But that doesn’t mean you need to go at it alone.
People are getting back to gardening in strong numbers after interest in gardening surged last year as business closed and events were canceled in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
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Garden seed availability is low, and prices are up for both seeds and starter plants.
For those new to gardening, it’s helpful to know where to turn if you need some advice or help.
A key resource is the Olmsted County office of the University of Minnesota Extension with its Master Gardeners program.
A leaf catches late-afternoon sunlight among squash plants Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, at the Homestead Trails neighborhood community garden. (John Molseed / firstname.lastname@example.org)
Participants in the program have a wide range of experience and love to collaborate to solve plant mysteries.
Last year, the horticulture experts and master gardeners saw a 40% increase in inquiries. They receive questions on vegetable gardening, flowers, lawns and landscaping, and plant identification. The volume returned to about that level this year.
Advice and information from master gardeners can be found on multiple platforms, including their website. That site also includes regular blogs, tutorials, and a podcast.
Experts respond to questions submitted to their Facebook page.
The University of Minnesota also offers soil testing. The service costs $17 and requires you to submit a short form along with your sample that can be downloaded online.
Healthy soil is essential for a healthy garden. Testing it will help you know what, if anything, you can add to your soil to promote healthy growth of your plants. Different plants have different needs, so the master gardeners can help you interpret the results of your soil test.
If you want direct face-to-face consultation, Kelly Rae Kirkpatrick loves to get glimpses of people’s gardens. She offers consulting services, and will visit your garden, offer advice and identify whether that bramble sticking out of the ground is a raspberry plant, a locust tree, or something else.
It’s more than a hobby. Kirkpatrick has not only established community gardens around the city, but is also vice chair of the master gardeners program in Olmsted County, and has been trained as a coach for the popular Blue Thumbs Lawns to Legumes program.
Members of the Backyard Bounty Urban Homesteaders are quick to welcome new people and share from their experience, as well. That group continues to schedule get-togethers via Meetup.
While seeds at the seed library are in short supply, that knowledge isn’t. Each month, the seed library hosts an event in time with the season. The next program is a workshop June 16 on how to grow tomatoes. Registration is recommended. More information and registration links can be found at the seed library website.
John Molseed is a tree-hugging Minnesota transplant making his way through his state parks passport. This column is a space for stories of people doing their part (and more) to keep Minnesota green. Send questions, comments and suggestions to email@example.com.