University of Wyoming Extension News

Green thumbs gather in Sheridan March 13-15

Master Gardeners offer plants to sell at a farmers market in Laramie.

Master Gardeners offer plants to sell at a farmers market in Cheyenne.

Wyoming Master Gardeners and big screen superheroes use different tools in combat, but they share a common goal: better the lives of others.

Yes, when facing Wyoming’s brutal winters, droughts, short growing seasons, pests and scouring winds, these volunteerswith green thumbs engage Mother Nature in hand-to-hand battles.

“Gardening in Wyoming is completely different than anywhere else,” said Chris Hilgert, Wyoming Master Gardener coordinator with University of Wyoming Extension. “Living up to the Master Gardener title is a challenge when you are facing an unforgiving growing environment. This program is important because we teach gardeners in Wyoming how to overcome the wind, dry conditions and lack of rain.”

Hilgert explained the use of greenhouses, high tunnels, and other techniques are often recommended and taught by Master Gardeners to extend Wyoming’s short growing season and evade its harsh conditions.

Anyone interested in becoming a Master Gardener or learning techniques to overcome gardening obstacles can attend the 2014 Wyoming Master Gardeners and Wyoming Farmers Marketing Association Joint Conference in Sheridan March 13-15.

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Science program provides students Mother’s Day gifts

Brensyn Baker focuses on the red wiggler he pulled from the compost bucket.

Brensyn Baker focuses on the red wiggler he pulled from the compost bucket.

A seed planted in 2007 continues to blossom for Master Gardeners – and delight mothers – in Powell.

The program teaching local students about plants started seven years ago after a Thanksgiving dinner discussion between Bob Prchal, Park County Master Gardener, and his sister, Judy DeBock, a second grade elementary education teacher at Parkside Elementary. They wanted to expose children to an age-appropriate, first grade science program.

Two first grade classes started the program, and the Master Gardeners now reach up to 10 classes. The children are taught the six basic plant parts, the purpose of good bugs and bad bugs, special plant characteristics, importance of worms, bug cages and transplanting.

Students receive instruction in the greenhouse at the University of Wyoming Powell Research and Extension Center (PREC).

“The plants, varying from a vegetable to an annual flower mix, give the childrenhands- on experiences to apply concepts taught in class as well as a Mother’s Day gift after the plants are acclimated,” said Prchal.

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Park County extension offers Master Gardener training

Master Gardener training with hands-on instruction from University of Wyoming Extension horticultural experts starts March 5 in Cody.

“This is an excellent opportunity for people who love gardening to learn more about horticulture, network with local gardeners and serve their communities,” said Sandra Frost, extension educator.

Training sessions are 9 a.m.-noon Tuesdays and Thursdays, March 5-April 30, in the basement of the Park County Courthouse in Cody.

The fee is $125 for those intending to become Master Gardeners and $225 for those not intending to become Master Gardeners. Trainees will receive a “UW Sustainable Horticulture Handbook,” one soil test and classroom materials.

 

“The course will be 48 hours of gardening classes on a variety of topics, including soils, insects, plant diseases, integrated pest management, vegetable and flower gardening, lawns, pruning and more,” said Frost. “The class is open to the general public as well as to those wishing to become Master Gardeners.”

Applications are available at the Powell extension office or at the Cody office in the basement of the Park County Courthouse.

For more information and to register, call Frost at 307-754-8836 or 307-527-8836 or email her at sfrost1@uwyo.edu.

Hot Springs County extension provides Master Gardener training

Barton Stam

Barton Stam

Training to become a Master Gardener or to learn more about gardening begins Monday,March 4, offered by the Hot Springs County office of the University of Wyoming Extension.

Training sessions are 9 a.m.-noon Mondays and Wednesdays March 4-April 29 in Thermopolis.

“Attendees will get 48 hours of training on multiple topics including soils, insect control, plant diseases, integrated pest management, vegetable and flower gardening, lawns, pruning and more,” said Barton Stam, extension educator. “Anyone is welcome to join, especially those striving to become Master Gardeners.”

The course fee is $125 for those intending to become Master Gardeners and $225 for those not intending to become Master Gardeners. The fee includes the “UW Sustainable Horticulture Handbook,” one soil test and classroom materials.

“The training enables people who love gardening to learn more about horticulture from extension experts, connect with like-minded individuals and engage in activities that will benefit their local communities,” said Stam.

Applications are available at the Hot Springs extension office in Thermopolis. For more information, contact Stam at 307-864-3421 or at brstam@uwyo.edu.

Albany County extension offers Master Gardener program

Kellie Chichester

Master Gardener training in Albany County starts in January.

Trainees will receive training in horticulture from University of Wyoming Extension specialists and are encouraged to share their new skills and knowledge through volunteerism.

“This is a great opportunity to meet others who enjoy horticulture and volunteering,” said Kellie Chichester, UW Extension educator in Albany County. “These classes are for anyone who enjoys volunteering, working with community groups or individually, and especially for folks who enjoy the outdoors and plants.”

An informational meeting is 6-9 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28, at the Albany County extension office at the Albany County Fairgrounds south of Laramie.

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