Get Ready…Get Set…Garden! 2013

This year’s trip to Baraboo for Get Ready…Get Set…Garden! is part of our continuing education. I talked about this particular educational opportunity in last year’s Get Ready…Get Set…Garden! post. The sessions are hosted by the Sauk County UW Extension, which actually puts on a substantial number of events during the year. Our itinerary for this year consisted of container bag gardening techniques, growing small fruits (strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries), and gardening with aches and pains (essentially a session on dealing with accessibility needs for gardeners).

The first session discussed container bag gardening and the advantages it offers over using buckets or over-sized pots to hold your garden on the patio. Every year Rebecca puts together a wonderful salad garden for me. Of special interest are the cherry and salad tomatoes. If I need a snack, I simply go outside, enjoy the flower garden she has put together for me, and munch a few tomatoes—nothing could be better than that. However, we had always wondered whether there might be something more that we could do. This year’s sessions shows that we can. However, instead of using the really expensive gardening bags that the instructor promoted as part of her business, we plan to use feed sacks. They’ll perform the same function and only cost a fraction of the amount (a bag large enough to grow tomatoes costs $22.00 if you go the garden bag route, the same size feed bag is free since we get them as part of buying feed for our animals).  I’ll post again sometime later this year to let you know how the garden bags work.

We have also had a lot of problems growing blueberries, despite ensuring the ground is acid enough for them. It turns out that we have been doing a few things wrong—the most important of which is that we haven’t been watering our blueberries enough. It seems that they require almost boggy conditions to grow acceptably. Equipped with our new knowledge, we’re going to give blueberries another try this summer. One of the problems with gardening is that you aren’t likely to get the technique right on the first try, or the second, or the third. There are some people who think gardening is science. Well, that’s partially correct, but it’s also part art. Sometimes you just need to feel your way through a growing experience.

Unfortunately, our instructor didn’t arrive for the third session. Someone with the UW Extension did fill in, but I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed because I was really looking forward to getting quite a lot out of this third class. As Rebecca and I get older, it would be nice to know about a few of the things we could do to make our gardening experience better. Even so, I must applaud the UW Extension instructor for getting up and giving an impromptu discussion on a topic that she hadn’t prepared for without any preparation time. To simply get up and start talking would be one thing—to do it exceptionally well given the circumstances is nothing short of amazing. I also plan to post again on some thoughts I garnered on meeting accessibility requirements for gardening.

There are some benighted people who think that education ends when you leave high school or college. Education is a lifelong endeavor. Gaining new knowledge and then turning it into wisdom adds spice and keeps our minds fit. Whether your intellectual love is technical, natural, or in some other realm, take time to embrace it by furthering your education. Let me know your thoughts on continuing education at John@JohnMuellerBooks.com.