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Archives for February 24, 2017

Ikea makes spherical garden design open source

Ikea has made its plans and shop drawings for a DIY spherical garden product available on open source for free download.

The Growroom garden structure was designed by the furniture juggernaut’s in-house Space10 innovation lab in conjunction with two Danish architects and, much like Ikea’s award-winning flat-pack refugee shelter, the product was conceived out of a goal to create positive social change.

The purpose of the Growroom, says Ikea, is to assist as many people and communities as possible to grow their own food in a more sustainable and local environment. This will be benefitted by the fact that the global retailer has made the plans for the product available to download online for free, allowing anyone to build their own three-dimensional garden if they can afford the cost of materials, have access to certain tools and machinery, and the time and patience to put one together.

Growroom designers Mads-Ulrik Husum and Sine Lindholm. Image by Niklas Vindelev.The Growroom exhibited at Copenhagen Opera House. Image by Alona Vibe

To build a Growroom you’ll need 17 pieces of plywood, a rubber hammer, some metal screws, a drill and a CNC machine. The instructions are formulated the same way as any other Ikea piece would be, with step-by-step diagrams and instructions.

Once pieced together the structure stands at 2.8m x 2.5m in a spherical shape allowing plants to receive ample lighting within the vertical structure.

Image by Niklas Vindelev

The result is the production of fresh and healthy food, straight to the table from the plot they were grown in with accessibility and affordably key signifiers of a community minded project. The open source plans invite experimentation with the Growroom design.

“It is to support our everyday sense of wellbeing I the cities by creating a small oasis or ‘pause’- architecture in our high-paced societal scenery, and enables people to connect with nature as we smell and taste the abundance of herbs and plants” says Space10.


The downloadable files can be sourced, here.

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Now Anyone Can Build Ikea’s Experimental Garden

A few months ago, Ikea’s innovation lab Space10 released a garden structure called the Growroom. Aimed for neighborhood use by city dwellers who don’t have backyards, the spherical wooden planter is meant to be a way to grow food locally and sustainably.

On Friday, Space10 published the entire set of building instructions for the structure for free online, allowing anyone with a hammer, 17 sheets of plywood, and access to a CNC milling machine or laser cutter to build their own. (Plants not included.)

Designed by the architects Sine Lindholm and Mads-Ulrik Husum, the Growroom is walk-in spherical structure with a bench inside so you can recharge among the plants. Unlike the original structure that debuted in Copenhagen, the open-source version is made entirely of plywood, making it easier for people to build on their own.

When the lab started receiving requests to buy or exhibit the Growroom from all over the world, it decided to open-source the structure because shipping instructions and materials across the planet didn’t fit its goal of encouraging local, sustainable farming. A spokesperson for Space10 says the team knows the design will be used in Helsinki, Taipei, Rio de Janeiro, and San Francisco, and they hope it will pop up in more cities around the world.

The structure itself isn’t very pretty—and you need community space to build it in. Then there’s the matter that once you’ve built it, your work has just begun. You have to keep the plants alive.

The article has been updated to clarify how the garden is intended to be used.

Slideshow Credits:

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Photo: Alona Vibe;

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Photo: Alona Vibe;

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Photo: Alona Vibe;

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Seed starting, garden design workshop – Courier

Camden — Gardener Rose Swan will lead a seed starting and garden design workshop Saturday, March 4, from 10 a.m. to noon at Merryspring Nature Center.

For new gardeners, knowing where to start can be the most daunting task. Swan leads this hands-on workshop designed for beginning gardeners. Participants will learn about designing mixed flower and vegetable gardens, as well as propagating various garden plants from seed, indoors at home. Focus will be on perennial and annual plants to use in mixed flower and vegetable gardens. Each guest will be able to start seeds and bring them home. A selection of flower and vegetable seeds will be provided, but those interested may bring special varieties from home if they choose.

Swan has gardened for more than 13 years in many different growing zones and specializes in mixed flower and vegetable gardens. She has worked at a number of Midcoast area non-profit organizations and currently lives in Union.

