Trott column: Let’s Get Growing returns to Alexandria Saturday, April 1

So many beautiful cultivars have had their sweet aroma bred right out of them.

Robin Trott
Robin Trott

ALEXANDRIA — Let's Get Growing is back with a new half-day format. Join us Saturday, April 1 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Discovery Middle School (510 McKay Ave. N., Alexandria) for this popular in-person event with sought-after specialists.

Visit numerous educational displays staffed by University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners and vendor booths. This workshop has something for everyone, from the beginner to the expert gardener. Attend these three sessions to gain an understanding of the latest and greatest in the gardening world.

Plant Selection for Changing Climate by Julie Weisenhorn, Extension educator, University of Minnesota
Dry spells, violent storms, late fall, bitter winter; how is a garden supposed to keep up? University of Minnesota Extension horticulturist Julie Weisenhorn provides guidance to gardening in our somewhat unpredictable climate. Creating healthy gardens that give properly selected plants a leg up on storms and drought, as well as ways to make landscaping more fool proof (and still fun for the gardener) will be discussed.

Building Soil Health by Joe Storlien, associate professor of environmental studies, St. Benedict and St. John's University
Soils serve as the foundation in our gardens and landscapes. Building soil health should be a goal of many gardeners. Improved garden yields, healthy plants, and creating resilient ecosystems are some of the many benefits of a healthy soil environment. We will explore the various management practices gardeners can perform each year to boost the health of the soils in their backyard.

A-Z of Vegetables, Herbs and Fruits by Courtney Tchida, community programs director, Minnesota State Horticultural Society
This presentation will cover arugula to zucchini of vegetables and herbs and fruits you can grow in Minnesota. Using a cold climate, permaculture context, we will talk about both the easiest and the hardest crops to grow with tips for every crop along the way. We will also touch on pest and weed control strategies for the beginning grower. This class will help get you started in planning for spring.


Educational booth topics include growing and enjoying garlic, landscape design principles, wise up to neonicotinoids, using soil blocks for seed starting, let's talk tomatoes, protected growing, sweet potatoes, children's gardening books, recipes with vegetables and ask a master gardener.

Come early between 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. to register, enjoy refreshments and visit the displays and vendors. Cost is $ 20 per person (cash or check, no credit cards accepted) at the door.

Please call the Douglas County Extension office with questions or to request a brochure at 320-762-3890 or email We hope to see you there!


"The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul." – Alfred Austin

Robin Trott is a horticulture educator with University of Minnesota Extension. Contact her at 320-762-3890, or at trot0053@umn.

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