Wednesday, September 22, 2010

First Master Gardening Class

Monday night was my first master gardening class.  There were forty-four of us, and apparently there are about the same number in the afternoon class.  We have a wide range of interests, some of which are:

  • I moved from the NE, and I'm used to loamy soil, not clay.
  • I keep learning by trial and error, and I want to have more knowledge so I can avoid killing things and replanting them the next year.
  • I want to grow vegetables organically.
  • I want to keep wildlife from eating my vegetables in the gentlest way I can.
  • I am interested in community gardening.
  • I'd like to grow roses.
  • I grew up on a farm and am passionate about agriculture and want to learn more about horticulture.
  • I recently moved, and my old yard had a lot of sun and my new yard has a lot of shade.
  • I'd like to grow fruit trees.
  • My goal is to have as little grass in my yard as possible.
  • I know nothing and want to know more.

And my favorite:

  • I work in a cemetery and want to learn how to spruce it up--make it look less dead, no pun intended.
We received a giant binder with reference materials and another binder with PowerPoint slides that are used for each lecture.  There is a quiz and answers on the website for each session as well as a "web assignment" to help you explore reputable horticultural websites.  We took a pre-test, and it's the same test we'll take at the end of the class.

The class itself was pretty intense.  It moved very quickly, and I was glad I had a science background.  We spent a lot of time talking about parts of plants, down to the parts of a stem; plant processes such as photosynthesis, transpiration, and respiration; and ways to identify plants based on leaf structure and placement.

I picked up a couple interesting facts:

It is not true that watering in the middle of the day is hard on plants.*

Sweet potatoes are root tissue, whereas white potatoes are stem tissue.  That's why you can sprout a new potato plant from a sweet potato, but you'll only get spindly ick from the buds on white potatoes.

Fruit are ripened ovaries.** 

I think the next few will also be intense because I know so little about each subject.  Tonight we talk about soil and soil diseases, and next week we cover insects and plant pathology.

*Is anyone else's world rocked by that?  I mean, when he explained it, it made sense, but....
** Because I'm a 12-year-old girl, that grosses me out.


  1. Oh you are bringing back so many memories of my Master Gardening classes--just made me laugh all over again! Seems like the same folks that are in your class were in mine (all except the guy from the cemetery). Seriously. . . a cemetery?

  2. Ha! Cemetery guy's comment was funny =)

    Can I just express how jealous I am? This class sounds amazing. I'd love to do something like that, but living in Germany now (and speaking "nicht so gut" German complicates things....)