Friday, March 5, 2010

Master Gardener: Class I

After a couple of years of thinking about become a Master Gardener, I took the plunge and I'm on my way!  Thursday was our first class, where we learned some basic botany and great information about soil and composting.

Our sessions are being held mostly at the Defiance County Extension Office, with the classes being taught through The Ohio State University by our local extension educators.  Our educators here are awesome, maybe even more than awesome because in our area, economical cutbacks have made their jobs more difficult.  In spite of it all, they're going forward and making the extra effort required to serve us well.

The first session was botany, taught by Dr. Gerald Short from the University of St. Francis in Ft. Wayne (IN).  It took me back to college biology and chemistry classes (*shudder*), but at least it sounded somewhat familiar.  It is fascinating to me though, and I like learning things like this, especially when it pertains to something I do and love.

We got to look at plant parts through the microscope, which really helped us to learn the material being presented. Visuals are always a good thing!

There was a lunch break, then we moved on to soil.  This was taught by Bruce Clevenger and Jim Lopshire, Defiance's and Paulding County's Extension educators.  This was another aspect of gardening that's really important to know, especially when you have to deal with mucky heavy clay like we do here.  My mom always says we should be making pottery, not growing flowers and vegetables.

Clay isn't all bad though, unless you're heavy on the clay. How's that for a profound statement?  We are learning to deal with it and one way is by using compost. Mark Bok, Master Gardener from Defiance County, shared his knowledge of composting, even bringing some of his own for us to see (and smell - yum!).

So, day one is done and we'll be quizzed on these things at next week's class, where we'll also be learning about raised vegetable gardens and identifying common insects. Veggies and bugs! Sounds like fun to me!


Teresa O said...

Hello Kylie,

Good luck with your Master Gardener classes! Also, congratulations on your stunning photo of winter light over at GGW. It truly was exquisite!

Kylee Baumle said...

Hi Teresa! I think they'll be a lot of fun. I love learning!
Thank you re: the photo. My neighborhood was stunning that day! That was taken from my front yard, looking across the road to the neighbor's.

frazzledsugarplummum said...

Good for you taking the Master Gardener course. I have been looking at doing something similar.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Yes, this brings back fond memories of my MG classes. You will learn so much and it is fun too.

Kylee Baumle said...

frazzledsugarplummum ~ I'm glad to be finally doing it! You should do it, too!

Lisa ~ I'm not very far into it, but I'm liking it so far!

Dave@TheHomeGarden said...

I enjoyed our classes last year, it's a lot of fun. Even if you already know the information it's very good to have them fill in any gaps!

Kylee Baumle said...

Dave ~ Exactly! Sometimes it's a matter of learning the "why" about something you already knew. I like knowing "the rest of the story!"

Alexandra said...

Sounds great. I'm kicking myself for not signing up this year- thought I wouldn't have time and then I got downsized anyway. Looking forward to reading about your progress.

Sabrina said...

In the first part of the class, did they teach about how plants are classified? I'm reading a fascinating book about 18th century horiculture, which mentions all the arguments related to plant classification back then, and it occurs to me that I really don't know what kind of system we finally settled on!

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

Hi Kylee, your MG class sounds great. Ours too was taught by one of the biology profs at one of our local colleges. We didn't get to use microscopes though, that is kind of fun.
How many are in your class? With budget cuts I wonder how my local MG group will continue-- the state is eliminating our county extension agent. (at least that is the proposal working its way through the state legislator)

Rose said...

We started our classes a month before you did, Kylee, and I have learned so much! Since I avoided science classes as much as possible in college, the botany session was particularly helpful. I was surprised, but the insect class has been one of my favorite sessions so far.

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