This program is part of the Weekend Workshop series at Merryspring. The cost is $20, with a discounted rate of $15 for members of Merryspring.

Limited space and materials are available. Please pre-register by contacting Merryspring at 236-2239 or

For more information on this program or any others, please contact or call 236-2239.


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Take advantage of warm weather with yard tips from DIY host

Is it too early to start working on your yard?

WTOP’s Rachel Nania and DIY’s Sara Bendrick


November 30, -0001 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON Well, the groundhog was wrong at least as far as D.C. is concerned.

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An espresso machine in your bathroom? HGTV star gives home remodeling tips

HGTV and DIY star Matthew Muenster has renovated hundreds of bathrooms in his career — from petite powder rooms to spacious, spa-like retreats. And over the years, he’s picked up on a few tricks and trends. Here are his best.

The Washington region is enjoying a stretch of springlike weather in the middle of winter, and nearly everyone is looking for an excuse to spend time outside. Restaurant patios are packed, running trails are crowded and long waits for the bus are more pleasurable than painful.

Another way to take advantage of the rare rays? Get your yard in shape.

Sara Bendrick, landscape designer, host of DIY Network’s “I Hate My Yard” and author of “Big Impact Landscaping,” stopped by WTOP to share her best tips for transforming a basic backyard into an outdoor oasis.

It’s never too early to get started

Yes, there is still plenty of time for freezing temperatures to strike before the warm weather sets in for good, but Bendrick said it’s never too early to start working on your yard — even if it’s just on paper.

The first step is cleaning up and clearing out. Bag up leaves, gather twigs and “move all those trash cans and all those things that don’t belong in the middle of your yard so that you can actually see the potential for it,” Bendrick said.

Installing “hardscapes,” such as patios, retaining walls and overhead structures, is another project that won’t get ruined should the weather change for the worse.

If you’re working with a small budget and don’t have the funds to build a designer-inspired patio, Bendrick said consider materials other than the traditional pavers and stones. Gravel, or even an outdoor rug, can anchor a gathering area.

“It just creates a clean surface for you to be able to come out and put a sofa or some chairs,” she said. “It’s a more affordable way to create an outdoor living space.”

Get creative to cut costs

“Renovating in general can get expensive, and it can get expensive quick,” Bendrick said.

One way to keep costs in check is to work with what you have or even what you find.

If your patio is concrete, a simple stain can give it a whole new look. Cracked concrete can be easily covered by an outdoor rug, and a different paint color on the back of the house can brighten the backyard.

“Things that you might use to decorate the inside of your house, maybe see how you can pull those ideas and themes outside as well,” Bendrick added.

“Adding the creative touches that really take your yard from just being cookie-cutter into something unique and really personal, that’s what really gets me excited.”

Small space? Not a big deal

Working with a small space can work to your advantage. Bendrick said the budget stretches further since a few simple changes can have a big impact.

Bendrick said any outdoor space needs three things: seating, plants and color. In a small space, she recommends setting the seating to one side of the patio or yard and then doing something visually interesting such as a vertical garden wall on the other side.

The latest lawn trend?

Looking to impress the neighbors? Bendrick said one of the hottest trends she’s seeing right now is long concrete pavers that are stamped and stained to look like hardwood. This creates the feeling of a luxurious living space, while still working as a practical patio.

“It’s going to last a super long time, and there’s not much maintenance that’s required for concrete in general,” Bendrick said.

“The more time you can spend outside, the better, in my opinion, and just putting the small things like a bench or sofa out there will make you so much more likely to use this space.”

Sara Bendrick will be demonstrating DIY projects and answering questions at the Capital Remodel and Garden Show at the Dulles Expo Center Feb. 24-26.


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© 2017 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.

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Cruisin’ Connecticut- 36th Annual Connecticut Flower and Garden Show

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Thursday through Sunday marks the 36th Annual Connecticut Flower and Garden Show at the Connecticut Convention Center. News 8’s gardening enthusiast, Ryan Kristafer has a preview of the event.

Ryan Kristafer says he used to be a landscaper not a gardening enthusiast. “No guys, I was a landscaper. You know, very manly. As if today’s weather wasn’t an indication…this is even more proof that spring is near.”

