Gardening and pruning classes: There are a number of Dane County UW-Extension classes coming up that you may be interested in. I’ve had a number of requests for fruit tree pruning workshops, so I am holding a free workshop on March 17 from 9 a.m. to noon at the McFarland Municipal Center Village Hall training room, located at 5915 Milwaukee St., McFarland.
This event is being organized by the library in McFarland, so you can call them at 608-838-9030 or stop by the checkout desk to register. We will have a limit of 20 participants, so register soon!
I will also be holding my annual shade tree and ornamental shrub pruning class here at the Dane County UW-Extension Teaching Garden. The workshop will be March 24 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will be an indoor program about proper pruning techniques. Then the class will go outside for a hands-on pruning session on shrubs and trees.
I’ll be joined by members of the Dane County Tree Board, who will help guide the outdoor hands-on pruning. Wear your woolies if it is cold outside, and bring a pruning shears and/or loppers if possible. The program cost is $15. You can register online at https://dane.uwex.edu or register by mailing a check to the Dane County Extension Office.
Our Green Thumb Gardening series at the Dane County Extension Office began Feb. 22, but there are still many classes on Thursday nights from 6:30-9 p.m., including planning vegetable gardens and organic techniques, vegetable families, pests and diseases on March 15; landscape design March 22; composting and soils March 29; diseases in the landscape April 5; growing berries April 12; and annuals and perennials on April 26. Classes are $20 each. Visit https://dane.uwex.edu for more information or to register.
Seed starting: While March 4 is too early to start many seeds, it’s not too early to make sure your supplies and equipment will be ready to go for the third to fourth week in March. Check your grow-lights, surge protectors and timers (if you use them) to be sure everything is in working order. Check on your supply of seed-starting mix— don’t use potting soil meant for houseplants; use a mix labeled for starting seeds for the best results. These media are fluffy and fine-textured with good water-holding capacity and light weight, so germinating seeds don’t have any problems establishing good root systems.
Also check that you have a good supply of either plastic bedding-plant cell packs, peat pots or re-purposed containers. Some people save clear plastic salad containers, yogurt or margarine containers, egg cartons or even toilet paper or paper towel cardboard insert cylinders.