Training opportunities

Gardening is an ever changing activity. I believe that each year that I have been a master gardener, there has been something new for us to try and that is not just related to new plant material. This is the start of my 27th year of being a master gardener. I think that because it changes all of the time and the certain amount of challenge that comes with working in the confines of Mother Nature’s realm, it is what keeps me coming back. I am very humble to say that this year, the U of M Extension, is finding its roots. No pun intended! I think it is because the U of M is providing all sorts of training opportunities for master gardeners in the state that reflect on some of the old fashioned methods of doing things. They might come with an updated twist but it is nice to see that some of the crafts of canning and raising food for your family is not being lost.

The Lyon County Master Gardeners receive training through the U of M Extension from University of Minnesota professors and other professionals who work within the horticulture group at the University. The 2,000 plus volunteers around the state as well as those residing right here in Lyon County and our surrounding counties also receive training through continuing education efforts each year. We, in turn, educate our fellow gardeners in many different areas of gardening. This past fall I was able to take a training called Vegetables For Everyone and I will also be taking an online training on preservation of food and food safety in the garden. There will be other master gardeners who are taking these classes and other similar classes too. This is one way the U of M Extension can reach out to all gardeners, whether they are just beginning to get their hands dirty for the first time or have a green thumb from all of their hard work over the years. There will be opportunities for everyone in the community to get involved with these programs! Keep an eye out in the Marshall Community Services for the opportunity to learn more about gardening classes.

A good help in finding plants for our gardens is the U of M Extension’s Yard and Garden and then go to find plants. It will help you figure out what is hardy and what is not in our area when considering bulbs as well as Native grasses, trees, shrubs, annual and perennial flowers, vegetables and fruit. The link to this webpage is It has a ton of information regarding plants. You can also search which is a link to the Minnesota Arboretum/U of M Extensions website on where to locate plants. An example is that you input the word “Martagon” and it will bring up not only the species or varieties along with catalog or websites for you to review to find what you are looking for. This is particularly of use when you are looking for something that might be slightly out of the ordinary. It is a great tool to use this winter while you are waiting for spring to return to us once again.

For more information on gardening, you can email me at