The flower and garden show has dozens of gardens on display. “It’s spring in the middle of February at the convention center. We have 24 landscape gardens all in full bloom. We also have over 300 exhibits selling plants, seeds, garden equipment.”

“This year, our horticulture display is probably the best its been in several years.”

People can go to the show and use ideas from the displays for their own gardens. “When you come to a flower show like this, you see different ideas that you might take a piece of these different gardens that you see here and you go back and incorporate it into your own yard.”

Paul Miskofski is from Cape Cod and brought two plants that he’s patented to the flower and garden show. “It’s a gingko. It’s a weeping gingko and it’s a dwarf. It’s in the garden. Cape Breeze…you can use as an ornamental grass, but it’s also really good with wetland restorations.”

Ryan Kristafer asked some of the women if they’re all in the same garden club. They replied “no.” He asked if there was any animosity between clubs and the women replied there was just some friendly competition.

One gardener says the water features have been a big hit. “The water features have been huge– fountain scapes. Then as far as some of the plants, some of the big hits have been the English daisies that we have and the hellebores.”

“Should I have brought my bathing suit?” Ryan Kristafer asks one of the gardeners. “If it’s your own yard, I guess it’s bathing suit optional,” the gardener replies.

Ryan Kristafer asks the gardeners, “in the plant, gardening, landscaping world, do you guys mow your own lawn at home?” They replied that they do not. One woman replies, “My boyfriend’s staff does that actually. I’m just kidding.”

There’s over three acres of landscaping there that people can check out.

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STRICTLY BUSINESS: Free trees, landscaping workshop and getting your finances together

YoloArts is hosting a “Master Marketing Methods” workshop for artists from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., tomorrow, Saturday, at the Erwin Meier Administration Building (625 Court St., Woodland).

“There are a million ways to market but you don’t have to spin your wheels trying to do them all,” reads the description for the event. “This session will help artists develop strategies for their unique offerings, in less time with more success.”

Takeaway skills include: choosing goals that fit; artist branding; creating and distributing marketing materials; optimizing your website, email list, and social media; evaluating the success of marketing efforts.

The workshop is taught by Michele Alexander, a social benefit entrepreneur, who has provided guidance to more than 100 nonprofits, community initiatives, professional artists, and creative start-ups over the last 16 years.

YoloArts is able to offer this Professional Development series for artists, arts organizations and artisans with support from a Creative California Communities grant from the California Arts Council.

The workshop costs $35. Register at

• • •

Also tomorrow is the second annual Bridal Show and Event Faire 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Woodland Community Senior Center, 2001 East St. Meet the area’s premiere wedding professionals and have your wedding planned in one day. Guests attending this free event will be greeted by a variety of vendors such as venues, caterers, photographers, florists, stylists, décor, bakeries, health and wellness.

• • •

Sunday, head to the country to celebrate the 102nd Anniversary Capay Valley Almond Festival. The all day, six-town event promises entertainment, crafts, food and fun for the family, children’s area, petting zoo, pancakes breakfast, live music, local products for sale and more. Participating communities include Madison, Esparto, Capay, Brooks, Guinda and Rumsey.

Visit for a detailed schedule.

• • •

If getting your finances in order is on your New Year’s resolution list, you’re in luck. “Get it Together: Organize Your Financial Records” is the second free seminar in a year-long series hosted by the Woodland Public Library and brought to you by Travis Credit Union.

The talk takes place from 6 to 7:30 p.m., Monday, at the Woodland Public Library Leake Room, 250 First St.

Attendees will learn why some record-keeping systems fail, how to develop an efficient bill-paying system, what records to keep and for how long, how to make a home inventory, what to have handy in case of a natural disaster, and where to go for help.

Call Rhea Gardner (661-5988) with questions.

• • •

La Frontera Bar and Grill opened Monday at 929 Court St., formerly Court Street Cafe, and prior to that Casa de Sapore Italian restaurant. Strictly Business is looking forward to trying out the new Mexican restaurant soon.

