Putting their 'green thumbs' to work

Spring is in the air and the K-State Master Gardeners are getting out to begin some spring chores.

Last week, Master Gardeners gathered at the Numana Garden on North Gordy to prune the apple trees.

"The first three years are the most critical to get the base structure set," Larry Crouse, K-State horticulture extension agent, said about pruning trees.

But it does not stop after the first three years.

Crouse said people will want to continue doing a little pruning of apple and peach trees each year.

"You prune to increase the light penetration into the canopy to increase the quality of fruit," he said.

Among those who were there working was Master Gardener Judy Gardner.

She has been a master gardener about four years and does landscaping for people during the summer.

Master Gardener Jerry Long is one of the newer master gardeners, joining the program just a few months ago.

"I've always been a gardener and this looked like a good opportunity to pick up knowledge through K-State, and I'm retired now, so I have time.

"I'd recommend the program to anyone."

He said what he has learned has been fascinating.

The third master gardener helping with the pruning was Erika Biggs, a 11/2-year participant.

"My love for gardening and flowers and how to make them grow," she said of why she joined the program.

She has enjoyed everything she has learned so far.

"It's just amazing," she said. "You think you know and you take the class and are just like whoa."

Anyone interested in becoming a master gardener can learn more from the Extension Web site, http://www.butler.ksu.edu. Classes to become a master gardener are held from mid-September through mid-December. They meet all day almost every Thursday during that time. In July and August, Crouse will begin advertising the classes and signing people up for the next session.

All of the fruit that is growing will go to help feed people. Numana has purchased a commercial dehydrator to preserve the fruit.


Julie Clements can be reached at jclements@butlercountytimesgazette.com.