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3 months ago

Hawkins Master Gardener course literally starts from the ground up - Kingsport Times News

That's why Hawkins County Agricultural Agent and master gardener Jack Price is utilizing Tennessee's dirt guru former Cherokee High School instructor Jim Wells to kick off this year's course.

He basically wrote the soils manual for soil judging for the state of Tennessee, Price told the Times-News Tuesday. He's the guru of dirt. He was also very instrumental in taking a lot of FFA (Future Farmers of America) kids to Kansas, Oklahoma, and other places to compete.

Price is hosting a Q&A meeting about this year's Master Gardener course on Oct. 4 at 6 p.m. at the UT Agricultural Extension Office, 850 W. Main Street in Rogersville.

The goal is to begin the 18-class, 40-hour course in late October.

A lot of material is covered during that time period. After the section on soil and water there are sections on basic botany, plant pathology, entomology, vegetable production, small fruit and nut trees, IPM (integrated pest management), weed control, wildlife management, fertilizer use and composting just to name a few..

And then I have what I call the fun subject, like container gardening, small area gardening, and this year we're going to do what I call organic gardening, Price said, The instructor calls it biological gardening. The difference is she doesn't use any kind of pesticide.

Classes are taught by agricultural agents, vocational teachers, and a few doctorates from UT.

I use a variety of people, and I do try to tie in some local instructors as well from Cherokee and Volunteer High Schools, as well as other master gardeners from Northeast Tennessee, Price said. I try to use as many local people as possible. There's a lot of talent right here in Hawkins County.

The class will average about two meetings per month, and is expected to conclude in April or May.

The Tennessee Master Gardener course is about community service through horticulture.

You're going to get a good knowledge base of research based information, Price said. You are going to learn some new topics. We hope that you'll correctly learn how to used different defense mechanisms in and around the yard, and in your garden. And hopefully when you become a master gardener, if someone has questions you'll be able to answer them with confidence.

And then there's the volunteering aspect. The course itself is 40 hours of instruction. In order to become a Tennessee Master Gardener you must also perform 40 hours of community service, and then perform another 25 hours annually to maintain certification.

There are a variety of locations available to earn those hours, such as the community garden in Rogersville managed by the UT Ag Extension Office; or the Church Hill community garden which is managed by Master Gardener instructor Marcia Van de Mause.

The fee for the course is $150 per person or $275 per couple. The fee covers the training materials and other course expenses.

The course is limited to the first 20 people who register.

Anyone who is interested in the course but unable to attend the Oct.. 4 meeting can call Price at 423-272-7241 or email

5 months ago

Tuesday Toolmen Seeks More Volunteers to do Home Repairs for Low-Income People - 9&10 News

Not everyone can afford basic home repairs -- but that can lead to larger problems down the road if they aren't taken care of right away.

Now, a group of volunteers in Grand Traverse County is taking care of those issues -- if there's a physical or financial hurdle.

The Tuesday Toolmen are volunteers who help low-income seniors with home repairs.

It's a project that's part of the 'United Way' of Northwest Michigan.

If it wasn't for this program, we could not be on our own. There's no way, said Chester Leatherman.

Chester and Karen Leatherman both suffer from several disabilities.

Chester used to take care of home repairs himself, but with two broken legs, he no longer can.

Things take me so long because of my legs being broke. They're needed quite bad. I can tell you through my wife and I experiences.

He is certainly grateful for the Tuesday Toolmen.

We do our best to make it more comfortable for people to live in their home is what we do, said Tuesday Toolmen Volunteer Al Swiderski.

When Tuesday Toolmen show up, they do whatever it is they know how to do. At Chester's house they worked on light fixtures and fixing up the sink.

There are some projects we do and some that we wish we could do. They're too big. We're for the small projects. Little plumbing projects, putting up some grab bars.

Home Depot gives the group gift cards so they can buy materials for the repairs.

The Toolmen always go out in pairs.

Right now one of four of them are hurt, so, they're looking for more volunteers.

You don't have to be a master craftsman. I'm definitely not, you know. But we'd like some more help.

A worthwhile project for both the volunteers and the people they help.

We would not have the money to do it. And this helps us to be able to stay at home instead of being in some nursing home, Leatherman said.

If you're interested in volunteering or getting help from the Tuesday Toolmen, then call or email KateKerr.

You can reach her by phone at (231) 947.3200 x. 203, or by email at

8 months ago

When it comes to gardening advice, be wary of what you read on social media - Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

FAIRBANKS I dont belong to Facebook, largely because I have enough other time-sucks in my life, but recently a reader asked me about a gardening tip she had read on the Fairbanks Gardeners page. So I asked my husband, who does have a Facebook account, to join the group so I could look around. And here is what I found: tons of great encouragement and advice for new gardeners, seedlings for sale (some that looked deep green and stocky, while others looking so spindly and emaciated that they should have been headed for the compost bin and not for sale to unsuspecting and inexperienced gardeners), and a lot of err