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Published March 10, 2010, 12:00 AM

Let's get growing - learn about gardens

It’s that time of year again. Spring is just around the corner, seeds are ordered, and local master gardener groups are gearing up for their annual education days.

By: By Robin Trott, Extension Educator, Alexandria Echo Press

It’s that time of year again. Spring is just around the corner, seeds are ordered, and local master gardener groups are gearing up for their annual education days.

The Douglas County Master Gardener (DCMG) group is no exception. On Saturday, March 27, DCMGs present Let’s Get Growing at Alexandria Technical College Office and Information Technology Center. This daylong event from 7:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. includes a selection of 26 different workshop topics and keynote speaker, Jeff Gilman, author of the books The Truth About Garden Remedies, The Truth About Organic Gardening and How Trees Die.

Let’s Get Growing has something for everyone, from the novice to the experienced gardener. Participants will be able to attend five different workshop sessions, which include such topics as containers, perennials, garden design, emerald ash borer updates, and gardening basics. If you’re interested in bluebirds, want to know more about local foods, or learn about holistic health in the garden, there’s a session for you.

Between sessions, visit our vendors with gardening items for sale, and booths with up-to-date gardening information. After lunch, which is included with admission, head over to the auditorium for our keynote address. Gilman is an associate professor of horticultural science at the University of Minnesota, and is our resident “myth buster” when it comes to garden practices and home remedies.

You’ve seen all kinds of recommendations for your garden: baking soda for black spot, sugar for feeding your plants, or eggshells to stop slugs. But which work and which don’t? In his address, Gilman will break down the practices used in the garden and explain why they’re great – or not.

“I believe strongly in organic gardening, but I think that, over the years, the meaning of the word organic has been used for some pretty marginal products and practices,” he said.

For more information about Gilman and his work, visit his website at www.jeffgillman.net.

Early bird registration is $20 if received prior to March 17. Registrations received after March 17 or sold at the door will be $25. Registration includes refreshments, lunch and workshop sessions. To register or to receive more information, contact the Douglas County Extension Office at (320) 762-3890. You may also register at the Douglas County Extension Office located in the Douglas County Service Center building at 720 Fillmore Street or online at www.extension.umn.edu/county/douglas.

For additional garden education opportunities, check out: http://northerngardener.org/index.asp and click on Classes/Programs and Calendar and http://www.arboretum.umn.edu/ and click on Learn.

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