Jefferson County Master Gardeners

The Jefferson Co. MGVA had 31 certified MGVs, with additional participation from inactive and intern members; 29 MGVs are certified for 2015.

In 2014 we volunteered 611 hours in youth education
749 hours in community education
1,339 hours in support service
and participated in 541 hours in continuing education

Our meetings are on the second Thursday of the month at the Jefferson Co. UW-Extension office, but summer meetings are potluck, ‘garden tour’ meetings at MGV’s homes or project sites. The MGA has continued support of existing projects, with particular growth in projects at our youth gardens at Jefferson West Elementary and the Lake Mills Activity Center, as well as the Jefferson Rock River Community Garden.

Major Accomplishments or Projects:

  1. Hoard Historical Museum, Fort Atkinson. The Museum garden program included 8 presentations at the Museum by MGVs on a variety of horticultural topics, as well as lectures for outside groups about the intersectional peonies in the Anderson Peony Garden. The Herb Seminar included a demo in the museum herb garden and hands-on workshop for essential oils and drying.
  2. Rotary Waterfront Park, Jefferson. The addition of a concert stage and building required a redesign of gardens and borders. A team of 7 MGVs and 4 other volunteers cleared brush, started a small rose garden, and planted and maintained perennial and annual beds. Students from the Jefferson HS Ag Dept. raised annuals from seeds provided by the JCMGV, and student Rotarians helped with spring clean-up.
  3. Jefferson Rock River Community Garden. This project is now transitioning to be managed by the community gardeners who use it. 4 MGVs were involved this year in working with the City Parks and Rec department to plan, move materials such as rocks, compost, and mulch, and then plant a memorial ‘Pink Garden’ to enhance the entrance and street appeal of the garden.
  4. Jefferson County Fair. The JCMGVA annually organizes much of the horticulture department of the fair. Two MGVs are Plant Crops Superintendents, working year-round on the junior and open class fair book, and are responsible for organizing and recording the judging and other activities. During the fair, pairs of MGVs answer questions and offer information about horticulture issues.
  5. Ongoing Projects. Most of our other projects have one or two MGVs working with organizations that have public spaces, such as area churches, a library, YMCA, police station, prairie preserve, and several schools. They also staff information booths at 3 local Farmer and 2 Winter Markets, work with local 4-H members, provide plants and volunteer at plant sales, and do other activities.

Highlighted Project: WE GROW (West Elementary Garden and Recycle Organic Waste)

This project has been growing since its start as a 2011 After School Program at Jefferson West Elementary School. This year 43 Summer and 52 After School students participated. The After School Club planted potatoes, harvesting over 70 pounds; made seed tapes; created signs to mark crops; planted fall bulbs; carved pumpkins and saved seeds; and did their own fall clean-up. The Watch It Grow summer school students, formally taught by a MGV, and assisted by others, learned about using mulch; planted seeds and tried straw bale gardening; planted and took home annuals; and decorated the new garden shed. The garden was enlarged to 40 by 90 feet with the addition of a fence partially provided by a United Way Pillar Grant. A handicap accessible garden table was purchased with help of a WIMGA grant. Planned improvements include perennial plants such as rhubarb, asparagus, and raspberries; a monarch butterfly way station; and partnership with Jefferson High School students.