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February 2010 Archives

Dreaming of your upcoming garden? Check out Emily Tepe's UMN Edible Landscape blog

Viajo a México

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I will be on vacation in Mexico March 3-12 - and I am not excited about this at all (yeah right!) Dave Moen will be in charge of the program in my absence and of course Bridget is right there as well to help you all out. I'll be back in my St. Paul office on March 15.

Bridget will be posting any new information as well core course scheduling changes here on my blog, so keep on checking it.

FYI .... Dave can be reached at; tel: 763-767-3874
Bridget can be reached at; tel: 612-625-4211
Two more PDFs have been added to help you navigate through the new online Volunteer Reporting Tool:How to Enter CE Hours and How to Update Your Contact Info & LISTSERV Settings. Here is the complete list of PDFs for you to click on and save / print:

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Does your Master Gardener group have a public or community garden site that is planted, managed and used by your group to educate the gardening public? We are looking for 8-10 Master Gardener groups around Minnesota to help spread the word about the Arboretum's 2010 "Powerhouse Plants Exhibition: Veggies By the Yard" by duplicating the exhibition in their communities.

The goals of this collaborative exhibit focus on:

  • encouraging Minnesotans to give gardening a try and include some edibles in their backyard gardens
  • demonstrating various designs and techniques including succession cropping, vertical growing, and soil improvement
  • tallying the weekly harvest and posting it on a statewide blog hosted by the MN Landscape Arboretum


The garden(s) must be planted in a location easily accessible to the general public (a demonstration garden, fairgrounds, arboretum, public garden site, community garden, etc.). Each dedicated planting area per design must be approximately 50 sq ft.

For each site, the Arboretum / Extension will provide the specific plants / seeds for the selected garden designs (see descriptions below), signage, and instructions for posting to the statewide blog.

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Responsibilities of participating Master Gardener volunteer groups:

  • planting the garden design(s)
  • blogging about what they see / don't see, pest issues, weather conditions, etc. on the statewide blog
  • tallying the produce harvested (weight, quantity) and record it on the blog as well as the produce matures.

Master Gardeners will receive volunteer hours for this activity and active MGs and interns alike may participate. You are welcome to incorporate these gardens into your educational sessions throughout the summer. This would be a good project for JMG groups!

If your Master Gardener group would like to participate, please email or call Julie Weisenhorn by March 15: 612-625-1925 or Participating groups will be selected based on the visibility of the planting site and the commitment of the MG volunteers involved to fulfilling the requirements (Tip: good planning goes a long way!)

The five garden designs:

Your MG group may choose to plant one or more of these designs provided you have enough space and volunteers.

Try a baker's dozen of the best crops for beginning gardeners, that are easy to start from seed and garden-store transplants. Plant it once, in late May.

Grow and harvest two seasons of fast-maturing vegetable crops from the same planting bed. Plant it full in early spring with cool-loving crops to pick in June; replant in mid-summer for a second fall harvest.

3. DIG IT!
Plant a garden bed of "buried treasure", filled with root and tuber crops that must all be unearthed at harvest-time.

Grow greens, tomatoes, cukes and more to fill your salad bowl all summer, with herbs and edible flowers for flavor and fun.

It's a selection of the best of the rest, including some unusual and less familiar crops. There's a whole world of intriguing plants used in other cultures and cuisines. Growing them and enjoying their unique flavors offers adventures for both gardeners and cooks.

This is indeed short notice, but I hope some of you can make it to this great learning opportunity. Bob Mugaas, Dean herzfeld and Randy nelson will be hosting a morning update on lawns and IPM for Master Gardeners in the Fargo / Moorhead area. There is no charge for this event and it counts as CE. Similar content will be taught by Bob at the MG Summer School coming up in Alexandria, the Arboretum and Rochester. The agenda is below, and location details can be found by calling Randy Nelson at 218-299-5020 or by email:


Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010
9 am - 12:30 pm

9:00 - 9:55 am - What's new and cool in home lawn care - Bob Mugaas
9:55 - 10:20  am - Q&A on home lawn care and home lawn pest mgmt - Bob Mugass

10:20 - 10:35 am - Break

10:35 am - 12:05 pm - Presentation / Q&A: pesticides, organics and IPM - Dean Herzfeld
12:05 - 12:30 pm - Open discussion / Q&A about today's topics - All
12:30 - Adjourn

We have finally completed some much-needed updating to our Volunteer Online Reporting Tool!

This has been a really big job. We have involved UMN IT staff, state program staff, a group of county coordinators, and the MG state advisory board members. My sincere thanks to everyone who has contributed to this project!

The goal was to make the system easier for you to report your hours, and to update it with more current tools. We also worked with the talented people on our college IT team and were able to eliminate added cost of an outside programmer. We made an effort to eliminate confusing terms and unnecessary processes and to ask you to report only the data that we need for reporting to Extension, the counties, and the federal government. Below are answers to a few common FAQs about why it's important to report your hours and what the heck we actually do with them! 

We also created some instruction sheets that you can print out and follow along (see Lessons 1-3 below).  These instructions are especially for the new MG Interns. Hope they are helpful. We'll be adding three more PDFs in the next few days: how to enter your CE hours; how to update your contact info and listserv options; how to sign up for statewide volunteer activities.

Like any new system, there may be a few glitches here and there. Please email those to me or post to this site and we'll see about getting them corrected right away.

Thank you again to everyone who helped on this project!