• • •

There have also been stirrings that a new falafel restaurant called Chickpeas is opening at the corner of Third and Main streets (800 Main St.), previously home to Picasso’s Pizza. Strictly Business is looking in to this.

• • •

Redesigning your front yard is an exciting, yet daunting project. The free “Plant Your Ideas” workshop is designed to give homeowners the tools and information they need to get started from 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, March 4 at the March 4 from 10 a.m. to noon in the Leake Room at the Woodland Public Library.

The workshop will start with a presentation on basic landscape design principles and considerations homeowners should take before beginning their projects. Following this, attendees will create custom landscape designs for their front yards using aerial photos and “drag drop” shapes representing plant types. Landscape professionals and volunteers from the Master Gardeners of Yolo County will be present to answer questions and give advice.

For families with children 5 and up, there will be kids crafts and story time in the children’s department of the library upstairs.

Registration is limited to 25 participants. Preference will be given to Woodland residents. Please register at

This workshop is hosted by the City of Woodland, Environmental Services and the Yolo County Resource Conservation District.

• • •

The Woodland Tree Foundation is offering free shade trees to area residents in an effort to beautify homes and neighborhoods, reduce greenhouse gases, clean the air and help Woodland to conserve energy.

Trees will be planted in Saturday, March 11.

Contact the Woodland Tree Foundation at or 867-3130 to select your free tree.

The Woodland Tree Foundation is receiving support from the city of Woodland, PGE, and the John and Eunice Davidson Fund.

Have a local business tip? Contact Elizabeth Kalfsbeek at or via Mind Your Business, Woodland on Facebook.

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Asheville area garden meetings, classes, winter markets – Asheville Citizen

Send calendar items to Bruce Steele at two weeks before the event.


SOUTHERN SPRING HOME GARDEN SHOW: Feb. 24-26 and March 3-5, open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Sunday, The Park Expo, Charlotte. More than 450 companies expected, including vendors for building, remodeling, decorating, gardening and landscaping projects. $12, or $9 in advance online at or $8.50 with a VIC card from Harris Teeter; free for ages 15 and younger with paid adult; $8 seniors, Fridays only. To learn more, go online or call 800-849-0248.

HORSE FEED ASSESSMENT REFERENDUM: March 8, county Cooperative Extension offices, statewide. Vote to end or to continue for 10 years the Horse Industry Promotion Assessment, introduced in 1999. The $4 per ton assessment paid by manufacturers of horse feed sold in North Carolina funds programs and services of the NC Horse Council. Any horse owner or leasor, age 89 or older, can vote. Absentee balloting available. To learn more, contact or 800-529-9206.

PLANT SALE: Ongoing. Order from Haywood County Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Association. Available plants include edibles (berries, asparagus, and fruit and nut trees) and native plants (perennials to attract pollinators). Forms at the Raccoon Road office or call 828-456-3575 or email Deadline for ordering and payment is March 17. Edibles pickup day is April 8; native plants is May 20.

SPRING PLANT SALE: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. April 28 and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. April 29, Bullington Gardens,  95 Upper Red Oak Trail, Hendersonville. Includes native and non-native perennials, tomatoes and other vegetable starts, herbs, annuals and small trees and shrubs, plus garden-themed crafts and more. To learn more, call 828-698-6104 or visit


PRUNING SHRUBS SMALL TREES: And how to sharpen your pruning tools, 10 a.m.-noon Feb. 25, N.C. Cooperative Extension, 49 Mount Carmel Road, Asheville. Part of the Gardening in the Mountains series, presented by Alan Wagner, Master Gardener Volunteer.Free, but register in advance by calling 828-255-5522.​

BUSINESS OF FARMING CONFERENCE: Feb. 25, A-B Tech Conference Center. The 14th annual event, organized by ASAP and supported by various agencies and sponsors. Offers farmers marketing, financial and production tools and resources to improve their businesses. Topics will include “Demystifying Social Media,” “Protecting Your Farm: Legal Tools for Farmers” and “Markets for Medicinal Herbs,” as well as grower-buyer meetings and an on-farm cool season crop workshop, offered by N.C. Cooperative Extension, the day before the conference. To register or learn more, visit or call 828-236-1282.

