June Tree ID

Chilton County Master Gardeners had a great program at our June meeting on Tree ID, Tree Pests and Invasive Plants. Brian Smith from the Alabama Forestry Commission Southeast Region Office in Clanton gave us a quick review of leaf shape, arrangement, edges, tips and veins before giving us the opportunity to use a tree identification guide to ID tree branches he provided. We definitely had mixed results following the guide! After our attempt to ID he went through them and told us about each.

Congratulations to our newest certified Master Gardeners Cheryl and Ron Herbster! Both completed the requirements for certification and were presented with their badges and certificates.

Plant Swap and Pot Luck

Chilton County Master Gardeners held our traditional May plant swap and pot luck lunch at Susan Cleckler’s home. We thoroughly enjoyed her lovely shade garden: ferns, hostas, hydrangeas, ivy, lamium, heucheras and more. Plants were swapped and starts were shared so everyone went home with an addition for their garden. Pat Farmer earned her ruby star for four thousand volunteer hours and gold badges were presented to Diane Clapp, Jackie Hickman, Rick Miller, Lee Walters and Wally Walters. Lyn Webb earned her Master Gardener certification and was presented with her badge and certificate. Congratulations to all!

Trisha Williams awards Pat Farmer with her Ruby Star!
Members receive gold badge
Rick Miller, Diane Clapp, Lee Walters, Jackie Hickman, and Wally Walters receive Gold Badges at May Plant Swap.
First intern from 2019 class receives certification and badge
Lynn Webb from Ohatchee lives the furthest away and received her certification and badge in 4 months. Congratulations, Lynn!

Congratulations Interns!

Our 2019 Master Gardener Intern class completed their class requirements on April 17 with the final classes presented by Sally Lee, Urban Regional Extension Agent. Woody Ornamentals , Invasive Plants, and Beneficial Insects were the topics of the day. A salad bar lunch was provided by the class and facilitators. Trisha Williams made the class a beautiful, delicious cake decorated with scenes of gardening. She is a multitalented Master Gardener! Congratulations to a great group of Interns on completing 12 weeks of Master Gardener training classes!

2019 Intern Class last day
Regional agents
MG’s helping with food
Cake decorated for interns
Facilitators receiving a thank you gift

Herbs in April

Debbie Boutelier, an Herbalist as well as a certified Master Gardener, spoke on growing and using herbs at the CCMGA April meeting. Most herbs required full sun and well drained soil so raised beds or pots are great ways to grow them. Of all the herbs she discussed most contain medicinal properties such as antibiotic, anti-fungal, and anti-septic. Herbs are often used to season our food but can also be used to make tisanes (teas), as tinctures, in cleaning products and more. Debbie suggests that we do our own research before using any herbs medicinally or to consult an herbalist.

Description of herbs

Small Fruits Intern Class

The Master Gardener Class was held at the Chilton Research and Extension Center on April 3. The instructor was Dr. Edgar Vinson, an Extension Fruit Specialist, who taught the class about small fruits for the garden. He taught the class how to grow small fruits, discussed diseases and gave them some recommended varieties of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, grapes and figs. What a lot to learn in one day! Following the class Matthew Price took the group on the traditional wagon tour of the CREC grounds.

Dr. Edgar Vinson teaches small fruits
Dr. Edgar Vinson teaching Small Fruits
Small Fruits Class at Little House at CREC
Wagon tour of Chilton Research and Extension Center
2019 Intern Class tours Chilton Research and Extension Center
Move um up, head um out!

Alice’s Bean-Corn Casserole

Alice Broome brought this casserole to our 2019 MG Class that was held at Petals from the Past on March 6. It was such a hit we asked Alice to share the recipe. Chilton County Master Gardener members always provide lunch for the class held at Petals from the Past.

1 can French style green beans
1 can yellow whole kernel corn
1 can Cream of Celery soup
1/2 c. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c chopped onion
1/2 c. slivered almonds
1 roll Ritz crackers
1 stick butter

Drain liquid from beans and corn. Mix vegetables and spread in a greased dish (9″x9″). Mix soup, cheese, sour cream and chopped onion. Spread mixture over corn and beans (or mix 6 first ingredients together and spread in pan). Melt butter, crush crackers and mix with almonds. Sprinkle over casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Linda’s Raisin Bran Muffins

Linda brought these muffins to our first Master Gardener Class this year and everyone loved them. They are very much like Cypress Inn muffins. This is a large batch and the batter will last in the refrigerator for up to six weeks.

1 15 oz. box of Raisin Bran cereal
3 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 qt. buttermilk
5 c. self-rising flour
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. ground cloves
2 t. salt
1 c. vegetable oil
2 t. vanilla
1 c. chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix dry ingredients together. Stir in remaining ingredients. Mix well. Fill greased or lined muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake for 12 minutes or until done.

Linda’s Raisin Bran muffins

First Meeting of 2019

Chilton County Master Gardener 2019 President, Susan Cleckler, welcomed us to our first meeting of the year. We enjoyed a program on Permaculture presented by Tracy Britnell. Tracy and her husband are experimenting with permaculture on their farm and want the farm to be an educational site. It took about a year to get the soil ready to start planting. Since then, they have been using permculture methods. Inter-planting various plants to draw beneficial insects and repel others is one permaculture method. Another is using nitrogen fixing plants to help with fertilization. One of the goals of permaculture is to garden without using chemicals. Tracy is currently building a blog about her farm and methods and will share her research on the blog.

Speaker Tracy Britnell

Dee’s Crunch by Wally Walters

Wally Walters brought Dee’s Crunch to our December meeting and the recipe was requested by several members. This yummy treat is quick and easy.

2 cups mixed nuts
2 cups dried cranberries
2 cups crushed pretzels
1 package almond bark

Melt almond bark according to directions on package. Add mixed nuts, dried cranberries, and crushed pretzels. Drop by teaspoonful or spread on waxed paper. If spread break into pieces when hard.

Hint: melt 1/4 if bark at a time and add 1/2 cup of each (nuts, cranberries, pretzels) at a time.