Bee school

Every fall, the Extension office hosts a Beginning Beekeepers School and this year is no exception. Beginning Beekeepers School will be held on Monday and Tuesday Oct. 23 and 24 from 6:30 to 8:30 here at the Extension office. The classes will be taught by Shelby County beekeepers.

The classes are free but we ask you to register so we are sure to have enough space.            Call 633-4593 to register.


Fall classes

The summer gardening season is coming to an end, but we still have some classes on tap for fall.


Last spring, master gardener Elizabeth Rosenberg taught a container gardening class and it was so popular, we had to turn folks away. We’re doing it again, this time with emphasis on getting plants potted up in containers for fall and next spring. The class is on Tuesday, Sept. 26, at 6:30 p.m. at the Extension office. The class is free, but we ask you to call and sign up, 633-4593 or email


We get lots of calls from folks interested in bees. If you are new to beekeeping, you don’t want to miss the Shelby County Beekeeper Association’s Beginning Beekeeper classes on Monday and Tuesday October 23 and 24 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. here at the Extension office. The classes are free, but we ask you to register by Friday, October 20.


Master Gardeners are invited on a tour of Doug Butler’s gardens on Thursday, Sept. 23 at 6:30 p.m. This tour is open to Master Gardeners only; please let us know if you plan to attend.


Every year, the state Master Gardener

Association also has a conference that is open to Master Gardeners as well as anyone else interested in gardening. This year’s conference is in Scott County, so it is nearby. The conference is Thursday and Friday, Sept. 14 and 15. For more details, email or call 633-4593 and ask for Walt.


Master Gardener classes wrap up

This year’s Master Gardener classes finished up in early August. It was a great class of 18; we had a good time learning about plants and gardening. Master Gardeners have to complete 30 hours of volunteer work following their classroom work, and this class has been very industrious getting to their hourly totals. So far, 4 have already finished their 30 hours even though classes finished only a few weeks ago. Congratulations!


One of the projects Shelby County Master Gardeners is undertaking is to design and plant the landscape for the newest Habitat for Humanity house, which is currently under construction on 7th Street. Master Gardener Association President Ken Pratt is leading the Habitat planting project. The Master Gardeners plan to install shrubs, trees and perennials on Saturday, October 7, weather permitting.


Garden clean-up

By this time of year, most of us have gotten our fill of gardening and are ready to rest and plan next year’s garden from the vantage of an easy chair. But don’t stop just yet.

Cleaning up the garden in the fall is one of the best ways to get a jump-start on a better spring garden. Removing plant debris, especially diseased stems, leaves and fruit is a good way to cut down on the incidence of disease next year. This is especially important in the orchard and the vegetable garden. Many diseases remain on plant parts and are not always killed by winter’s cold. This debris is best taken out of the garden and burned. Composting will not always kill disease organisms even if the pile heats up to 150 degrees or more.

Insects also like to overwinter in plant debris. Getting spent plant parts out of the garden can reduce the number of insect pests next year. It’s not a bad idea to till the garden lightly in fall also to expose insects that lie buried just under the surface of the soil. However, if the garden is on a slope, you may want to keep it covered with a cover crop so the soil does not erode over winter.


Fall lawn care

Most stores fill their shelves with lawn care products in spring, but the best time to work on most aspects of your lawn is late summer and fall. From now through the end of September is the best time to sow grass seed if your lawn was thin and weedy this past summer. If you have a serious weed problem, you may first want to do a total kill of the lawn with a product containing glyphosate and then sow grass after. Read the label; most products will allow for seeding immediately after spraying a total-kill product but some require a week or more wait before sowing.