It's the time of year where once again it is easy to be green.
The Chautauqua County Master Gardener Program hosted an event recently at the Prendergast Library in Jamestown. The event highlighted tips and tricks to growing a successful vegetable, annual, perennial or herb garden.
Representing the program were Master Gardeners Sharon Reed and Patty Luciani.
"We want to just run over the basic steps of starting a personal garden," said Reed. "The mission of the Chautauqua County Master Gardener Program is to educate and serve the community, utilizing university and research-based horticultural information. We're all volunteers, and there are around 50 master gardeners in Chautauqua County. In order to keep our master gardener status, we are required to volunteer for 50 hours per year, so we're here today to help you with your private gardens."
Reed and Luciani began the seminar by discussing the preliminary steps to building your own garden, such as choosing which seeds to plant.
"So you're thinking about starting a garden," said Reed. "We encourage looking at garden books to get an idea of what seeds are available, as well as what seeds might grow well in our area."
NEWSPAPER SEEDING POTS
For each pot, cut a 4-by-7 inch strip of paper. Fold it -inch along one long edge. Roll it into a cylinder and tape. Flatten it, and cut four 1-inch slits at the center and sides. Press it flat again to make a box shape. Fold the ends in along the slits. Tape the last flap to hold all the flaps in place. Fill it with soil and sow the seeds. Label the pot with the name of the plant. When it's time to transplant the little plants in the garden, plant the entire pot in the ground. Gently remove the tape and open the bottom of the pot when you plant it, and the little roots will grow out easier. The paper will rot into the soil.
Though private gardens can truly become anything the gardener desires, Reed and Luciani recommended gardeners consider using plant strains that are native to the area, as these plants are not only acclimated to the climate and soil type, but they help to promote a healthy overall ecosystem.
Reed and Luciani continued by showing those in attendance how they can create their own seeding pots out of newspaper, rather than spending money on expensive seeding pots.
"You'll find already germinated plants that are ready to go directly into your garden, but it's a lot more financially reasonable to start growing from a seed instead, not to mention the personal enjoyment you'll get out of it," said Reed.
After suggesting tips such as keeping a gardening journal and choosing plants which grow well in our climate, by looking at soil pH and hardiness level, Reed and Luciani talked about how plants in a garden compliment each other.
"There's a book by Louise Riotte called 'Carrots Love Tomatoes' that highlights how plants can have a (symbiotic relationship) with each other," said Reed. "There is a lot of information out there about how plants can compliment each other in a garden, but 'Carrots Love Tomatoes' is one of my favorites."
When the seminar ended, Reed and Luciani encouraged guests to take a gardening journal home with them. Similar gardening journals can be found in gardening magazines or online, such as the Chautauqua County Master Gardener website. The address to the website is www.chautauquacce.shutterfly.com/mg.
The next Master Gardener program will take place at the Ashville Public Library on May 6 at 6 p.m., and will be a repeat of Wednesday's event. The next event to take place at the Prendergast Library will be held on May 8 at 6 p.m., and will discuss eco-friendly gardening.