The Master Gardener Program in Polk County started in 2001. Over 150 people have been trained since that time, and there are currently 17 certified Master Gardener Volunteers (MGVs) for 2016. The UW-Extension staﬀ member facilitating the MG Program is Wendy Linke.
Volunteer Service in 2016
|Youth Education||31 hours|
|Adult Education||46 hours|
Since 2000: 10,876 hours at a value of over $195,289
* using the current estimated dollar value of volunteer time in Wisconsin of $22.48 per hour, from Independent Sector. Cumulative value based on previous annual estimates.
Where you can find activities by MGVs
- Garfield Park Gardens
- Polk County Fair Grounds, St. Croix Falls
- Endeavors Greenhouse
- Sophie’s Manor
- Balsam Lake Library
- Luck Campground
- Luck Library
- Balsam Lake Signs
Assisted Living Home Gets Fresh Produce
MGVs planted and maintained two raised beds at Sophie’s Manor, an assisted living home in Centuria. They grew pumpkins, squash, carrots, tomatoes, and green beans. Whenever residents were outside they were encouraged to come to the garden and MGVs engaged them according to their abilities. All the produce grown was used in the facility by staﬀ and residents.
Contributing to Research on Plants for the Area
The St. Croix Valley MG Association has conducted seed trials for the last four years to evaluate vegetable, herb, and flower varieties to determine their suitability for growing in western Wisconsin. Evaluation data includes germination rate, growing habits, flavor, size, color and texture. This year MGVs in Polk County participated in the seed trials. Most had successful plantings but other seeds did not even germinate. The information and observations gathered in this research project will enable MGVs to make better recommendations about which varieties to grow (or avoid) in home and community gardens locally.
Community Garden Produces
MGVs planted and maintained two raised beds in a community garden near the Amery Hospital & Clinic. In addition to growing an abundance of vegetables, they also were available to answer questions and educate other gardeners maintaining plots there. All of the produce from the two beds was donated to the Amery Food Shelf and Riverbend, an assisted living facility in Amery that provides daily meals for residents.