"Lo, Children Are An Heritage of the LORD: and the Fruit of the Womb is His Reward" - Psalm 127:3

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Me, the Future Master Gardener

So you all remember my miserable failure at gardening last year, don't you? Okay, so it would have been okay if everything hadn't frosted over Labor Day while I was out of town. But, I've never had the great success my parents had in our home garden when we lived in Nebraska when I was a child. I figured a class on gardening, especially one specific to our local climate, soil, temperature and elevation would be a great help.

So I signed up for the Master Gardener class sponsored by our county weed and pest office. At the time I signed up for it, I assumed it would be a "basics of gardening" specific to our local area. It is, and SO much more. As soon as I arrived for the first class last night, I felt overwhelmed. Most of the people there were at least 10-20 years older than me, members of our local garden club, and had been successfully gardening for a number of years - one for over 40 years. I wondered if I ought to leave while my hundred dollar bill was still in my pocket (that was the fee for the class). This class meets every week through March, and according to the syllabus we will be covering some very detailed information concerning soil pH, entomology, determining soil types, botany, etc.

I really felt overwhelmed when the text books were handed out. I put the gluestick in the picture so you can get a sense of how large this 500! page book is.

See all the reading I have to do over the next month and a half? My goal was to be able to grow vegetables for my family - and maybe a few fruits too. Anyway, I figured it was worth staying for the first class, and by the end I was sold. What a wealth of information. Last night we covered the basics of vegetable gardening and a great introduction to composting. I gotta say I never thought I would be all that interested in creating a pile of rotting organic material in my yard, but I'm definitely going to try this. (Though I'm grappling with what the difference was between a compost pile and a silage pile, which we had on the farm and used for feeding the cows! Same basic idea, minus the aeration.) I'm excited to learn more.

This chapter on growing vegetables was the one I thought would be most helpful to me, but the material we covered last night proved me wrong. We discussed lawn and tree health last night, and I realized that it was invaluable information given the fact that we have a new home coming in that will need landscaping. There is so much to learn, but instead of feeling overwhelmed, I am excited. Can't wait to try my hand at these new techniques. Oh, and at the end of the class, if I do 40 hours of volunteer work I will get the designation of "Master Gardener." Fun!