Our March meeting was held at the Little House this month, and there was a full house! Our program was presented by Dr. Edgar Vinson, ACES Assistant Research Professor & Extension Specialist in Horticulture. Dr. Vinson plans on starting a new fig plot at CREC soon. He says that figs are becoming a production crop like peaches, blueberries, and strawberries because of their nutritional value.
The other highlight of the meeting was our Awards Program delightfully emceed by our own Skip Coulter. Top Hours were Harriett Jackson (580), Alice Broome (440), and Audrey Giles (407.50). Helpline Awards were Pat Farmer (Chairman, 5 days), Larry Jones (7 days) who received gold pins; Lanell Baker (4 days), and John Wallace (3 days) who received silver pins. Susan Cleckler won Top CEU hours with 43.50. Service Project of the Year nominees were Gardens of Clanton Assisted Living ( Trisha Williams & Audrey Giles) and Chilton/Clanton Library Adult Summer Program (Trisha Williams & Audrey Giles, Natives in the Garden; Sondra Henley, Composting 101; Larry Jones, Vegetable Gardening; and Lanell Baker, Starting Plants from Seeds. The Service Project of the Year was Gardens of Clanton Assisted Living. The Master Gardener of the Year nominees were Alan Reed and Lee & Wally Walters. The MG of the Year was veteran MG Alan Reed. Badges and Stars were also given out at the meeting. There were 28 members , 7 Interns, and 3 visitors present at the Awards Program meeting.
Click on the link below to see a slideshow of photos from the March meeting.
Our May Meeting and Plant Swap was held at Chilton Research and Extension Center at 120 County Road 756, Clanton, 35045. Autauga and Shelby County members were invited to attend. Michael Thomason, who is the Vice President of AMGA this year, was our speaker. Mr. Thomason spoke about the planning and organizing of the 2019 AMGA Conference, which is being hosted by Chilton County Master Gardener Association. He compared it to putting a puzzle together, the progress, the completion of the puzzle, and enjoying the fruits of your labor when your done. He commended CCMGA for the progress and efficiency of the planning done so far.
Our guest included our speaker Michael Thomason from Shoals MGA and Extension Regional Agent II Nelson Wynn. Other guests included Kate Vogel, Merle Schukoske, Myra Healy, and Heidee Vansant from Shelby County and Ofie McCoy, Tim McCoy, Lanell Tatum, Patti Teel, Cheri Cook, and Lee Thomas from Autauga County. Everyone enjoyed the food and fellowship. We had a total of 44 present.
On October 19th the Central Alabama MG Intern Class toured the CCMGA Demo Garden. President Sondra Henley was the tour guide and told the history of the Demo Garden and how the new garden was created. Mallory Kelley, ACES Regional Agent for Autauga County and facilitator of the class, accompanied the group. Chilton County Master Gardener Sue Webb was there to tell about her Native Bed in the garden. Treasia Bennett told about her Knot Garden and Susan Cleckler told about her bed “Don’t’ Bug Me” (repels insects) and a little about the Butterfly Garden. For a slideshow of photos of the tour go to Smilebox.
The Demonstration Garden at the Chilton Research and Extension Center (120 County Road 756, Clanton, 35045) is open year round. To schedule a tour for your group or organization call 280-6268 and the office will contact the appropriate person.
Somebody’s been busy in the Demo Garden! Meet our newest member, Polly Pumpkin, created by two of our artistic members, Kimberly Lyn and Harriett Jackson. Just don’t work her too hard, she probably couldn’t keep up with you two!
Chilton County Master Gardeners attended a Small Fruit and Grape Production Workshop on March 8 at the Chilton Research and Extension Center. Dr. Elina Coneva, Auburn University Department of Horticulture spoke on blueberry and grape varieties and gave a demonstration in the field on pruning European hybrid grape vines. Dr. Edgar Vinson, Extension Horticulture Specialist, discussed commercial strawberry production. Kevin Burkett, Regional Extension Agent for Farm and Agribusiness Management, spoke on Commercial Farm Budgeting. A muscadine pruning demonstration was given by Matthew Price, CREC Research Assisstant. Our Master Gardeners found the workshop to very interesting and informative.
In preparation for the fruit workshop, Chilton County Master Gardeners volunteered at the CREC pruning grape vines. On the first day Diane Clapp, Lamar Giles, Bill Hairrell, Sondra Henley, Harriett Jackson, Rick Miller, Alan Reed and Lee Walters helped. The second day the MG volunteers were Alice Broome, Lamar Giles, Harriett Jackson, Rick Miller, Alan Reed, Lee Walters and Sue Webb. Harriett Jackson and Alan Reed finished up on the third day.
