Master Gardeners of Shelby County announce 2020 gardening series

SIDNEY — The Master Gardeners of Shelby County announced a new series of gardening seminars for 2020.

These public seminars all are geared toward gardeners in the Shelby County area who are interested in learning how they can improve their landscapes, control pests, grow healthier flowers and vegetables, and learn more about the plant world.

All of these seminars will take place on the third Tuesday of March, April, May, June, August, September and October. Programs will be offered at the Amos Memorial Public Library’s Community Room, 230 E. North St., Sidney, from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m.

There is no need to pre-register for any of these free programs. A door prize will be given away each month, and refreshments complement each program.

On March 17, Matt Schmerge, agricultural educator for the OSU Extension, will discuss the safe and effective use of chemical pesticides and herbicides in the garden. He’ll also share alternatives to the use of chemicals, organic and biological controls, and how to recognize when to take action again those pesky bugs and diseases.

On April 21, Doug Benson, Master Gardener volunteer coordinator for Shelby County, will make attendees forget winter by focusing on how to get gardens ready for spring. He’ll include cleaning up dead stuff (and how to determine what’s really dead or just hibernating), tools that make spring cleaning easier, pruning and shaping shrubs and trees, and enriching the soil for future growth.

On May 19, Teresa Freisthler, president of Shelby County Master Gardeners, will focus on plants that perform well in containers. She’ll include tips on how to select and care for container plants as well as how to combine different plants for optimum growth. As part of her program, Freisthler will discuss companion planting, the art of grouping plants that optimize the health of each other.

Master Gardener Janet Nelson has been growing and using herbs for years. On June 16 she will share information on which herbs do best in the region, when and how to plant various herbs, what to do with them afterwards and how to preserve them. Starting with herbs that everyone recognizes, Nelson will introduce attendees to some of the lesser known herbs. Best of all, Nelson always brings in samples of her favorite recipes.

On Aug. 18 Master Gardeners Russ Stewart and Ann Heeley will showcase the toughest of the tough: plants that defy gardeners to kill them. Included are annuals, perennials, shrubs and houseplants. These are the plants that thrive on neglect and are easy to grow.

On Sept. 15 Master Gardener Mark Hipple will show how compost is the greatest gift that can be given to a garden. Creating compost at home, even with limited space, is easier than people think. Compost nourishes the soil as it breaks up clay, helps prevent disease, fertilizes plants and is totally organic. Hipple will discuss a variety of methods to make compost, when to apply it and how to accelerate the process of making “black gold.”

On Oct. 20 Master Gardener and Botanical Researcher Katrina Smith will discuss the differences between bulbs (like tulips), corms (like crocuses) and tubers (like sweet potatoes). She’ll also throw in a few rhizomes for good measure. Examples will include those grown in this area plus some favorites from other countries.