Master Gardeners are thinking spring

Even though the winter has started out really cold the garden catalogs that are coming help us to shorten the winter, if only in our minds.

The Master Gardeners are also trying to shorten the winter by offering events that will help during the growing season.  On Saturday, Jan. 11 from 9 a.m. to noon, Tom Dickhudt and I will be at Peterson’s Farm, Home and Garden Store in North Branch. We will be talking about raising leeks and onions and answering any general garden questions.

Jim Birkholz, owner and operator of Pleasant Valley Orchard near Shafer, has started our Spring Series for many years. Jim always begins the series with a class on pruning apple trees. Believe it or not, February and March is the time to prune fruit trees, depending on the cold and snow depth.  Jim’s class will be held at the Senior Center in North Branch Tuesday, Jan. 28 at 6 p.m. The cost for all classes is $5 per person and pre-registration is recommended; however you can register at the door.

On Tuesday, Feb. 11, Jim will do a class on apple pests and diseases. Many of the gardeners who took Jim’s first class return, and there are always questions about fruit trees.  Again, as with all the classes, they will be at the Senior Center in North Branch at 6 p.m.

Our Spring Series will also offer classes on growing blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, sweet potatoes and tomatoes and a class on the secrets to healthy garden soil. For complete class descriptions and a registration form or to be added to our mailing list, visit or call the extension office at 651-277-0151.

We are also taking orders for our annual bareroot plant sale. The order form is also on our website, or just call the office and we will mail you an order form.

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