Polk County Master Gardeners

The Polk County Master Gardener Association (PCMGA) had 17 members in 2014, with 13 certified for 2015. We are hoping to retain many of the 12 who took MG training this fall.

In 2014 we volunteered 45 hours in youth education
241 hours in community education
187 hours in support service
and participated in 283 hours in continuing education

Weather was a big challenge this year, with a very wet spring and cool summer. This was an opportunity to discuss what was growing and what was not. We are sad to report that our Ag Agent has taken a new job and has moved, leaving us without an advisor (again) until that position can be refilled.

Major Accomplishments or Projects:

  1. Habitat for Humanity. One of our educational speakers this year was from Habitat for Humanity. They told us about what they do and were looking for a possible partnership in working with the new homeowners teaching them how to prepare their yard for planting grass seed, as well as landscaping and basic gardening. One of our members is well versed on turf grass and has agreed to be the coordinator with Habitat. In addition to making a small donation toward the cost of seed, we were able to help one family, along with 14 high school volunteers from the Crex Meadows summer intern program, get their lawn in for their new home. We are hoping to continue to work with Habitat in the future.
  1. Polk County Fair. We continued our game of “Are you Smarter than a Master Gardener” at the County Fair, offering a packet of seeds to those answering 7 out of 10 questions correctly. Again, there were questions for young and old alike. We continue to maintain gardens at the fairgrounds and Garfield Park.
  2. Providing Horticulture Education. In an effort to focus on horticulture education, three MGVs gave presentations to our MGA throughout the year. To continue this focus we are working with the local library to give a monthly presentation on a different topic each time in conjunction with their book sales, starting in January. This will be advertised to the public, encouraging them to bring questions for the MGVs to answer. To help our presenters become more comfortable with public speaking, we have assigned topics to those MGVs who will make a short presentation at each meeting to practice their presentation skills.
  3. Answering Questions. MGVs assisted in answering various homeowner gardening questions that came in to the UW-Extension office during the growing season.
  4. Continuing Education. A group of MGVs attended the Twilight Tour at the Spooner Ag Station in August. This is particularly educational for our MGVs because it focuses on plants that are suitable for the growing conditions in Northwestern Wisconsin as well as the insect and disease problems affecting this area and what to watch for.

Highlighted Project: Osceola Wellness Fair

This was a new event for us, with a booth staffed by MGVs to answer questions and distribute horticulture information. One of our members put together 100 packets that included 3 different succulent plants, soil and a container and demonstrated to the younger attendees how to plant these plants when they got home. Information on the next MG training class was provided to several people as well.