Ask a Master Gardener

Did you know that we have a great community of Mecklenburg County Extension Master Gardenersm (EMG) volunteers?  Each year, about twenty people take the training to become EMG interns.   Eventually, they move on to becoming one of about 100 active EMGs, answering gardening and plant care questions, and volunteering in the community with school gardens and other educational opportunities.  They’re a wonderful resource, and I am familiar first-hand because I am an EMG.  Helping others has helped me to learn, and I also learn about plants and gardening from EMGs who are more tenured.  The EMGs help me when I don’t know what’s wrong with a plant in my vegetable garden, or if I’ve found a pest that I can’t identify or don’t know how to deal with.   To reach an EMG during the week, call the Mecklenburg County Extension Master Gardenersm Hotline at 704-336-4011.

For more about them, see the NC State University and A&T State University Cooperative Extension.

For those of you working on your gardens this spring, EMG volunteers will be available in the Greenery Shed (at the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market, 1801 Yorkmont Road) on May 8, 2010.  EMGs will:

  • Provide research-based horticulture and environmental information
  • Answer your gardening and lawn care questions
  • Have an educational exhibit explaining the importance of plant selection in creating a sustainable, beautiful landscape
  • Offer a wide selection of annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees for sale from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.  These plants are propagated from the EMGs’ own gardens.  Proceeds from the plant sale go to raise money for educational programs that the EMGs offer within the community.

Also, look for the Master Gardener info booth at the Greenery Shed on the following Saturdays:  June 5, July 17, August 21 and September 11.

May 8th is also Plant & Garden day at the Matthews Farmers Market.  From the special events page on their website:

“Sure, there will be lots of great plants to choose from, but this is also a wonderful opportunity for young and old alike to learn about some of the fascinating aspects of gardening, recycling and the environment. We’ve pulled together a group of experts that will make for a fun and informative morning!

  • 8am – Carol Buie-Jackson, co-founder of Habitat and Wildlife Keepers (H.A.W.K) will talk about the National Wildlife Federation Community Certification program for Matthews called “Matthews Naturally.” She is a Habitat Steward with the National Wildlife Federation and a Master Composter Instructor for Mecklenburg County. Carol publishes a video blog called Smell Like Dirt with green living and sustainable gardening tips meant to encourage people to reconnect with the nature in their own backyard.
  • 9am – Gardening expert John Smethurst will show how propagating plants is an easy way to an affordable garden. He will also discuss the basics of garden design and give away some free plants to audience members.
  • 10am – Master Composter Debbie Foster will not only show you how to compost kitchen and yard waste, but how to compost using worms, or vermiculture. Children of all ages will love watching the wiggly things work at 10am.
  • 10:30am – Farmer-led seed planting for kids. Nancy Mundorf of Nut Hill Farm will guide children in planting vegetable seeds in soil-filled peat pots that they can take home and nurture. When the plant starts to grow, they can be planted in a garden or large planter.
  • Got an interest in organic gardening? Then stop by the table manned by organic gardening expert Don Boekelheide. Don is a variety tester and the Piedmont region’s contributor to Organic Gardening magazine. He also is director of the community gardens program at the Urban Ministry Center and an organic gardening teacher at Central Piedmont Community College.
  • Stop at the Master Gardeners of Mecklenburg County booth. They have lots of plants for sale and information on how to become a master gardener.”
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