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Getting ready to plant

Never mind the snow. On Tuesday, April 17, Douglas County master gardeners will kick off a series aimed at the home gardener.

Offered through University of Minnesota Extension, the classes will be offered for free without pre-registration from noon-1 p.m. at the Douglas County Library at 720 Fillmore St. in Alexandria. Attendees are urged to bring a lunch or snack.

The lineup is as follows:

• April 17 - "Starting Seeds" by Diane Henry. It's not too late to start seeds for this season. Henry will talk about choosing varieties and growing healthy transplants.

• May 1 - "Dividing Plants" by Pat Jepsen. Jepsen will explain how to get more perennials the easy and cheap way by dividing plants.

• May 15 - "Growing Vegetables" For the Family by John Stone. Stone will discuss how to grow homegrown vegetables the whole family will enjoy.

• May 29 - "Flowers for Pollinators" by Daisy Stahlberg. Now is the time to plant annuals to provide food for insects and birds. Stahlberg will offer tips about which flowers will attract the most pollinators.

• June 12 - "Herbs" by Diane Henry. This session will cover sage, cilantro and dill and share tips for using fresh herbs.

• June 26 - "The Language of Flowers" for Beauty and Cutting by Robin Trott. Trott will explain cultivars and techniques that guarantee a successful, beautiful cutting garden with tips to keep the flowers fresh for 7-10 days, as well as the Victorian messages flowers contain.

• July 10 - "Preparing Floral Entries For Exhibit" by Tricia Oehlenschlager. This session will cover exhibiting flowers at the fair, including how to select specimens and what the judge is looking for.

• July 24 - "Composting" by Steve Henry. Henry will talk about how to recycle lawn, garden and kitchen debris into organic material to enhance soil and answer common problems.

• August 7 - "Attracting Woodpeckers to Your Feeders" by Al Glaeseman. Glaeseman will explain how to attract and feed woodpeckers and the difference between types.

• August 28 - "Third Annual Tomato Tasting" by a master gardener panel. Back by popular demand, this tasting party includes favorites by local growers. Attendees can help pick the winner and get ideas for tasty tomatoes to grow next year.

For more information, call 320-762-3890, or visit the Extension office down the hall from the Douglas County Library.