Members have donated more than 4,027 hours to this area in 2016 for a value of $94,852.56. Using integrated pest management techniques, dealing with invasive species, encouraging backyard/local food production and practicing environmental horticulture, members have worked to improve our county.
The local master gardeners recently met to honor their own.
Milestones for members included 15 years of service each from Rosalie Perry and Cathy Seamons, class of 2001. Recognized for five years were Mary Beth Dunham, Jan Gose, Carol Knapp, Sue Long, Bonnie Morgan, Vicki Nutter, Carol Phillips and Cathe Ritz, class of 2011.
Donating more than 200 hours in 2016 were Shannon Ditz, 350; Master Gardener Coordinator Joan Taylor, 270 hours; Phyllis Zieber, 206. Over 100 hours awards went to Donna Allen, 187; Mary Margaret Schwarzentraub, 177; Bonnie Granneman, 174; Judy Emmons, 153; Bob Beck, 144; Karen Hart, 142; Jan Phillips, 118; ; Jan Gose, 108; Carol Phillips, 111 and Barb Roberts, 101. Nineteen members gave over 50 hours.
Members who have been a part of Master Gardeners for many years and have accumulated over 2000 hours are: Rosalie Perry, 5806 hours; Mary Margaret Schwarzentraub, 2615; Bob Beck, 2591; Peggy Case, 2516 hours; and Charlene Margetiak, 2301 hours. Many others are gaining.
Mike Gastier, who conducted the award ceremony, expressed thanks to all who served as Master Gardeners and helped the County Extension Office, especially with 4-H.
After the banquet and awards, Shannon Ditz, MRC (Medical Reserve Corps)Coordinator/Bed Bug Specialist for the Huron County Public Health Department, presented “Nourishing Norwalk,” discussing The Teaching Garden located on Theater Avenue in Norwalk. Ditz told about garden clean-up and preparation, making signage, and conducting classes at the garden site.
The teaching garden is based on 'square-foot gardening,' using rich soil to raise veggies in small 12-inch square spaces. Other methods, straw bale gardening, trellising, patio planters and the Three Sisters method were also taught and demonstrated for the public.
Norwalk High School Industrial Arts students helped with signage by building the information board for the garden explaining the different methods. The finished sign is expected to last for another season. Master Gardeners helped with the classes and teaching those taking part. An invitation will be extended to other groups in order to showcase the value of gardening as a source for food and recreation. Classes on the value of eating veggies will also be added. Short videos of garden techniques will be prepared to appear on Facebook, along with invitations to join the group.
Produce from the garden was donated to the Norwalk Area Food Bank, Salvation Army and the United Fund. A total of 168.9 pounds of produce was donated, plus 29 bunches of herbs for cooking. Chemicals were not used to control pests and the gardeners found that green beans were a challenge as the grasshoppers ate them.
On 'Make a Difference Day', November 10, 2016, Master Gradeners guided St. Paul Students who helped with the final clean-up and readying the garden for winter. Ditz added that the garden may be moved to the County Administration Building so it might be used as a teaching garden also for the Master Gardener Classes taught at the center.
Save April 29 for a walk and talk led by Charlene Margetiak on wild flowers at the Land Lab on South Norwalk Road. You do not need to register, just show up at the site at 10 a.m. and enjoy the walk through the Land Lab until noon.
May – Plant sale Saturday at the Huron County Fairgrounds, 8 a.m. to noon. Watch for the date.
Junior Master Gardeners is a program offered for youngsters. Contact 419-541-2985, for more information.
Those who would like to join Master Gardeners can go to the county extension office and ask for an application or call 419-668-9466 or visit the website.
Peggy Case is a Huron County Master Gardener, Ohio Association of Garden Clubs (OAGC) floral judge and instructor, OAGC executive board member and local apple grower. She can answer questions if sent to email@example.com.