Extension office offering master gardener course again
JaNae Blonquist knew how to successfully manage a garden before she signed up for an educational gardening program through the Utah State University extension office. Her mother, a former secretary in the extension office, had a green thumb and encouraged Blonquist in 4-H when she was younger.
However, Blonquist, a Coalville resident, said she had abandoned gardening early into adulthood and had no desire for it until recently.
"I hadn’t done much gardening since I got married, but a couple of years ago I decided I wanted to try it again and get a little more information about it," Blonquist said.
Blonquist enrolled in Summit and Wasatch County’s 10-week master gardener course through the USU extension office. She took the class twice and learned how to transplant seeds, what the best planting periods are and several new landscaping techniques, among other skills.
"There is very little that they don’t cover," Blonquist said. "I didn’t have much of a garden before, it was small, but I wanted to see what I could improve on."
Blonquist said during summertime her garden now produces squash, lettuce, peas, corn and some herbs, before adding that she still isn’t successful with carrots and beans.
"I absolutely enjoyed the course. It was fun. I’d recommend it, though I probably won’t take it again. I’ve had my turn," Blonquist said.
USU will be offering its 10-week program to Summit and Wasatch County residents beginning Feb. 4. The deadline to register is Jan. 22. The weekly class offers tips and lectures on gardening, landscaping and vegetable production to children and adults. The class meets at either the Swaner EcoCenter, at Kimball Junction, or the Wasatch County extension office, in Heber City.
"It’s pretty extensive," Sterling Banks, Summit County director of agriculture and 4-H youth programs, said. "We have different speakers each week and have information geared toward high-elevation gardening,"
The classes include several hands-on activities, such as transplanting seeds and pruning, Banks said. Participants who attend 70 percent of the classes and perform 40 hours of horticulture-related volunteer services are also eligible for a nationally-recognized master gardener certification, Banks said.
A minimum of 10 participants are required for the course to be offered, however, Banks said more than 20 usually sign up.
Sarah Tessler, a Trailside resident, received her certification through the course after she implemented a school garden at Trailside Elementary School. Like Blonquist, Tessler said she started with a small garden for her family in her yard and then enrolled in the course as she sought more information on how to expand it.
"It was really informative and I loved the lectures," Tessler said. "I started with my own yard and I was just interested in it and I thought it was pretty cool. I just wish they would offer more of them.
"I want to do it again,"Tessler said.
Utah State University’s 10-week master gardener course begins Feb. 4. The class will meet on Thursdays between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. at the SwanerEco Center, in Kimball Junction, or the Wasatch County extension office, in Heber City. The class cost $125 per person and the deadline to register is Jan. 22. For more information about the program or to register go to extension.usu.edu or call the Summit County extension office at 435-336-3217.
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Jenn Armstrong-Solomon provides the services of her trauma-sensitive yoga nonprofit, Tall Mountain Wellness, free of charge to groups like the Summit County Drug Court and the county jail.