May Gardening Activities

This month many flowers and perennials are looking their best. Enjoy the flowers and get those annuals and pink iris bloom up closevegetables planted. Many iris varieties are blooming this month and come in a variety of colors including a peachy pink.

  • Shrubs–Newly planted shrubs need extra care now and in coming weeks. Don’t forget to water them.
  • Roses–Spray for insects and diseases. Fertilize monthly based on soil test. Container-grown plants in flower may be planted now. Prune climbing roses after the first big flush of flowering.
  • Bulbs–Summer bulbs started in containers can be planted now. Don’t remove foliage from spring flowering bulbs. Do not let seedheads form on tulips and other spring flowering bulbs.
  • Vegetables–Plant seedlings of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, sweet potatoes, vegetable seeds.

Source:  Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Alabama Gardening Calendar

Congratulations MG Class

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!

Helping With the Beef Cook-Off

Last Friday, March 6, Chilton County Master Gardeners and interns helped with registering the participants at the 4-H Beef Cookoff, which is sponsored by the Chilton County Extension Office and the Chilton County Farmers Federation.
L to R- Interns Linda Church, Karol Collier M.G. Harriett Jackson, Interns Jane Rabey, Jim Rabey, and Julie Garris. Not pictured, MG Pat Farmer.

Wonderful Japanese Maples

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.

Touring Tulip Festival at American Village

Several Master Gardeners and Intern Class members enjoyed a trip today to the Tulip Festival at the American Village in Montevallo . The weather was perfect! Everyone also toured the American Village and stepped back to colonial days. Great reminder as to how thankful we should be to our forefathers for our independence! Thanks so much to our V. President and Program Chairperson, Charla Doucet for arranging this trip. If you’ve never been, plan now to go!
Photos by Susan Cleckler and Charla Doucet.

Front row, , L to R MGs Harriett Jackson, Susan Cleckler, Wally Walters, Joan Barber, Intern Ruby Moberg and daughter
Back row, L to R – MGs Rick Miller, Charla Doucet, Interns Peggy McGraw, Patty Frye, Kathryn Martin, Julie Garris, MG Lee Walters, Intern Patricia Agee.

Growing Tomato Plants From Seeds

Master Gardener Lanell Baker did a short program February 26 on starting plants from seeds at the 2020 Intern Class. She did a hands on demonstration of transplanting tomato plants grown from seeds. She explained how to get them ready to plant outdoors. ‘Hardening off‘ is the process of gradually acclimatizing indoor-sown plants to outdoor conditions. For most plants, begin hardening off a week before the final frost date for your area. Water plants before they go outside.

Bethany O’Rear was the main speaker, teaching “Plant Care and Management Pruning.

Thanks, Gay West for these photos.

Master Gardener Lanell Baker
Bethany O’Rear teaches Plant Care and Management Pruning

Soils and Plant Nutrition

Our Feb. 19th speaker was Dr. Charles Mitchell, retired Ph.D., CCA, Professor Emeritus, Dep. Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences, Auburn University. Dr. Mitchell taught “Soils and Plant Nutrition” to our Master Gardener interns. His program is always very interesting and most informative. Thanks, Dr. Mitchell!!

The Interns paying attention!

Master Gardener Plant Sale

Chilton County Master Gardeners have been busy preparing for an upcoming plant sale. We have propagated a variety of perennial plants, annuals, herbs, natives and a few vegetables. We may even have that Pass-Along plant you have always wanted for your garden. The sale will be April 18 from 8 am to 12 pm at Goosepond Park in Clanton. Come early for the best selection.

2020 Spring plant sale

Cash, checks and credit cards accepted.

Chilton County Master Gardener Plant Sale
Goosepond Park
906 7th Street N.
Clanton, AL 35045

Awards Day

Collage of photos 2-2020 meeting

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.

Home Lawns, Ornamentals, and Invasive Plants

Our Master Gardener class on January 29 was a good one, with the morning session by Taylor Hatchett of Boozer Farms in Thorsby on “Home Lawns” and the afternoon session by Extension Agent Sallie Lee from Jefferson County on “Woody Ornamentals and Invasive Plants”. Thanks to both of these ladies for two very interesting classes!

Taylor Hatchett teaches Home Lawns
Taylor Hatchett from Boozer Farms teaching “Home Lawns”
The class was taking it all in!
Sallie Lee, Regional Extension Agent, Jefferson County, teaches “Woody Ornamentals and Invasive Plants”. Photo by Gay West.