Learn to grow, preserve veggies through UW-Extension

Feb. 6, 2010

If you’d like to learn how to grow your own vegetables, UW-Extension has classes designed for you.


As part of its Hands-On Horticulture series, the UW-Extension Horticulture Education Center at Boerner Botanical Gardens is offering four classes on vegetable gardening. A great starting point for beginners, the classes provide basic, science-based information from the experts.


On March 23, Sharon Morrisey, Milwaukee County UW-Extension Consumer Horticulture Agent, will teach Seed Selection and Seed Starting. “The first step to successful vegetable gardens is selecting what to grow,” Morrisey says. “Starting from seeds gives you more varieties to choose from to suit your personal tastes.”


Students will learn how to read between the lines in seed catalogs, gain new insights from seed packets, and determine when to use heirlooms and when hybrids are better. The class will cover the steps to successful seed starting indoors and outside. Participants will leave class with their first seeds planted in soil.


On May 18, Dr. Patti Nagai, Racine County UW-Extension Horticulture Educator, will teach Garden Planning and Soil Preparation. “You don’t need a big yard to grow vegetables,” says Dr. Nagai. “In class, I’ll even show you how to grow vegetables in containers.”


The class will discuss how much space is required, how to best organize that space, how to prepare the soil and soil amendments. To get the most benefit from this class, participants are encouraged to submit their soil for analysis at the UW-Madison Soil Lab a month in advance of the class. Soil test kits are available online or from a UW-Extension office. During class, Dr. Nagai will help participants interpret the results and discover what amendments are needed to grow vegetables. Participants will leave class with a small container garden.


On July 6, Kristin Krokowski, Waukesha County UW-Extension Commercial Horticulture Educator, will answer the perplexing question “What’s Wrong With My Plants?”. She’ll discuss common insect and disease problems, how to recognize them and how to control them. Students are encouraged to bring their questions and plant samples to class for help diagnosing problems.


On August 17, Jenny Wehmeier, Walworth County UW-Extension Family Living Educator will teach Preserve Your Garden’s Bounty. “How do you store and preserve crops so you can enjoy them throughout the year? This introductory workshop will help beginners get started and provide those with experience with the most up-to-date, research-based information,” Wehmeier says. The class will cover drying, water bath and pressure canning, and freezing. Special attention will also be given to tomato and salsa preparation and preservation.


All classes are from 1-3 p.m. in the Multi Media Room of the Education & Visitor Center at Boerner Botanical Gardens. The cost is $30 per class or $100 for all four. To register or for more information, contact Patti Peltier at the UW-Extension Horticulture Education Center at Boerner Botanical Gardens, 9400 Boerner Drive, Hales Corners, 414-525-5638, patrice.peltier@ces.uwex.edu.






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