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Garden and Plant Sale Set for May 17

by on May 17, 2014 7:45 AM

The Master Gardeners of Centre County will host their annual Garden Fair and Plant Sale from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 17 at the Penn State’s Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs.

The site is located nine miles southwest of State College on state Route 45.

This event is the chief fundraising effort of the year for the master gardeners. More than 5,000 native plants will be offered. Educational garden talks and demonstrations will round out the program and a vendor’s mart will be a source of many garden tools and supplies.

Molly Sturniolo, Master Gardener Coordinator for Centre County says, “If anyone needs to know what to plant, where to plant it and when to plant it, they will find answers at this fair.”

Trained by Penn State Extension, master gardeners are volunteers who provide residents with research-based educational programs in consumer horticulture and environmental stewardship. They enable Penn State Extension to offer practical, how-to advice and problem-solving assistance.

Presentations begin at 10 a.m.

  • Fruit Tree Basics — Robert Gleim, Master Gardener (In Theater)

Learn about site preparation, spacing, variety selection, pollination requirements, thinning, pruning, etc.

  • Growing Culinary Herbs 10:30 a.m. in the High Tower — Vicki Spadaccio, Master Gardener, will lead a group discussion on experiences on growing, harvesting and using culinary herbs. Participants will enjoying smelling and tasting herbs and handouts will be provided with tips on herb use.
  • Gardening for Pollinators — 11 a.m. (In Theater) Pam Ford, Justin Wheeler, and Doug Ford, Master Gardeners – Learn what you can do to attract and support pollinator populations by adding native perennials, shrubs and trees to provide food and shelter. Those present will receive plant lists, instructions and other resources for your pollinator garden.
  • Container Gardening — 11:30 (High Tunnel) Gabrielle Pollock and Curtis Runyan, Wheatfield Nursery – Learn how to use containers for gardening. Great for those with limited space and/or time. Portability is a plus and the lecturers will cover design, planting and care so you can enjoy gardening from the comfort of your patio.
  • Square Foot Gardening — Noon (Theater) Joe Manotti, certified SFG Instructor, Your Garden Solution -- At Manotti’s presentation you will find out how you can grow 100 percent of your harvest in 20 percent of the space. You can get away with 10 percent of the water, 5 percent of the seeds, 2 percent of the work and start with no weeds.
  • High Tunnels for the Home Gardener — 12:30 (High Tunnel) Bill Lamont, Penn State Professor of Vegetable Crops and Newspaper Columnist -- In this talk Lamont will discuss construction of and production in a high tunnel for home gardeners. This is an affordable way to lengthening the growing season and increasing production of your vegetables, small fruits and flowers.
  • Cooking with Home Grown Tomatoes — 1 p.m. (theater) Ann Quinn Corr, Local Food Writer/Chef Quinn Corr discusses what varieties of tomatoes to grow for specific culinary uses. Join the discussion about what to plant for cooking, eating fresh and drying. A cooking demo and tasting are part of the presentation.
  • Rain Barrel Workshop — 2 p.m. (theater) Jane Wettstone, Master Gardener -- Learn why we should be saving rainfall, how to collect it, and how to use the collected water for your garden. Several homemade and commercial rain barrels will be on display. A handout will spell out the materials and method to use so you can make your own rain barrel.

A blacksmith will demonstrate the making of 18th Century gardening tools and lawn items throughout the day at the vendor’s booth near the white farmhouse.

Pasto Agricultural Museum will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Stop in there and see over 1,300 unusual farm and household items dating from 4000 BC to the 1940s.  Stopping by the Ag Museum would be a nice addition to your Ag Research Center Visit for the plant sale according to Rita Graef, curator of the Pasto Agricultural Museum.

“There are always new displays and we will be open during the Master Gardener Plant Sale for the public to visit,” she says.

Visitors can find birdhouses and garden statues made from recycled materials and furniture from recycled plastic milk jugs. There will be food and condiment vendors offering tastes of their foods and organic and heirloom plants.

A silent auction and a garage sale round out the day. Free chances for door prizes are to be distributed. These include: a heavy-duty wheelbarrow, a rain barrel and a garden cart — all donated by Ace Hardware of State College. The Master Gardeners have donated a compost bin.

It is suggested that you bring a wagon or cart to transport your plants.

Plenty of parking is available and there is no charge for either parking or admission.

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This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.
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