Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Agriculture

September 26, 2011

Community shares gardens

GLASGOW — The auditorium of the Barren County Cooperative Extension Service was crowded with flowers, vegetables, house plants and seeds Saturday afternoon as garden enthusiasts and other member of the community gathered for the first Plant and Seed Swap through the extension office.

The event was organized through members of the extension service’s first Master Gardener class, held at the beginning of 2011. For alumni of the class to receive full Master Gardener status, they need to complete 30 hours of volunteer and educational service, and members of the class decided a plant and seed swap would be a great project.

“It sounded like a good idea,” said Linda Morrison, a Master Gardener intern and organizer of the event. “I have a lot of flowers I wanted to divide and I thought a lot of other people did too.”

At least 50 people attended the event, which ran from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with about 30-40 of them bringing in plants or seeds to share.

“We’ve been really excited about the turnout,” Morrison said Saturday afternoon.

Several Master Gardener interns started discussing the idea of a plant and seed swap in June. Kristin Goodin, the extension service’s agent for horticulture, helped the group decide how to organize and advertise the event.

“We wanted to share with the community plants and seeds that they could enjoy,” Goodin said. “It turned out really good. I’m hoping next year it’ll be bigger.”

While organizers hope to host a larger event next year, they are thrilled that attendees on Saturday were already asking about a swap for next year. Not only do they hope to have more attendance from the community, Master Gardener Intern Toni Williams pointed out that there will also be a new class of Master Gardeners to help organize the event. The first class met from January through March, and another class has already started. Many Barren County residents are enjoying the new curriculum that helps gardeners improve their skills.

“Gardening is a healthy hobby,” said Maxine Ogles, another Master Gardener intern and organizer of the plant and seed swap.

Saturday’s event pulled together most members of the first Master Gardener class, and it looked like the community enjoyed the experience, Ogles said. As the first year of the event, Ogles said there weren’t any rules requiring community members to bring in plants in order to take some. The Master Gardener interns spent several days pulling up their own gardens so they could bring in plants, and they didn’t want to take any of it home.

“All gardeners like to share,” Ogles said.

While there were still plants left over at the end of the afternoon, the community managed to walk away with plenty of prized plants and seeds from others’ gardens.

“I think for the first year, it’s been a big success,” Morrison said.

Goodin said she is looking forward to more people knowing about the event and participating next year.

“Maybe after the first year, more people will be aware of it and will come,” she said.

The national Master Gardener curriculum, started this year at the Barren County Cooperative Extension Service, provides 24 hours of training in horticulture topics such as botany, soil, plant pathology, entomology and pesticides. In order to complete certification, Master Gardeners must complete 30 hours of volunteer service. Anyone interested in earning the Master Gardener certification should contact Kristin Goodin at the Barren County Cooperative Extension Service.

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