GROWING COLD-HARDY GRAPES IN THE MOUNTAINS: Classes on propagation, planting, training, trellising, pruning and harvesting begin Feb. 25 at Jewel of the Blue Ridge Vineyard in Marshall. All classes are $35 and meet 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays (except as noted). Topics include vineyard location and design (Feb. 25), pruning (March 25 and Thursday, April 6), and planting and propagation (May 13). Classes continue into October. To get directions or ask questions, contact Chuck at 828-606-3130 or Learn more or register online at

CONTROLLING INVASIVE SPECIES: 6 p.m. Feb. 27, Henderson County Library auditorium, 301 N. Washington St., Hendersonville. Learn to reduce or eradicate kudzu, wisteria, ivy, bamboo, and other vines and weeds from David Lee, natural resource manager, and Jennifer Adams, habitat restoration associate, at Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy. Sponsored by Hendersonville Tree Board. Free.

MEN’S GARDEN CLUB OF ASHEVILLE: noon, March 7, First Baptist Church dining room, 5 Oak St. Lunch at noon ($11; call 828-274-7821 for a reservation), presentation at 12:45 p.m.: “Rare and Endangered Species of the Southern Appalachians” (free). Rachel Muir, a retired ecologist and scientist emeritus from the U.S. Geological Service, will speak. All welcomed.

ORGANIC GROWERS SPRING CONFERENCE: March 11-12 at UNC Asheville. This 24th annual spring conference for farmers, gardeners, homesteaders and sustainability seekers is hosted by the nonprofit, Asheville-based Organic Growers School. Practical, region-specific workshops on farming, gardening, permaculture, urban growing and rural living with more than 70 90-minute classes a day. Includes a trade show, seed exchange, silent auction and children’s program. Cost for the weekend is $99 ($129 after Jan. 31). For Saturday only, the cost is $59 ($74); Sunday only $49 ($64). Learn more and register online at or contact or 828-680.0661.


OPEN DAILY: Retail shops open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. every day, Brevard Road at Interstate 40. Retail shops have seasonal produce, honey, molasses, jams, local cheese, fresh eggs, fudge, homemade candles, handcrafted gifts and more. In Building Two, check out Art Margraf’s assortment of ramp foods, caned and frozen, and baked goods, fresh Thursday-Sunday. Other vendors in Building Two have fresh meats and cheeses, seafood, gift items and more. Visit the deli for fresh sandwiches and the ice cream shop for home-churned ice cream of many flavors. The Garden Center has potted plants, spring planting tools and seeds, gifts and more, and the Moose Cafe is open daily.


For details, visit

Asheville’s winter markets are:

• Asheville City Market, 10 a.m.-noon Saturdays, Masonic Temple, 80 Broadway, Asheville. Selling artisan foods, dairy and eggs, dried flowers, herbs, produce, nuts and grains, meats and fish, locally made soaps and other products, plants and more. Accepts EBT/SNAP, Senior FMNP, credit and debit cards as well as cash.

• YMCA Indoor Winter Market, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturdays, Crosspoint Community Church, 199 Cumberland Ave., Asheville. Selling artisan foods, dairy and eggs, dried flowers, herbs, produce, nuts and grains, meats and fish, locally made products, plants and more. Accepts credit and debit cards as well as cash.

• YMCA Indoor Winter Market South, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturdays, Mission Pardee Health, 2775 Hendersonville Road, Arden. Selling artisan foods, dairy and eggs, produce, meats and fish, locally made soaps, crafts and clothing and more. Accepts credit and debit cards as well as cash.


LEICESTER GARDEN CLUB: Meets at 1 p.m. fourth Tuesday of the month at the Leicester Library. To learn more, call Crystal Dover at 828-259-9649.

WEAVERVILLE GARDEN CLUB: Meets at 9:30 a.m. second Tuesday of every month September through June in the Community Room at the Weaverville Town Hall on Main Street. To learn more, call 828-658-1154.

