Ready for gardening

It may not exactly look like spring outside, but it’s is in the air and people who enjoy gardening might be anxious and excited to get outside and play in the dirt again.

The NDSU Extension Service has a few garden forums that will help fire up gardeners for the upcoming season. The series of garden workshops and forums begins today and continuing in to April. The first workshop, the Spring Fever Garden Forum, will be held on Tuesday and Thursday nights, beginning tonight and Thursday, as well as April 1 and 3 at the North Central Research Extension Center, 5400 Highway 83 South. Presentations are from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. There is no cost to attend these presentations, but people are asked to call and register to ensure that there are enough handouts and materials.

According to Paige Brummund, NDSU Extension agent, the idea behind the workshops is a statewide effort and will feature horticulture experts from NDSU. A team of 12 university researchers will provide the latest information on caring for yards and gardens as well as answer questions. Live presentations from NDSU in Fargo will also be broadcast to over 20 Extension offices across the state. Gardeners may attend the presentations via the Internet on their home computers.

Topics presented at the Spring Fever Garden Forum will include selecting landscape trees, gardening in containers, selecting superior flower and vegetable varieties, improving soil, preventing diseases, growing hardy fruits, tree planting tips and home remedies, among others.

Next month there will be a Hands-On Gardening workshop taking place on April 8 and April 10 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the North Central Research Extension Center. Topics featured in that workshop will focus on seed starting, invasive ornamentals, tree pruning and spring lawn care. The cost for those workshops is $5.

Brummund thought the Hands-On Gardening workshops should be popular because they will give hands-on practice with pruning as well as seed starting.

“The exciting part is that they work with master gardeners in the area,” she added.

The NDSU Extension Service will also offer classes for youths on how to plant a garden, called the Garden to Table Summer Youth Program for youths ages 8 to 14. The program starts in May and continues to September. Cost is $10 per youth and people are asked to register by May 1.

Brummund said the youths in the program will also learn how to make healthy snacks and actually plant a garden at the Extension Center. At the end of the summer, there will be a harvest party, she added, where they will pick everything that’s ready to be picked and donate it to area food pantries.

There seems to be a large interest and need in offering the gardening workshops and forums, Brummund said.

“The Extension gets a lot of phone calls relating to horticulture topics and we try to be proactive with the meetings,” she said. “These forums also promote gardening as a way to be good for the mind and body. We get a lot of participation from the community.”

While it’s still a little too early to tell what will be popular with gardeners this season, Brummund said annuals are popular with their early colors that bloom. Some people prefer perennials, too, she added, since those bloom later.

From these workshops and forums, the hope is that people will walk away with a little more knowledge about the topics, Brummund said. Some of them are new gardening techniques, she added, like square foot gardens, a topic that will be presented in one of the workshops. Also, people will learn about the science behind home garden remedies, including which ones have been tested and which ones are just “pulling their arms,” Brummund continued.

“I hope everyone who comes can take a few things away to peak their interest or improve their garden,” she added.

People who are interested in registering for the workshops or forums or have questions, can call the North Central Research Extension Center at 857-6444 or can visit the website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/wardcountyextension.