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Grow it, eat it: Carroll County Master Gardeners offers free gardening classes

New gardeners looking to get their hands dirty for the first time or experienced growers with green thumbs are invited to the Carroll County Extension Center for three free classes this winter.

Carroll County Master Gardeners are offering classes to teach locals about how to create successful gardens. Thanks to a strong plant sale fundraiser, the extension center is able to offer classes without charging guests, according to Courtney Coddington, master gardener coordinator at the University of Maryland Extension. The classes focus on gardens for growing food and vegetables, which inspired the name of the class series, “Grow It, Eat It.”

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“This will teach you all the basics,” Coddington said in an interview.

On Jan. 15, students will learn about the best location for gardens, including growing seasons, crop rotation, layout, drainage, and more, according to a news release. Soil will be the focus of the class Feb. 19. Soil testing, fertilizers, and cultivation will dominate the discussion. Finally, the March 18 class will teach students about seeds. Participants will learn how to read seed packets, how to start seeds inside before growing outdoors, discover the best vegetables for spring planting, and how to test soil temperature. Coddington said the lessons will focus on how to create the best garden based on Carroll County’s climate and soil.

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The classes are being taught at the same time that the lessons should be applied, according to Coddington. She encourages people to attend multiple classes and share their progress as they put the concepts they learned into practice.

All classes will be held at the extension center, 700 Agricultural Center Drive, Westminster. Classes will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Registration is required. Visit carrollcountymastergardeners.org or call 410-386-2760 to register. Information will be presented in a lecture, and the class usually includes a hands-on component, according to Coddington.

“It’s really geared toward a person that has very little gardening experience,” Coddington said.

At the same time, she’s also seen more experienced gardeners attend the classes, which is helpful when they share stories about what has and has not worked for them.

In other garden-related news, National Seed Swap Day is planned for Jan. 25 at 11 a.m. at the Westminster Branch Library. Visitors are invited to bring seeds to swap with other gardeners, and there will be a speaker from Carroll County Master Gardeners. Attendees need to register online through the library’s website.

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