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 oion
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.

Volunteers Needed

New sign

Check our calendar, watch your email or attend meetings to learn of  volunteer opportunities.

Helpline:  April -Sept.
Thursdays 9AM-4PM April through Sept at Chilton County Extension Office.

Demo Garden:  Year Round 2019 days TBA
Meet at 9AM(8AM in summer) at the Demo Garden, weather permitting. Time subject to seasonal change.
Contact: Sondra Henley

Extension Office Garden
Days scheduled as needed.

“Backyard Water Gardens” by Trisha Williams

Our November program was presented by Mary McCroan, a Master Gardener from Wetumpka, who is working toward her Advanced Master Gardener certification. Mary taught us about “Backyard Water Gardens.” She discussed the various types of water features from bubbling pots to ponds complete with streams and waterfalls.  Location, sun, shade, style and budget should be considered when deciding to install a water feature. Mary shared examples of water features such as an inexpensive preformed pond to a large pond. She shared her experience in building her small and medium ponds and gave cost estimates for  DIY (with help where needed) compared  to having a professional install a similar water feature.

Photo by Audrey Giles Speaker at Nov. meeting

Pumpkin/Blueberry Muffins

Chilton County Master Gardeners baked muffins for the AMGA Fall Conference and this
Pumpkin /Blueberry muffin was a favorite.

blueberry pumpkin muffins

  • 1 1/2  c. self-rising flour
  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. nutmeg
  • 1/2 c. canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 c. butter, melted
  • 3/4 c. frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar (optional for topping)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin pan or use paper baking cups in muffin pan. Stir ingredients together, spoon into muffin pan, sprinkle with brown sugar if desired. Bake for 20 minutes. Makes 12 regular size muffins. Recipe provided by Deb Pitts

AMGA Fall Seminar

By Trisha Williams

“Your Sanctuary Garden” was the theme of the 2018 Fall AMGA Seminar that several  Chilton County Master Gardeners attended in Montgomery on September 27. Peggy Hill, writer for Alabama Gardener Magazine, shared ideas and inspiration for our gardens. Mary

Beth Shaddix , a marketing consultant, shared information about using color and edibles in our gardens. Mary Beth has written articles for  Cooking Light Magazine, HGTV Gardens, and Garden and Gun and she and her husband own a wholesale nursery. The afternoon sessions included Tyson Farmer discussing attracting birds and Brian Dahle showing us ways to use water features in our gardens. We came away with wonderful ideas for our own gardens.

Thanks to  Capital City Master Gardeners for planning this  fun and informative seminar!

Members at Fall Seminar


July Meeting Buzz!

The topic for our July meeting was Honeybees, so that’s the Buzz! Bill Evans, Master Beekeeper and current Vice President of the Alabama Beekeepers Association, told us about the importance of bees to pollination. He discussed the life cycle of bees and the jobs of each caste in the hive. Bees need nectar, pollen and water to survive. If a swarm occurs call a bee keeper to collect the bees.  Local ACES offices keep a list of beekeepers that will  collect swarms. Bill stressed the importance of buying honey from a beekeeper that you know so you get pure honey. For information on plants for bees check out this ACES publication:  Nectar and Pollen Producing Plants for Alabama

Charles Walker has completed requirements for Master certification and we presented his badge and certificate. Congratulations Charles!

MG V.P. Gives gift to speaker


Morgan Creek Vineyard Tour

A tour of Morgan Creek Vineyards was a great way for Chilton County Master Gardeners to spend a hot summer day on Friday, June 29th.  The family-owned winery located in Harpersville, Alabama specializes in muscadine and fruit wines that range from dry to sweet. Charles Brammer, Jr, son of owners Charles Brammer, Sr and Mary Brammer, explained the process of making wine from harvest through bottling. He told us of the few insect problems and how they are controlled. Although they purchase most fruit from large growers they do have muscadine vines and blueberries on the property. Following our tour our gracious hostesses served samples of eleven wines — dry, semi-sweet sweet and fruit.

After the tasting several members went to Trisha Williams’ with their sack lunches and toured her garden. Trisha and her husband, Jackie, have a beautiful backyard with many large old trees, flower beds full of daylilies and other perennials, raised beds full of asparagus, and a vegetable garden with pole beans, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, and much more. Thank you, Trisha,  for providing us with a cool porch, ice tea, and your Heavenly Cake dessert after our tours!