Get excited about gardening at Master Gardeners' Grow It, Eat It lecture series

Get excited about gardening at Master Gardeners' Grow It, Eat It lecture series
Joan Epler shows students the proper way to transplant a "pot-bound" tomato plant to a larger container before it's ready to be planted in the garden during a Grow It, Eat It class in 2014. This year's lecture series begins March 17 and continues each Saturday through April 14. (BSMG file)

The Grow It, Eat It gardening lecture series by the University of Maryland Extension Master Gardeners will begin Saturday, March 17, at the University of Maryland Extension Carroll County Office in Westminster.

According to UME Carroll County’s Master Gardener Program Coordinator Courtney Coddington, the courses are structured for the beginning gardener and highlight the basics one would want to know to have a successful gardening season.


“This seminar is perfect for the first-time gardener, a homeowner that is adding a new garden to an undeveloped area, or for anyone that would like to develop a green thumb,” Coddington said.

Coddington said topics include considerations for planning a new garden, Master Gardeners' favorite veggies and fruits for Carroll County, how to tackle weeds, as well as which insects to welcome in the garden and what pests to discourage. There will be two lecture topics each Saturday until April 14. The topics will be separated by an intermission break that will feature informative displays with interactive topics like beekeeping, microscope diagnostics, garden tools and composters.

Participants can sign up for the whole series or choose from individual class days. Each class day costs $10 per family, which includes one set of materials and resources for the two course topics.

Master Gardener Marty Hankins will teach the class Vegetables 101.

“I like that it’s like an ala carte menu,” Hankins said. “You can pick and choose which classes to take.”

Hankins said 2018’s GIEI classes have been moved to later in the season so that participants could jump right into gardening. Previously, classes were held in January.

Hankins said she thinks participants will enjoy the collaborative atmosphere of the classes.

“You’ll be in a room full of gardeners and gardening experts and you’ll have resources to take home from the Grow It, Eat it program,” she said. “We’ll have tools to get people started and displays to check out. It won’t be just a lecture.”

Master Gardener Sandy Cowman agreed. She will be teaching a class about good bugs and bad bugs.

“I’ll be using a lot of pictures,” Cowman said. “I think seeing pictures of the bugs and where they’re located will help. I’m going to talk about the importance of patrolling your gardens daily and really looking at your plants. That’s the way you’ll be able to prevent a lot of damage.”

Master Gardener Joan Epler will be teaching a class on starting plants from seeds.

“All the presenters are just regular, nice people who relate well to the audience and want to help people,” Epler said. “We want them to know how to take care of their gardens and how to protect their gardens from pests.”

Epler said the classes are a great way to get excited about the gardening season.

“After the class, they can go right home and get their seeds out,” Epler said. “We want to get people off to a good start.”