Autumn is a beautiful time to tour our Demonstration Garden. The garden is located on the grounds of the Chilton Research and Extension Center which is located on 120 County Road 756, Clanton, AL 35046. The butterfly garden is really doing it’s job, attracting butterflies! The herb bed is also a magnet to the butterflies. There’s a shade garden with a small table and chairs and a pergola with a comfortable swing. So bring a book and a sack lunch and enjoy the garden during this pleasant time of year.
The Grand Opening of the Demo Garden was held August 6, 2016, just before the Farm, Home, and Wildlife Expo. On hand for the ceremony was Eagle Scout Clay Vinson, and Girl Scout Hannah Childress. Clay’s project for Eagle Scout was the Demo Garden’s Pergola and surrounding Butterfly Flowerbed. Hannah’s project for her Gold Badge was the Keyhole Garden. The Expo is always a big event that the Master Gardeners look forward to each year. Master Gardeners are in charge of the ice cream tasting, fruit tasting, corn on the cob hut, plant sale, and of course, the Demonstration Garden. Go to Smilebox to see a slideshow of photos from the Expo and Demo Garden.
This unusual salsa was recently served at the Chilton Research and Extension Center’s annual Farm, Home and Wildlife Expo where it was well received. The recipe was adapted from the National Center for Food Preservation’s Peach Apple Salsa recipe.
6 c. chopped Roma tomatoes
2 1/2 c. diced yellow onions
2 c. chopped green bell peppers
10 c. chopped hard, unripe peaches
2 c. chopped Granny Smith apples
4 T. mixed pickling spice*
1 T. canning salt*
2 t. crushed red pepper flakes*
3 3/4 c packed light brown sugar
2 1/4 c. cider vinegar(5%)
* May substitute 2 T. Mrs Wages Spicy Pickle Mix
and 3 T. Mrs Wages Salsa Mix for the * ingredients.
Wash and rinse pint canning jars; keep hot until ready to use. Prepare lids according to manufacturer’s directions.
Place pickling spice on a clean, double-layered 6 inch square piece of cheesecloth. Bring corners together and tie with a clean string. (Or use a purchased muslin spice bag.)
Wash and peel tomatoes (place washed tomatoes in boiling water for 1 minute, immediately place in cold water, and slip off skins). Chop into 1/2 inch pieces. Peel, wash and dice onions into 1/4 inch pieces. Wash, core, and seed bell peppers; chop into 1/4 inch pieces. Combine chopped tomatoes, onions, and peppers in an 8 or 10 quart Dutch oven or saucepan.
Wash, peel and pit peaches; cut into halves and soak for 10 minutes in ascorbic acid solution. Wash, peel and core apples; cut into halves and soak 10 minutes in ascorbic acid solution. Quickly chop peaches and apples into 1/2 inch cubes to prevent browning. Add chopped peaches and apples to saucepan with the vegetables.
Add the pickling spice bag to the sauce pan; stir in the salt, red pepper flakes, brown sugar and vinegar. Bring to boiling, stirring gently to mix ingredients. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove spice bag from pan and discard.
With a slotted spoon, dip salsa solids into hot, clean pint jars, leaving 1/1/4 inch headspace. Cover with cooking liquid, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened, clean paper towel; apply two piece metal canning lids.
Process in a boiling water canner according to the recommendations below. Let cool, undisturbed, 12 to 24 hours and check for seals.
Process time for hot pack pint jars by altitude: 0-1000 ft.– 15 minutes; 1001-6000 ft.-20 minutes; above 6000 ft.–25 minutes.
Source: National Center for Home Food Preservation, University of Georgia, Athens. Thanks to Christy Mendoza, Alabama Cooperative Extension Service, Regional Extension Agent for the spice substitutions.
The Chilton County Master Gardeners Association’s newly designed Demonstration Garden will have its Grand Opening on August 6, 2016 at 11:30 at the Chilton Research and Extension Center off of Highway 29.
Afterwards the Farm, Home and Wildlife EXPO will start with free tastes of fruit, ice creams, peach salsa and other culinary delights. Many presentations are offered for home and farm, along with exhibits for all ages. Everyone is invited to attend!
August 8, 2015 was the day this year for the annual Chilton Research & Extension Center’s FARM, HOME, & WILDLIFE EXPO, and what a day it was! There was a great crowd this year with many exhibits, cooking demonstrations, and fruit and ice cream samples. The EXPO is all about educating people in the skills of farming, raising animals, growing vegetables and fruits and then preserving and canning the bounty. There was a goat show, farm dogs, a miniature heifer, chickens, honeybees, and an eagle display. We had our plant sale there and did very well with it. As always, our members were a big help with the registration process, the sampling of fruit at the fruit tent, and the serving of the ice cream samples in the Little House. Click here for a slideshow of photos.