Awards Day, March 9, 2021, was a special meeting day for Chilton County Master Gardeners!
We awarded Reach for the Stars bronze pins to Benita Cahalane, Charla Doucet and Kaylee Doucet. A silver pin was awarded to Larry Jones and a gold pin to Debbie Housner. Lyn Webb received her gold badge and Lanelle Baker got her platinum badge. For earning more than 4000 hours, Harriett earned her ruby star.
Our top hours volunteers were recognized and presented certificates. 1st Place: Lynn Webb, 600.5 2nd Place: Harriett Jackson 447.5 3rd Place: Sondra Henley, 425.5
Top Intern hours was awarded to Gail Brooks, 83.45 and top Continuing Education hours was awarded to Lyn Webb, 171.5.
Our Master Gardener of the year is Susan Cleckler. She has served as President for two years and lead us through this challenging year. Susan has been involved with all aspects of MG and is a great example of what a MG should be.
Congratulations to our 2020 award winning volunteers!
David Doggett, Jefferson County Advanced MG, Aldridge Gardens Docent and a member of the Alabama Hydrangea Society, taught us about winter pruning of panicle and smooth hydrangeas. He gave us detailed instructions for first, second and third year cuts. He also discussed propagation using the winter cuttings and suggested books on propagation. It is always a real treat for David to share his knowledge with us.
The first CCMGA meeting of 2021 was held on February 9 at the Clanton National Guard Armory. Thirty-four mask-wearing members met in the large bay which gave us room to be socially distanced. We did not meet in December or January so it was nice to see everyone, even though we were 6 feet apart!
Our speaker, Jessica Kelton, Alabama Cooperative Extension System REA for Farm and Agribusiness presented her program, “The Hype about Hemp”. Hemp was first grown in Alabama for CBD oil, fiber and grain in 2019. There are regulations and oversight for growing hemp. For CBD production growers use cloned plants as female plants are needed. Mixed seedlings are planted to grow hemp for fiber or grain. We learned that hemp does not like “wet feet” but needs irrigation. After harvest the plants must be hung to dry much like tobacco. This can be a challenge in Alabama’s humid climate.
After the program, we had our usual business meeting where we approved the 2021 Budget, announced our Plant Sale for April 17 to be held at Goose Pond Park, announced Ask a Master Gardener being held at Garrison’s from Feb 29 through April 10, and heard a report of the February Advisory Cancel meeting by Council representative Harriett Jackson.
Bright yellow crocus and other early blooming plants will soon announce that spring is on its way. If you do not have crocus in your garden be sure to plant some next Fall.
Planting season continues for dormant trees, shrubs, roses. You may plant some vegetable seeds such as collards and Swiss chard as well as vegetable transplants including cabbage, onions, lettuce, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and strawberries.
Prepare beds for summer annuals.
Fertilize fruit trees, fertilize grape at a half rate now and a half after fruit sets.
Spray shrubs with fungicide before new growth starts.
Diane Clapp provided this recipe for Broccoli Salad that she created by combining several recipes. The recipe was requested by several in attendance at one of our Christmas Parties.
Diane’s Broccoli Salad
Yield: 6-8 servings
1-2 heads of broccoli – wash thoroughly and cut into small flowerets
6-8 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled
½ cup golden raisins (may use dried cranberries)
¼ cup sunflower kernels
1-2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup chopped red onion (optional)
1 cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons white or apple cider vinegar
¼ cup sugar
Place broccoli crumbled bacon, sunflower kernels, raisins, and onion (if using) in a large bowl and mix. In a small bowl, mix dressing, stirring well. Add to broccoli mixture tossing gently.