FAQs Master Gardener Online Reporting Tools.pdf

West Virginia Master Gardener West Virginia University Extension Service and the West Virginia Master Gardener Association invite you to join us at the 2011 International Master Gardener Conference, October 11 -14 in Charleston, West Virginia.

For more information:

Here's how to print out this blog:

The Blog Archives found by scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking on Archives. You'll see that the blog is conveniently archived by month/year. Click on the month / year you would like to print.

Print the archive to Adobe PDF. This print option is found in most computers by clicking on Print, then selecting Adobe PDF (or Adobe Acrobat Distiller) from the list of printer options.

Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader will automatically open up the PDF of the Archives. I've attached a sample:
Over the Backyard Fence Feb 2010.pdf.

You could post these PDFs on your e-newsletters or print them for other MGs without computer access.

Hope this helps you with getting the blogs out to all Master Gardeners!

webP1060651.JPGI consider myself very much the novice in the complex world of orchid growing, but I was practically drooling when I perused the fantastic specimens on exhibit in the Great Hall at the Arboretum. Anticipating lots of orchid questions in the next month, I added a few orchid resources to the Resource Library at the Yard & Garden Desk. Hopefully between these couple of books and the Web, Master Gardeners volunteering there will be able to handle most of the public's questions. At least you'll have a lovely view!

PS: Thanks to Chuck Mans, intern in Pine County, and Jayme Hennek, MG in Stearns County, for sharing your orchid expertise and enthusiasm with me. You got me hooked!
Many thanks to our own Lynne Hagen, Master Gardener program coordinator for Anoka County, for a cool, new teaching tool for Master Gardeners: "Noxious, Invasive, or Obnoxious Weeds: What's the Difference?" This was a project of Lynne's as part of her degree program, and it was reviewed by Bob Mugaas. It is ready for you to use - just in time for spring! Thanks again Lynne - and you too, Bob!

Instructor Guide for Noxious weed presentation.doc
Presentation - Noxious Weeds.ppt

If you have downloaded the new Master Gardener teaching tool, Plot Style Community Gardening in Minnesota that
I posted last week, be sure to go back to that posting and download the new handouts. The handouts feature plot designs for various kinds of garden plots including some I posted last week, be sure to go back to that posting and download the new handouts. The handouts feature plot designs for various kinds of garden plots including some vertical designs.
From the National Gardening Association website:

Click here for the full report:


Findings from the National Gardening Association's (NGA) new survey, The Impact of Home and Community Gardening in America, indicate that food gardening in the U.S. is on the rise. Seven million more households plan to grow their own fruits, vegetables, herbs, or berries in 2009 than in 2008 -- a 19 percent increase in participation. This anticipated increase is nearly double the 10 percent growth in vegetable gardening from 2007 to 2008 and reflects the number of new food gardeners emerging this year.

More Americans are recognizing the benefits of growing their own produce, including improved quality, taste, and cost savings. In 2008, gardeners spent a total of $2.5 billion to purchase seeds, plants, fertilizer, tools, and other gardening supplies to grow their own food. According to NGA estimates, on average a well-maintained food garden yields a $500 return when considering a typical gardener's investment and the market price of produce.

New UMN Extension Webpage!

Check out the newly designed UMN Extension webpage! Click on GARDEN for fast access to various UMN pubs, links, and Gardening Info Diagnostics.
Hey everyone: We are writing an article in the Yard & Garden News about techniques gardeners use to extend the growing season. I'd like to hear from you! Please comment on this post and tell me how you extend the growing season in your neck of the woods. Thank You!
PS: To comment, just click on the word Comment under the title of this posting.

A new presentation on "Fruits" is coming! Sorry for the delay.
A great publication on diseases of vegetables and fruits by our own Carl Rosen and Peter Bierman: Diagnosing Nutrient Disorders in Fruit and Vegetable Crops

Created by Kelsey Sparks and Charlene Gruber, Master of Ag students in our department, this presentation, Plot Style Community Gardening in MN, was created for YOU, Master Gardeners, to have as a teaching tool. It is designed to help you teach community gardeners about being part of a community garden, how to plan their plots, and about the maintenance of their new gardens throughout the season. Have fun!


Plot design - Canning Garden.pdf

Home Herbicide Update Article

Here is a great article from Bob Mugaas and Dr. Brian Horgan, Turf Science Program.
Review and Update of Control Products.pdf

How do you keep track of what you do in your garden? I am writing to share a survey targeted to gardening enthusiasts. The survey is part of a University of Minnesota student's capstone project for her Master of Ag in Horticulture degree. Her project centers on developing an online tool to track gardening efforts. The purpose of the survey is to understand if and how gardeners track and record their gardening efforts. It is a short survey and all responses are anonymous. Here is the link:
If you decide to complete the survey, your participation is greatly appreciated by the student. Thanks for your help!

The presentations Shrubs 1 & 2 are up and working. Thanks for your patience!
Check out the NEW Woodland Advisor website at
Interested in classes? When you get there, click on the tab for CLASSES to select the title of the class and additional details will be displayed.

The February issue of the University of Minnesota Yard & Garden News is now available for you to enjoy and learn about some of the latest horticultural research and happenings coming from the University of Minnesota./

To access the Yard and Garden News directly:<>

Happy news!

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Michelle Grabowski and Jose Hernandez are happy to announce the birth of their son Mateo Emil Hernandez. He was born in Saint Paul, MN last Saturday, January 30 at 9:42am. He weighted 7 lb 9 oz, and was 20 inches tall. Mateo, Michelle and Jose are all happy and doing very well. PS: Michelle was scheduled to teach core course that day - wouldn't that have been exciting!

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