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Master gardener training offered

The University of Wisconsin Extension is holding general master gardener training Wednesday evenings, Sept. 13, 20, Oct. 4, 11, 18, Nov. 1, 8 and 15, and Saturday mornings, Sept. 30 and Oct. 28, at the Agriculture Center, 1960 Eighth Ave., Baldwin.

In addition, the St. Croix Valley Master Gardeners are meeting tonight (Aug. 24) in New Richmond; the public is invited.

Participants receive 36 hours of master gardener training and in exchange must provide 24 hours of community volunteer service related to plant science and/or gardening. Types of volunteer service include producing educational displays at fairs and other events, teaching adults and youth about horticulture, working with demonstration and community gardens, hunger prevention efforts, and community beautification projects.

Master Gardeners are members of the local community who are trained by Extension specialists in a broad range of plant science topics. Topics to be covered, among others, include basic botany, soils and composting, plant diseases and insects, woody trees and shrubs, herbaceous plants, lawn care, vegetables, fruits, wildlife, native plants, weeds, organic growing and houseplants.

A fee of $105 covers course materials, including a large binder of University publications, a study manual, class handouts, speakers and newsletters.

Class size is limited; for more information and an enrollment form, contact Diana Alfuth, horticulture educator, at the Pierce County UW-Extension office at (715) 273-6781.

Local gardeners meet

St. Croix Valley Master Gardeners meet tonight (Aug. 24) at the St. Croix Community Garden at 6 p.m. with a tour and discussion by Ruth Hilfiker, St. Croix County horticulture educator. Hilfiker will discuss ways to deal with the dry summer and accompanying insects; Extension nutrition educator Martha Mabis will offer homemade salsa, lemonade and vegetable recipes.

Located 1.5 miles north of New Richmond on Hwy. 65, the garden has provided approximately 1,000 pounds of produce to senior centers, meal sites, WIC programs and other agencies this year. Master gardeners started it in 2001 as a Share the Bounty project, and in previous years it was located at the county Health Center in New Richmond. Over two tons of food was distributed in the 2005 produce year.

In the event of hard rain, the meeting will be held at the New Richmond City Hall, lower level conference room.