Ask a Master Gardener
Garden Tour / Urban Gardener
While we don’t have a specific question this week, one thing that people oftentimes ask us is, “Do you have any classes coming up?” The answer depends on the time of year, but right now, yes, we do have some educational opportunities on the near horizon.
First up is our annual garden tour. This year our theme is Keep Calm and Garden On. Gardening can be (for the most part) a calming experience, and if we need anything in the world right now, that would be a little calm. So, here’s what you need to know about our Keep Calm and Garden On Garden Tour that is happening on June 10th and 11th.
While our Demo Garden is open year-round and is filled with beautiful plants in a variety of growing conditions, it’s always fun to get out and wander around some beautifully landscaped homes for a little inspiration…inspiration in what can be possible in a normal homeowner’s landscape with a little planning and proper care.
Each of the five homes on our garden tour are homes of current Tulsa Master Gardeners. These landscapes have been planted, tended, and cared for by Master Gardener volunteers for the last couple of months as they have been preparing them for the garden tour. Because of this, by the time the garden tour arrives, they should be beautiful.
Each home is different and reflects the personalities of their owners. Some lean more toward pollinator plants, both native and non-native, while others show how you can have a beautiful landscape even if your garden area doesn’t get a lot of sun. One of the homes has over 100 different varieties of plants for your inspection.
It’s easy to think of a garden tour as a group of homes that you visit to have a look, which is also true of the Tulsa Master Gardner Garden Tour. But, with our mission of educating the general public as well, you will find a variety of educational opportunities available during the tour.
First of all, Master Gardeners will be present at each location so you can ask questions about what you see or perhaps a gardening issue you are having at home. In addition, one of the homes will have a series of presentations during the day on a variety of topics including container gardening, growing tomatoes, attracting birds to your garden, house plants, and soil testing. I mentioned pollinator plants, well one of the homes will have information of pollinator plants for your garden as well as information on composting for the homeowner.
You can purchase advance/discounted tickets on our website (www.tulsamastergardeners.org) or at the OSU Extension at 4116 E. 15th Street. Advance tickets are $10 each while tickets during the tour will be $15. This is a rain or shine event so in the event of rain, know we will remain calm and garden on.
Next up on July 22nd is our popular Urban Gardener/Seed to Supper class. We used to teach this class on vegetable gardening over several evenings, but now we offer it in a one day, crash course on everything you need to know to either start growing vegetables or just to raise your gardener game.
Some might ask, “why are you having a vegetable gardening class in July?” Well, many vegetable gardeners who planted in the spring, begin again starting in mid-July for their fall gardens. Fall gardens can be just as productive as a summer garden with many options for what you can grow. And some gardeners tend to like their fall gardens best for a variety of reasons. One very good reason is that there is a reduced pest load in the fall due to insect life cycles, and some gardeners swear the fall vegetables just taste better. While the jury may be out on that claim, it is nice to be out in the garden in September and October when the hot sun is not trying to beat us into submission.
In this class, you will learn about soil maintenance, nutrient management, fertilizers, soil testing, choosing a location for your garden, types of gardens, plant spacing, crop rotation, starting seeds, and how to control disease and pests through organic practices. In addition, you will receive a 3 ring binder full of fact sheets from OSU to use as a reference moving forward after the class.
These classes are always a fun day, and it seems some of the attendees move on to become Master Gardeners. Tickets are $30 for the day which starts at 9:00 am and ends about 3:00 pm. This ticket also includes a pizza lunch. Proceeds go to help fund our Seed to Supper Farm that I mentioned earlier. At our farm in Bixby, we have a little over an acre and a half of land where we are growing a variety of vegetables to distribute to area food pantries. This year’s crops include potatoes, onions, beets, turnips, collards, radishes, tomatoes, beans, okra, eggplant, watermelon, cantaloupes, and corn. A new irrigation system this year will hopefully help us increase production. Last year we donated between 4000 and 5000 pounds of food. This year we hope to donate more. We are taking what we are learning in this project and sharing it with you in this class. We hope you can come. Seating is limited so sign up soon to reserve your spot. See you in the garden!
You can get answers to all your gardening questions by calling the Tulsa Master Gardeners Help Line at 918-746-3701, dropping by our Diagnostic Center at 4116 E. 15th Street, or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Photo: Master Gardener Steven Hall