ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

MASTER GARDENER: The region hosts a variety of opportunities to learn about gardening

For me, county fairs are a celebration of the rural arts. I love rural America and I love to participate in this celebration by turning out to see the abundance that our local area can produce, and in turn, I like to bring my own garden produce to show others what we are capable of growing.

Master Gardeners web art
We are part of The Trust Project.

It shouldn’t surprise anybody that a former high school agriculture teacher would like to write about educational opportunities for gardeners. The first opportunity I would like to discuss is the county fairs throughout northern Minnesota.

For me, county fairs are a celebration of the rural arts. I love rural America and I love to participate in this celebration by turning out to see the abundance that our local area can produce, and in turn, I like to bring my own garden produce to show others what we are capable of growing.

The Beltrami County Fair is set for Aug. 10-14, so if you are not already preparing exhibits you are probably too late to prepare for showing this year. But it is a great time to think about exhibiting next year. At last year’s Beltrami County Fair I saw statice flowers on the Table of Champions and I decided to grow them this year.

They look like dandelions in the early stages of growth and mine were nearly pulled for looking like weeds. I also saw the competition for the combination flower/vegetable containers. I hope that one of my six attempts will be good enough to enter this week.

Exhibitors are asked to write the variety names on their exhibit tags so people can see what varieties are performing the best. I have noticed that I always win when I show Sugarsnax carrots and I never win when I show other varieties.

ADVERTISEMENT

I must add that Sugarsnax requires deep soil which I have and a lot of north central Minnesota gardeners wish they had. Premium list specifications sometimes favor certain varieties of vegetables. I doubt that I will win red onions with the Blush variety because they are not as dark red as the judges like.

The horticultural exhibits are watched over by the Master Gardeners in green aprons and the Bemidji Garden Club in blue aprons. Feel free to ask them your gardening questions and consider joining one of the clubs for year-round learning opportunities.

The Master Gardeners are looking for new members at this time of year. To become a member, people need to be approved by a local committee, take an online class from the University of Minnesota and pass the tests.

Then they need to perform a specified number of volunteer hours every year. They are affiliated with the University of Minnesota and try to fill the void left when we lost so many agricultural extension agents.

The Bemidji Garden Club is affiliated with the Minnesota Horticultural Society and has monthly meetings, affordable dues, and is open to anyone who enjoys sharing ideas about gardening.

They maintain some flowerbeds as community service and provide educational activities for their membership. I enjoy being a member of both organizations.

The North Central Research and Outreach Center in Grand Rapids is worthy of visiting every year. They have their annual Visitor’s Day from 3 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 25.

You can visit the center any time but you won’t get the expert tours or a "hay ride" that will appeal to the younger members of the family on any other day. The plant variety trials and other experiments will put you on the leading edge of knowledge about horticulture.

ADVERTISEMENT

The crown jewel of Minnesota horticulture is the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska just west of the Twin Cities. You can even get there without going into the metro area.

It is a cooperative effort between the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Horticultural Society.

Check out their website to plan a visit. I haven’t mentioned the Minnesota State Fair or the many private and municipal gardens around the state because I haven’t had time to do the research and make the visits. Maybe someday I can write about them also.

These local garden articles will reach you each week throughout the gardening season, but gardening information can be found year-round by clicking on "Yard and Garden” at the University of Minnesota Extension website, www.extension.umn.edu, or by visiting our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Beltramicountymastergardeners.

Local Master Gardeners will respond to questions via voicemail. Call (218) 444-7916 and leave your name, number and question.

Related Topics: GARDENINGBELTRAMI COUNTY
What To Read Next
The Parkinson's Support Group is set to meet at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at Sanford Health Windsong, 1010 Anne St. NW.
Bemidji Chamber Ambassadors recently congratulated leaders of Aurora Waasakone Community of Learners on opening their new school, located at 3604 Bemidji Ave. North, in Bemidji.
Students in the news
The Headwaters Quilt Guild of Bemidji will host its monthly meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 7, at A Stitch in Time, 200 Paul Bunyan Drive S, Suite No. 2.