***You can prepare ingredients and keep them separate until ready to use. Best to mix just before serving.
Master Gardener Interns have had a difficult time earning volunteer hours to become certified this past year due to, of course, COVID 19 restrictions. CCMGA is pleased to congratulate Patricia Agee, Gail Brooks, Linda Church, Julie Garris, Sharon Hosch, Jane Rabey, Jim Rabey and Rae Ann Wright on becoming certified Alabama Master Gardeners during this difficult year. Volunteer activities included not only gardening activities but even mask making! There are eight more 2020 Interns working towards their certification and we encourage them to help with upcoming Master Gardener volunteer opportunities as much as possible!
Chilton County Master Gardeners welcome Jane Rabey, our newest certified Master Gardener. After weeks of classes and Covid-19 cancellations Jane has earned 50 volunteer hours to become a certified Master Gardener. Congratulations Jane!
Due to the Covid-19 Stay at Home order, the 2020 Chilton County Master Gardener class members have been studying and completing tests on the remaining class topics at home. Once we can hold classes again we will reschedule the remaining classes. We look forward to the time when they can join our association members in MG and Extension activities and complete certification requirements. Congratulations to Patricia Agee, Gail Brooks, Linda Church, Joan Crocker, Julie Garris, Sharon Hosch, Peggy McGraw, Ruby Moberg, Jane Rabey and Jim Rabey for completing and passing all their tests!
Japanese maples, what a wonderful topic for a rainy March day! Our speaker for our Chilton County Master Gardener meeting was David Doggett, a Jefferson County Master Gardener and volunteer at Aldridge Gardens, who grows over 70 cultivars of Japanese maples at his home in Irondale. He discussed choosing a site, selecting a variety, companion plants and planting. David has donated and planted 51 (48 cultivars) Japanese maples at Aldridge Gardens.
There are cultivars to meet the needs of most gardeners: small or taller, upright or weeping, fine leaved or more coarse, textured leaves or smooth. Colors often vary from season to season but include reds, pinks, light greens, apricot, yellow, darker greens and more.
Our Chilton County Master Gardener February meeting is our Awards Meeting. Our Master Gardener of 2019 went to the duo of Wally and Lee Walters, two very active MGs who rarely say no to any Master Gardener event. The Demo Garden addition of reused monkey bars for growing climbing plants was selected as the Project of 2019. Top hours volunteer was Sondra Henley (1155), second place was Alice Broome (549.5) and third place was Pat Farmer (538). Top Continuing Education Hours were earned by Betsy Smith (100.7). Stars * for hours were presented and badge earners were announced. Helpline pins were awarded to Lyn Webb and Benita Cahalane for working 3 or more days.
Gary Gray, Regional Commercial Horticulture Agent, presented a program on the easiest fruits we can grow as home gardeners. He discussed several varieties of fruits, their culture and pest problems. Some of the easiest fruits for home gardens are muscadines, blueberries, figs, apples, blackberries, and Japanese persimmons. Several unusual native fruits were discussed such as pawpaws, mulberries and passion fruit (Maypops).
*Stars and Badges Bronze Star (100-299): Joan Barber, Clem Clapp, Cheryl Herbster, Ron Herbster, John Higginbotham, Sarah Justiss, Karen Mims Silver Star (300-499): Debbie Housner, Betsy Smith Gold Star (500-999): Lyn Webb, Elizabeth York Gold Badge (1000-1999): Treasia Bennett, Susan Cleckler, Linda Hand, Jane Mason Platinum Badge (2000-3999): Alice Broome, Jerry Farmer Ruby Star (4000-5999): Audrey Giles Diamond Star (8000-9999) Sondra Henley
Click Here for a slideshow of photos from the awards program.
For the first meeting of 2020, Chilton County Master Gardeners were treated to a program about gourds presented by Mack Gothard, President of the Alabama Gourd Society. Fellow ALGS member, James Stone, assisted Mack with the presentation. Tips on growing, harvesting and drying gourds were discussed. Gourds can be decorated in any way one can imagine using paint, woodburning, carving and more. Mack says the gourd “tells” you what it is and his usually become chickens! Many gourd varieties were on display as well as decorated gourds and musical instruments made from gourds.