Master Gardeners Present Mock Check To Commissioner’s Court
Hunt County Master Gardener Association President Byron Chitwood presents County Judge John Horn with a “mock check” in acknowledgment of the $107,000 of volunteer time contributed by the Master Gardeners to Hunt County in 2009. The presentation was made to the Hunt County Commissioners Court, where the court honored Master Gardeners with a Certificate of Appreciation.
Commissioners Court Presentation by Sara Allen, County Extension Agent – Agriculture Hunt County
2010 “Art of Gardening” Off To A Good Start
Though only 23 people had pre-registered, Hunt County Master Gardeners’ quarterly “Art of Gardening” talk at the W.
Walworth Harrison Library in Greenville, Texas experienced record attendance after 97 people signed in. The topic seemed to be timely, since the economy is motivating more and more people to learn how to grow their own vegetables, or to learn about new techniques that have come along in recent years. “Square Foot Gardening: How to grow twice as much in half the space, reduce watering by half, and eliminate weeding” was the title of the talk on January 21st. When people hear they can have a garden a little bigger than a large card table and grow 16 different plants in an area that small, they’re intrigued. In addition, there’s no need to use one’s own soil: this is “above ground” planting that requires no tilling or other heavy tools. A 6” high raised bed is constructed right on top of your own little plot of grass, if necessary, and the raised bed can be done in a box that’s waist-high for older gardeners with arthritis, or for people in wheelchairs.
This informative seminar was given excellent media coverage when the local Greenville radio station ran continuous ads during the week before the talk. The Greenville Herald Banner announced the talk and ran two informative newspaper articles close to the date of the talk as well. Master Gardeners also engaged in their own “media blitz” by e-mailing to any possible prospects the attractive flyer that had been created for the event.
The 22-minute video that the author, Mel Bartholemew produced, covers everything you need to know to use this approach to planting. People are usually surprised to hear his book is the biggest selling gardening book in the country, since so few people have heard of this “non-traditional and non-row-type” planting. The speaker, Pat Abramson, is a ten-year veteran square foot gardener, demonstrated how one would construct a “vertical trellis” on one side of the 4’ x 4’ garden plot. She also demonstrated how one can incorporate the square foot method into existing flower or herb beds.
Free seeds were given out, refreshments were served, and handouts included Spring and Fall vegetable planting dates. The door prize given away consisted of a Square Foot Gardening book as well as garden accessories and tools.
The evaluation of this seminar produced outstanding results such as: “97% have a better understanding of square foot method compared to row planting”
The next “Art of Gardening” talk is also expected to have record numbers of attendees, since it is being repeated after its huge popularity last year: Byron Chitwood will be speaking on growing tomatoes and vegetables in the spring garden and explaining various ways of composting. It is scheduled to be held at a larger facility to accommodate the larger numbers of local residents who are finding these topics very timely.
Gardeners Giving Back…
Hunt County Master Gardeners recently donated two best-selling gardening books to the W. Walworth Harrison Public Library in Greenville. From left, Sherry Thomason, Master Gardener, Paul Phelan, Library Director, Sara Allen, County Extension Agent, and Byron Chitwood, 2010 president of the Hunt County Master Gardeners, preview the new books including Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space by Mel Barthelomew and Doug Welsh’s Texas Garden Almanac. Master Gardeners in conjunction with the library present quarterly gardening programs of interest to area residents. On Thursday, January 21, at 6PM the first program of the year will be “Square Foot Gardening: How to Grow Twice as Much in Half the Space, Reduce Watering by Half, and Eliminate Weeding”.