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Spring and gardening is just around the corner

Whew, what a winter it’s been. My way of coping with the continuous snow and mud is to think about and be grateful for the abundance of moisture we have and how that will be really appreciated this spring and summer. I also start planning now for the garden and doing the many things I can to be ready for planting season.

You can also attend one of the upcoming gardening classes to learn more about gardening and landscaping at high altitude. See below for the class schedule.

But it’s way too early to be digging here at 7,500 feet elevation, and snow and cold temperatures are likely to be in our forecast for quite some time. The average last frost date for Pagosa Springs is June 22, meaning that there is a 50 percent chance of temperatures dropping below 32 degrees after June 22.

But there are things that gardeners can do now to prepare for the growing season and satisfy that itch to dig. Many gardeners keep logs from previous years noting what they planted where, varieties that worked well and those that didn’t, notable weather events, insect and disease problems and how they were addressed, etc. These journals can be very helpful in learning from experience and building on previous year successes.

Now is the time to pull out those journals think about what you will do differently this year or varieties that you want to replace with other choices. Even garden design can change, such as adding some container gardens to your in-ground or raised bed designs. Be creative and don’t be limited by what you have always done. Pay close attention to microclimate opportunities in your landscape that may allow you to try less-hardy varieties or bring plants into bloom early.

If you are starting a new garden this year, think about creating raised bed gardens rather than in-ground gardens. Raised beds can solve many problems for mountain gardeners and are especially beneficial if soils are poorly drained or are very rocky and hard to dig. Just be sure to start with good weed-free soil and find the design, materials and layout that work for your landscape and budget.

For more detailed information on building raised beds, visit the CSU website at

Starting plants from seed

Another thing you can do to start off the growing season is to start some of your plants from seed.

If space is available near a sunny window, start seeds four to eight weeks before the plant-out date, which in our area is June 22 for warm-season crops and May 17 for cool-season crops that withstand a low temperature of 24 degrees.

Late February is too early to begin starting seeds, but you can plan out your indoor growing area and purchase seeds of your chosen varieties. You can extend the growing season on either end by building a number of different types of covers for your plants including row covers, high and low tunnels, greenhouses and grow domes.

For more detailed information on starting plants from seed, visit the CSU website at and download Fact Sheet No. 7.409, “Growing Plants From Seed.”

Choosing vegetables for your garden

Even though it is way too early to plant outdoors without a season extender of some sort, you can still enjoy choosing which vegetables you are going to grow, select varieties and purchase the seed.

If you want to start gardening in April, choose cool-season vegetables that will survive our late cool night temperatures.

Get your tools ready

In what condition did you leave your gardening tools, hoses, gloves, etc., at the end of last season? Gardening tools, lawn mowers, etc., need regular maintenance and may need to be cleaned and sharpened. Tool maintenance is not the most enjoyable of gardening activities, but one that will pay off when the season gets off and running.

Gardening and landscaping series continues

Winter is a great time to think, plan and learn about how to grow successfully at high altitude.

Whether you are a novice gardener, new to Pagosa Country or want to plant a landscape this spring, these classes are for you.

All classes are located at the Extension building at the Archuleta County Fairgrounds, run from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and cost $20 per class. Preregistration is required by calling 264-5931. Class topics and dates are as follows:

• March 2: “Tree and Shrub Selection, Planting and Maintenance,” taught by Roberta Tolan, Extension agent in Archuleta County.

• March 9: “The State of our Forests,” including insect pressures and trends, and fire mitigation, taught by Kent Grant, Colorado State Forest Service, and Matt Tuten, Pagosa Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service.

• March 14: “Vegetable Gardening in the Mountains,” taught by Darrin Parmenter, Extension agent in La Plata County.

4-H cookie dough is back

It’s cookie dough time again and your favorite flavors are back. Don’t miss this opportunity to support your local 4-H program and have your favorite cookie dough ready for baking in your freezer.

Whether it’s mint chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, snickerdoodle or peanut butter, we have the flavor for you.

And,we are bringing back some of last year’s specialties including soft pretzels, cinnamon rolls, pumpkin rolls and cream cheese coffee cake, all for only $17 per item.

