Friday, February 20, 2009

A Chilly Classroom

I'm off this afternoon to take a hands-on class on pruning fruit and nut trees, courtesy of the county Agricultural Extension Office. The cost? Eight dollars. This is great since the guy who said he was willing to barter some of my bread for the pruning of our old apple tree has never followed up. For $8 I can learn how to maintain the tree myself.

It's an outdoor class of course, and our temperature should peak just below freezing today. Add to that a stiff 20 mph wind, and this will be a test of my fortitude. And my long underwear. Good thing my sweetie got me some lovely fleece-lined leather work gloves for Christmas last year. (Yes, they've already seen some service.) What a great present!

If you live in the US and have any interest in gardening related topics, you should get to know your county's Agricultural Extension Office. There are a lot of resources (such as the Master Gardeners) for your immediate area under that roof, and your tax dollars are supporting it. In many areas they offer classes such as the one I'll be attending today. My county offered a free class on composting last year, with a free compost bin given away to each attendee. Unfortunately, I couldn't attend. Maybe they'll offer it again this year; I wouldn't mind a free extra compost bin. Our county's Extension Office also offers bare root tree and fruit seedling sales each spring. This year I'm getting four blueberry bushes (two each of two different varieties) for $32, with no delivery charge since I'm picking them up myself. Hard to beat that.

Check your local Extension Office out. You might be delighted at the resources and values you find!


Cowgirl in the City said...

Sounds like you have a great opportunity there! I googled my extension office, according to the web page they don't have very many options, but who knows? Thanks for the tip.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kate,
I also live in PA, and you are the first blogger I found that is close to me. Do you mind if I use you as my mentor? I have similar goals but need someone who can give me some encouragement. AND...
the composting class is scheduled this year, I plan on attending!
I love your blog.

GartenGrl said...

I feel so lucky to be a master gardener graduate from the Michigan agriculture extension program. But our extension program has also suffered cut backs in the last few years: a truly useful community resource.

Kate said...

Cowgirl, you may have to actually go down to the office and talk to people, get to know them. I find that the Extension Office's budget doesn't extend to keeping up a top notch website, or distributing every pamphlet or notice of the classes they offer. A lot of the people who answer the phone in our office are volunteers who don't always know everything that's going on down there. So it may be worth your while to do some digging and schmoozing in person.

Brenda, I'm flattered that you ask. I'm still figuring a lot of this stuff out for myself, but I'm happy to share whatever I learn. And it's great to know that other people are pursuing the same learning. The more people that know about these things, the better the opportunities for me to learn too.

Raquel, I look forward to participating in the MG program later this year if I'm selected to do so. Thanks for stopping by.


Anonymous said...

Another great resource to check out for pruning help is your local tree board or City Forester.