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Cathy Peck: Master Gardener volunteers offer numerous learning opportunities in 2013

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Beltrami County Master Gardeners will offer many opportunities to the community to learn about the joy and science of gardening.

As you can surmise, our weekly informational articles are returning in your local newspaper. Let us know if you find them helpful. Also returning will be monthly gardening information sessions on Chat About, KB-101, at about 12:30 p.m. on the second Monday of each month.

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On April 13 the group will host its semiannual Garden Party with keynote speaker, University of Minnesota Climatologist Mark Seeley, headlining the event. Another University of Minnesota Extension Educator, Jackie Froemming, will speak on weekend gardening, and two women from Jean’s Right Plant Place in Perham will do presentations on underused perennials and shade gardening. Watch for upcoming advertising, your mailbox for a brochure, or contact County Extension at 444-5722 to get information.

Beginning March 28 and continuing every two weeks through May 23, Master Gardeners will again be presenting a series of noontime gardening sessions at the Kitchigami Library Meeting Room. Topics covered will include growing sweet corn, growing raspberries, summer blooming bulbs, direct seeding annuals and perennials, and one on making sense of little-known gardening information. Watch for specific information and advertising about speakers, times and dates. These sessions are informal, free, and open to the public.

In early April, Master Gardeners will again offer another free service to the public. You can call our voice mail line to ask questions about your horticultural problems. We will try to solve your problem or direct you to a source of good, research-based information.

Beltrami County Master Gardeners will be speaking at workshops in other communities and may show up in unexpected places in our community just answering questions about our favorite summertime pursuit, growing vegetables, flowers, fruits, trees and shrubs. Master Gardeners have been known to answer questions in grocery stores, at sporting events, churches, in elevators, in bars, in public bathrooms – anyplace more than one person is gathered with a burning need to know why a plant is having problems or to brag about his/her biggest tomato.

In August, the group will again organize and man the horticultural area of the Beltrami County Fair. This is a great place to see the success of gardeners in our area or to show off your efforts in the competition for ribbons and prizes and fame! We may need help this year. Call us if you are interested.

If you have a suggestion about how we might educate the public about home horticulture, leave a message on our voice mail number at 444-7916. Our group numbers are reduced, limiting the extent that we can provide this all-volunteer service to the community. Should you be interested in learning more about this rewarding volunteer service, come to some of our events or contact us via e-mail to learn whether your latent horticultural passions could be quenched by becoming a Master Gardener in Minnesota.

Look for reliable horticulture information on the University of Minnesota Extension website at www.extension.umn.edu/gardeninfo, where there are many links to reliable information for those who live in our northern climate.

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