Deliver Programming and Help Build the Master Gardener and Horticulture Program in Keokuk County

Gary Bickmeier, Keokuk County Extension Education Director, Southeast Area

The Problem                       

Keokuk County has never had enough interest in the Master Gardener program to field a large enough group to hold trainings.  For many years Keokuk County residents interested in the Iowa State University Master Gardeners Program have traveled to surrounding counties to receive training.  As a result of the fact that training was held outside of the county Master Gardeners had problems completing their Master Gardener Service hours, receiving additional training, and in bonding as a group.
The Response         

Several Master Gardener Committee meetings were set up during the summer of 2006.  The Master Gardeners and other select Non Master Gardeners met and discussed possible programming solutions and ideas to encourage the formation of a Master Gardener Group in Keokuk County.
The Impact

Keokuk County Extension has had a whirl of activity generated by its Master Gardeners.  Master Gardeners have beautified the landscape and educated the people of Keokuk County concerning Horticulture.  The group has held a Fall Gardening program on making low cost soil blocks and planting and using Garlic, Onions and Shallots, a session on planting and selection of trees and shrubs.  A program in March was held on Organic Gardening.  Questions from the over 60 participants were answered by the speakers and Master Gardeners present.  Throughout the spring and summer Master Gardeners have been conducting projects.  Some of the more memorable ones include the Harper Park and the Sigourney Library Landscaping.
The charter meeting of the Keokuk County Master Gardeners was held in April.  Master Gardeners discussed some questions that had recently come their way concerning the weather and plant care in general.  Along with beginning club organization, the members introduced them selves and generally got to know each other.  Other activities through the year include landscaping the Courthouse having educational presentations at the Farmers Market, Planting Flowers at the New Hospital, and aiding the Sigourney Garden Club with their beautification projects.  A Junior Master Gardeners program is planned for this fall.  In less than one year the Master Gardeners have grown from 4 to over 25 and growing.

130  Horticulture: Commercial and Consumer

Page last updated: September 28, 2007
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