initiate a JMG program in 2015.

Crow Wing County Extension Master Gardener volunteers, Coralee Fox and Ken Lueken, traveled from Brainerd to Champlin to participate in the June 6 ceremony and to receive the donation presented by Denise Schnabel, curriculum integrator at the Academy.

Welcome New State Advisory Board Members

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Thumbnail image for IMG_8072.JPGThe University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener State Advisory Board welcomed five new board members on June 13 at the first quarterly meeting of the 2014-2015 program year. Board members represent Extension Master Gardener volunteers in each of the five regions of University of Minnesota Extension.

The State Advisory Board provides input and recommendations to the state Extension Master Gardener staff about program visions, strategies and governing policies. Board members act as ambassadors of the statewide program. In 2014-2015 board members intend to increase communications and connections with local Extension Master Gardener groups within each member's region.

The current board is comprised of fourteen Extension Master Gardener volunteers, one county program coordinator, and four state staff representatives. Pictured above (l to r): David Moen (state program manager), Howard Markus (Washington Co.), Dave Knapp (Anoka Co.), Bob Azman (Ramsey Co), Melinda Ludwiczak (Hennepin Co.), Barb Gasterland (Hennepin Co.), Kit Sitter (Lake Co. & board chair), Rick Ellis (Stearns Co.), Diane Henry (Douglas Co.), Nancy Lizette Berlin (Goodhue Co. & board secretary), Paula Zollman (Olmsted Co.), Leslie Yetka (state education manager), (Bonita Kallestad, Kandiyohi Co.), Sue Riesgraf (Carver-Scott program coordinator), Tim Kenny (state director), and Diane Greiwe (state volunteer coordinator). Not pictured are Coralee Fox (Crow Wing Co. & board vice-chair) and Carol Rethemeier (East Otter Tail Co.).

P1150490.JPGDid you know that you can email your gardening questions to U of M Extension Master Gardeners - and get an answer by the next day?

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!

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