Upper Peninsula gardeners continue to benefit from Smart Gardening program

Free MSU Extension tip sheets, presentations and hands-on activities reached over a thousand people at the annual Escanaba Kiwanis Home & Garden Show/Pancake Feed.

Deb Kinzi, Extension Master Gardener trainee, assists with Smart Gardening advice.
Deb Kinzi, Extension Master Gardener trainee, assists with Smart Gardening advice. Photo by Rebecca Krans, MSU Extension.

Approximately 4,400 attended this year’s Escanaba Kiwanis Noon Home & Garden Show/Pancake Feed held in the Ruth Butler Building at the Upper Peninsula State Fairgrounds in Escanaba, Michigan, April 5-7 2019. Michigan State University Extension horticulture, health and field crop staff worked alongside MSU Extension Master Gardeners and other local professionals to present Smart Gardening, nutrition, safe food preservation and invasive species educational resources to the public. Eighteen Extension Master Gardeners from five different Upper Peninsula counties were present at this year’s show. Escanaba Kiwanis holds the event every year as a fundraiser. Entrance to the show is free and attendees can purchase pancake feed tickets.

Extension Master Gardeners trained in Smart Gardening volunteer outreach provided the public with free educational resources on various Smart Gardening topics such as soils, lawns, plants, vegetables and pollinators. Check out more Smart Gardening information at the Gardening in Michigan website. Over 823 people were introduced to the Smart Gardening initiative. Extension Master Gardeners also offered a free activity to approximately 250 people on seeding wheat grass for great cat treats or for juicing.

Over 75 people also enjoyed free gardening presentations from MSU Extension staff, Extension Master Gardeners and the coordinator of the Lake-to-Lake Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area. Topics included straw bale gardening, garlic production, square foot herb gardening, Smart Gardening at the Escanaba Community Garden, invasive species management on private property, and cover crops for the backyard garden. Show organizers noted, “We had many positive comments about the quality of your (MSUE) presentations.”

Extension Master Gardeners also provided informational displays on their on-going volunteer projects to highlight their contributions to communities. As part of their annual requirements to complete volunteer time and teach others about science-based gardening, Extension Master Gardeners devote a lot of time on a variety of impactful projects. Extension Master Gardeners traveled over 2,200 miles across the Upper Peninsula and provided over 100 volunteer hours, amounting to over $4,000 donated to this one event.

The next MSU Extension Master Gardener class in the Upper Peninsula will be in Escanaba from August to December of 2019, and partial scholarships are available. Visit Master Gardener Escanaba (Delta County) for more information on registering for the class (deadline is Aug. 9). For more information on the Extension Master Gardener program, please visit the MSU Extension Master Gardener website.

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