Grant County Master Gardeners

Grant County had 31 members, including 18 certified for 2015 and 6 interns who took training this year.

In 2014 we volunteered 112 hours in youth education
139 hours in community education
1,254 hours in support service
and participated in 594 hours in continuing education

Our association formed in 2001 and our membership is mostly retired folks who have the time for volunteering. We meet ten times during the year where we provide program speakers or tours on various horticultural topics that would qualify for continuing education hours; in addition, we hold events such as bus tours and a plant sale that involves majority of our membership.

Major Accomplishments or Projects:

  1. Annual Bus Tour. This year 42 participants joined 13 MGVs to visit Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville, Agrecol, and K & A Greenhouse. The tour at Agrecol was educational for those interested in incorporating native plants in their landscape, and we learned how they harvest their seeds. Our final stop was a shopping spree with a general discount offered by K & A Greenhouse.
  2. Katie’s Garden. Five MGVs created attractive and educational containers in this part of the Platteville Arboretum Trail, focusing on plants that are beneficial for hummingbirds and butterflies and ornamental edible plants. We created laminated tags, which gave descriptions of the plants and suggestions on how to use the plants to attract pollinators.
  3. Making Compost in the Backyard. The GCMGA hosted this composting seminar on July 17 at the Lancaster Ag Research Station. Seminar speaker Joe Van Rossum, the state Master Composter Program Coordinator, showed how to easily start a compost pile, with MGVs contributing waste from their kitchens. Based on the responses and requests for handouts from 25 attendees, participants will likely try composting themselves.
  4. Apple Pruning Workshop. We have hosted this event for several years. Attendance was low this year due to late spring weather and snowdrifts still on the ground. Our presenter, a MGV and apple grower, had to create paths in the snow in order to host this workshop in his orchard. Despite the conditions, it was apparent that pruning could not be put off, as the trees were showing growth and must be pruned when dormant. Everyone got hands-on practice in pruning fruit trees.
  5. Garden Tours. In June, our garden walk in Platteville included three locations that featured fairy gardens. In spite of having two tornadoes hitting Platteville and media advertising that the town was shut down, 25 visitors enjoyed viewing the gardens. We featured videos about fairy gardens on our web site. In August, we offered another garden walk at Fennimore with two private gardens and ended the tour at Marsden Park, which featured gardens maintained by a MGV.

Highlighted Project: Educational Booth at Home and Outdoor

The GCMGA participated in the Home and Outdoor Show sponsored by our local radio station in March featuring local vendors marketing home and garden products. Our educational booth focused on “How to Grow and Use Fresh Herbs”. We had handouts covering growing herbs, as well as material about our upcoming events, and pertinent handouts on gardening. We had drawings for door prizes and provided one-on-one expert advice. The first 125 visitors to the booth received a 4-inch pot of basil, cilantro, oregano, or parsley (purchased from a local nursery). We selected these common herbs because they would be easy to grow and use in recipes. The 8 MGVs who participated were amazed at the questions and comments we received about growing herbs that covered what kind, how to use, how to harvest and how to plant. Approximately 250 people stopped at the booth during the 6 hour show.