St. Croix Valley Master Gardeners

St. Croix Valley Master Gardeners (SCVMGA) was formed in 1997 and represents MGVs in both Pierce and St. Croix Counties. There are 201 members with 125 certified for 2015 and 22 trained in fall 2014.

In 2014 we volunteered 379 hours in youth education
815 hours in community education
6,055 hours in support service
and participated in 2,436 hours in continuing education

Major Accomplishments or Projects:

  1. Community Service Grants. Each year the association awards grants up to $250 to a wide variety of applicants to benefit community and civic gardening, area food projects, beautification, environmental stewardship and education. Many of the programs focus on educational opportunities for children that give them hands-on experience in gardening.
  2. Ask a Master Gardener. This year, MGVs again staffed booths at the Pierce and St. Croix County Fairs and at the weekly Hudson and River Falls Farmers Markets. Their presence at these booths encouraged others to garden as their questions were answered, information was provided and methods for growing, protecting, harvesting and even cooking their produce was provided.
  3. Seed Trials. The weather was a challenge in the second year of this project, with heavy rains and cool weather in early spring that reduced germination. Seeds tested included cilantro, sweet bell peppers, nasturtium, beets, kale, romaine lettuce, zucchini, and radish. The results of the trial will help individuals in their selection of the best varieties for success in their garden.
  4. Community Garden. Service days were held in the garden again this year with members of the community, including many young adults, joining the MGVs in working on the garden. Over 1,700 pounds of produce was donated to various food shelves and other organizations in the community.
  5. UW-River Falls Horticulture Scholarship. SCVMGA awarded its biennial $1,000 scholarship to a junior horticulture student at the University whose career goal is to become the “head of landscaping at Walt Disney World in Florida”.
  6. Plant Sale. The annual sale was held again at the Octagon House in Hudson. MGVs donated plants and were available to answer questions and to help with plant selection during the sale.
  7. Garden U and Monthly Education. These events are open to the public and provide information to both experienced MGVs and new gardeners. At Garden U, attended by 156 individuals this year, speakers provide information on horticultural topics while vendor booths provide access to new plant and seed varieties and information for the gardener.

Highlighted Project: Demonstration and Learning Garden in Hoffman Park, River Falls

This was the garden’s third year, improved by a new gate and garden markers made by a MGV and running water for the first time. Plants were grown from seed by high school students in Ellsworth. Fourteen varieties of cherry tomatoes ranging in color from lemon yellow to dark purple gave an opportunity for taste testing. Flowers were planted to attract pollinators and add color to the garden. A “tea garden” featuring plants that could be used to make herbal tea and a “soup garden” which held plants used to make a hearty vegetable soup were featured this year and recipes were provided. Fencing kept out the rabbits that raided the garden last year, but it didn’t stop the deer. Junior Garden U was held at the garden in June with 20 kids enjoying hands-on gardening experiences taught by MGVs; 4 mini-courses were conducted in the garden by UWEX; and in September, the Garden Walk provided a season wrap-up and walk through with the public. All of the produce was harvested by Grow to Share.