This time of year is exciting for any gardener, but especially so for Chautauqua County's Master Gardeners.
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County, with its office on Turner Road in Jamestown, is the site of a new demonstration garden complete with nine raised beds, each measuring 3-by-3 feet for the Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners Demonstration Site as well as six 3-by-3 testing gardens and two 3 by 24 giving gardens.
The nine beds of the Vegetable Varieties Demonstration Garden section were designed by Cornell to inform the public about the Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners online citizen science project that any gardener can participate in.
Master Gardeners are pictured filling the beds this past spring in the new demonstration garden. From left are Richard Selden, Jim Wilmoth, Mary Erlandson and Reg Boutwell.
For centuries, gardeners have asked fellow gardeners what varieties they should grow. Now the Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners website provides an avenue for gardeners to share their knowledge with a much wider community. The concept is simple: Gardeners visit the site and report what varieties perform well - and not so well - in their gardens. Other gardeners can then visit the site to view the variety ratings and read the reviews to decide which might work well for them.
In addition to rating vegetable varieties, the demonstration garden highlights ecological gardening techniques such as sheet mulching, cover cropping and companion planting. It also provides a way for the Master Gardener Program to give back to the community even more by creating nearly 150 square feet of giving garden space. Of the vegetables that have been harvested so far this year, most have been donated to the St. Susan Center as part of the Giving Gardens Program.
The Master Gardeners of Chautauqua County would like to invite the public to an Evening in the Garden for vegetable variety tasting and a tour of the new demonstration garden on Tuesday, beginning at 6:15 p.m.
The mission of the Chautauqua County Master Gardener Program is to educate and serve the community, utilizing university and research-based horticultural information. Volunteers are from the community who have successfully completed 50-plus hours of Cornell approved training and volunteer a minimum of 50 hours per year.
For more information on the Master Gardener Program, contact Betsy Burgeson, Master Gardener coordinator at 664-9502, ext. 204, or email Emh92@cornell.edu. "Like" the Chautauqua County Master Gardeners on Facebook for gardening news and information.