Lake Superior Master Gardeners

Lake Superior Master Gardener Association (LSMGA), with members from Superior, Duluth, and the Upper St. Croix River Basin of Douglas Co., had 47 members with 14 certified for 2015 and 9 students in Level 1 training class.

In 2014 we volunteered 29 hours in youth education
189 hours in community education
1,033 hours in support service
and participated in 448 hours in continuing education

LSMGA exists to increase horticultural success and practice in Douglas County. This year our members were introduced to a beginning herbal medicine group and have participated in and hosted several plant identification walks, and attended a conference specifically for those interested in healing horticulture and traditional Native American medicinal plants. We look forward to using our new knowledge to expand the meaning and application of horticulture to the community.

Major Accomplishments or Projects:

  1. Superior Public Library Garden. Working with the librarians, LSMGVs continued their two year flowerbed makeover effort at the Superior Public Library. Each year, we have divided and thinned the beds and added more perennials to enhance the gardens on the library property. Last year, iris divisions were sold as a fundraiser to purchase compost and perennials for the library.
  2. Solid Rock Food Garden. Working with Northwest Community Service Agency, MGVs grew food to feed the hungry and offer regular gardening advice to the public each Tuesday evening at the gardens throughout the summer. The 2014 harvest brought in over 900 pounds of fresh vegetables, fruits and root crops for the soup kitchen and food shelf.
  3. Ask A Master Gardener. LSMGA has staffed a booth at the Llamas First Harvest Festival for the last two years. This festival is a fundraiser for the North Central Windows Program (NCWP) in Douglas Co., a free program that uses art as a source of healing for victims of violence, mainly women and children. We sold plants, provided information on the emerald ash borer, powdery and downy mildews, and gave out recipes for a variety of garden veggies and herbs. This year refreshing herb- and edible flower-infused water was offered at the booth.
  4. Master Composters. Several demonstrations and workshops have been held to engage homeowner and gardeners, including a workshop with the City of Superior, demonstrations at the farmers market and Ask a Master Composter at the Wentworth Harvest Fest. A compost bin demonstration was built at the Broadway Community Gardens for education and use.

Highlighted Project: Invasive Species in the Twin Ports

The Twin Ports of Superior and Duluth host the busiest harbor on the Great Lakes, and as such has the potential to be an entry place for invasive species. This year the community was introduced to the impact of the emerald ash borer which likely had reached the county in wood products delivered to the ports. MGVs had been educating themselves in preparation for the inevitable infestation and loss of stately ash trees. LSMGVs have been attending the City Tree Board meetings to learn about tree maintenance and removal plans, and using their knowledge to assist homeowners in making choices for treating or removing affected trees.

In addition, several MGVs are increasing their awareness of other invasive species threats. We have become educated as Wisconsin First Detectors, participated in the Upper Midwest Invasive Plant Network, and helped to answer homeowner questions at emerald ash borer field trips and community meetings. We anticipate this need to educate about invasive species will increase as the spread of emerald ash borer becomes more evident across the north woods and other unwanted species arrive.