Place your order with your favorite 4-H member or call the Extension office at 264-5931.

CPR and first aid classes

CPR and first aid certification classes are now being offered monthly by the CSU Extension office on the second Monday and Wednesday of each month from 6 to 10 p.m. Anyone needing to receive or renew certification can register by calling the Extension office at 264-5931.

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Blueberries excellent addition to gardens, landscapes

Looking for a plant to grow in an area with full sun and that becomes more drought resistant over time? Blueberries are an excellent choice when adding plants to gardens and home landscaping.

Assuming the soil conditions and the amount of available sunlight are adequate, blueberries can be incorporated almost anywhere. The blueberry plant itself is adorned in spring with white bell-shaped flowers, and vibrant red foliage in the fall.

One attribute that makes blueberries fairly easy to grow is that they usually do not have any issues with insect pests. Their edible berries are another reason you should consider adding blueberries to your landscape or garden.

Requirements for Healthy Blueberries

To achieve maximum fruit production, full sun is best when growing blueberries. A small amount of filtered shade, such as under pine trees, can be tolerated, but may result in reduced fruit production.

The type of blueberry that is most commonly grown in the Southeast is the Rabbit-eye blueberry (Vaccinium ashei.) There are more than 10 different Rabbit-eye blueberries varieties that have been known to thrive in Alabama.

“Various species of Vaccinium grow in differing regions throughout the United States,” said Bethany O’Rear, a regional Alabama Extension agent in commercial horticulture and home grounds.

According to O’Rear, blueberries do not tolerate nitrate fertilizers. Rather, ammonium fertilizers, such as urea or ammonium sulfate, are the best to use. Conducting a soil test will help you discover the amount required and help ensure that you are supplying your new blueberries with its essential needs.


Because blueberries require high levels of organic matter, incorporating compost, peat moss or finely ground pine bark into the planting hole is necessary. The actual planting hole should be about twice as wide as the blueberry plant’s root ball, but no deeper. Making the hole more shallow is not a bad idea to account for settling when the new plant is watered in. To finish planting, amend the soil from the planting hole with organic matter, then finish filling. Water the newly planted blueberry and apply a layer of mulch, which helps control weeds as well as conserve moisture.

“One other point to mention regarding planting – you must have at least two, preferably three different kinds of blueberries in one planting area,” said O’Rear. “This step will ensure cross-pollination between the plants, which is necessary for fruit-set.”

Planting time is dependent on the type of blueberry plant. If you are planning on growing containerized blueberries, they should be planted between October and March.

“Bare-root blueberries have an increased survival rate when planted between December and the end of February,” O’Rear said. June marks the harvest time for blueberries.

Maintenance Care

During the first year after planting, plan on watering the plants twice a week. A thorough watering is needed one or two times per week upon establishment of the plant.

“To encourage enhanced root establishment, water the plant for longer periods of time rather than shorter ones is ideal,” O’Rear said.

An adequate amount of moisture is imperative when fruiting for successful fruit production. The plant actually will retract water from the fruit itself if its water levels are too low.

To allow the plant to focus its energy on establishment instead of fruit production, it is a good idea to pick the small fruit for two years after the bush is planted. Once established, most landscape plants require less water per year than they did when first planted. Therefore, blueberries can withstand drier periods better as an established plant compared to a newly planted plant.

To learn more about how to enhance your garden and landscape, check out Alabama Extension’s “Gardening in the South” series. You can find the series on iBooks.

Based on proven Master Gardener training and seasoned with university research, the “Gardening in the South” series of books is packed with information, tips and tricks to being a successful Southern gardener.

Also, for those of you who have current blueberry bushes and would like to learn how to properly prune them to optimize their berry production, there will be a free Blueberry Pruning Workshop from 9:30 a.m. to noon March 1 at the Sand Mountain Research and Extension Center in Crossville. You can register for the workshop by calling the Etowah County Extension Office.

For more information on this topic and many others, contact the Etowah County Extension Office, 256-547-7936 or 3200 A W. Meighan Blvd., Gadsden. Amy Burgess is extension coordinator for the Etowah County Extension Office.



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