Join the ranks of Master Gardens

Published 9:58 am Saturday, September 7, 2019

The Mower County Master Gardeners have been planting and maintaining the Junior Garden at the Mower County Fairgrounds for the past 12 years.

Besides growing vegetables, the 80’ X 80’ enclosed garden has apple trees, an espalier plum tree, rhubarb, a monarch garden, a pond, fairy garden and a pollinator garden. The lawn is planted to a sustainable fescue mix which requires less mowing.

Half of the garden area is no-till which saves on labor. Produce harvested has benefitted the Mower County Senior Center and Salvation Army food shelf. Currently 100 pounds of produce are being harvested per week.

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This summer the Master Gardeners held classes for seven weeks with STEM students. They followed the “ Plants Alive” curriculum developed by the University of Minnesota. Each session included a science lesson, hands on lesson in the garden and a nutrition lesson. Produce was harvested by the students and taken home by them.

The final session was entering produce and flowers at the Mower County Fair. This resulted in one champion, one reserve champion, 12 blue and 10 red ribbons.

The Master Gardeners hosted an open house at the Junior Garden during the Mower County Fair. Activities included: Good Bug-Bad Bug, make a pressed flower card and playing “Are You Smarter Than a Master Gardener?”

Besides volunteering at the garden, Master Gardeners get involved in other community gardening projects such as teaching container gardening, plant propagation and pollinators. We also have a monthly radio show.

If you are looking for a rewarding volunteer project and you enjoy gardening, the Mower County Master Gardeners are looking for some new recruits to join their team. The cost to take the Master Gardener course is $320. You have the option to take the course online or at the Arboretum.

Volunteers are required to do 50 hours of volunteer work the first year, then 25 hours annually after the first year.

The deadline to enroll is Oct. 1, 2019. Please visit the University of Minnesota website for more information: or call the Extension office 507-437-9552.