The soft morning light and the sweet songs of the birds trickle through your windows and awaken you in the morning. You just know spring has arrived — the season every gardener has been waiting for all winter.
You emerge from your home with clippers, pruners, trowels, shovels, seeds, and fertilizers.
During those cold and dark winter months you envisioned planting trees, shrubs, flowers, herbs, and all those delicious vegetables. You are dancing joyfully through your favorite nursery with a smile on your face and a twinkle in your eyes.
STOP! WAKE UP! It’s only a dream. Drop the tools, GET OUT OF BED, and take a long, good look at your property.
Examine it carefully. What do you see? Are there too many weeds, or just enough that you can live with?
Have you had your soil tested in the last three years? If not, how much lime do you actually need for your lawn, and what type of fertilizer does one need for vegetables and shrubs?
What is this IPM (Integrated Pest Management) thing that you read about?
What annuals do you need to plant in the shade, and what about plants for full sun?
So many questions and not enough answers.
The Penn State Master Gardeners of Butler County volunteers can help you with your questions.
The Penn State Master Gardener program, coordinated by Penn State Cooperative Extension, provides horticultural training to interested individuals in exchange for a commitment of volunteer time.
Master Gardeners are volunteers who have a keen interest in gardening, helping others, and a desire to learn new gardening techniques.
A Master Gardener completes a minimum of 40 classroom hours in subjects such as entomology, botany, soil science, pesticide safety, plant propagation and communication skills. This training is provided by extension and non-extension professionals.
All Master Gardeners must complete the class work and score well on a test administered by Penn State Cooperative Extension and fulfill their 50 volunteer hours.
Many Master Gardeners continue with the volunteer program for years.
Master Gardeners provide a variety of services to their community, such as answering home gardening questions that are phoned into the “Garden Hotline,” conducting local informational seminars, maintaining pollinator gardens and communicating with the public through newspaper articles and speakers’ bureau.
Butler County Master Gardeners can be contacted through the Butler County Extension Office at 724-287-4761 or you can submit your question along with your name, address and telephone number to Master Gardener, c/o The Penn State Cooperative Extension, 101 Motor Pool Way, Butler, PA 16001. Email inquiries can be sent to ButlerExt@psu.edu.
Julia Habsburg has been a Master Gardener since 1998.