Fall into Gardening

September 23 is the first day of fall. It came fast this year. 

One minute, I’m celebrating long summer nights, then in a blink, I seem to be reaching for my sweater when taking the pup outside.

To embrace this new season, the Kanawha County Extension Master Gardener Association is hosting a “Fall into Gardening Day” of programming on September 30, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. 

This program is offered online to get the best speakers and reach gardeners across the county and state. You can tune in to the four sessions from home or join others attending the virtual sessions at the Kanawha County Public Library.

Eden Clymire-Stern, a West Virginia Tree Minder Extension Educator at West Virginia State University, will lead a session, “The Scene of Fall Color and selecting trees for color.” She discovered her love of trees as a high school intern with a local urban forestry nonprofit. Clymire-Stern has an undergraduate degree in Forest Resource Management and a Master’s in Natural Resources with a concentration in Urban Forestry from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. 

Philip Smith, Executive Director of West Virginia Botanic Garden, located in Morgantown, WV, will present “Growing West Virginia’s Garden.” Smith has a bachelor’s degree in Biology from West Virginia State University and is working towards his Master’s in Public Administration at West Virginia University.

I have explored many of the Botanic Garden’s 85 acres and hiked the almost 5 miles of trails. I shared my day and stories of the garden in the June 5, 2021, Charleston Gazette-Mail. You may also read about my day here: https://gardeninginpearls.com/welcome-to-the-wv-botanic-garden/

Lewis Jett, Ph.D., associate professor and State Extension Horticulture Crops Specialist for West Virginia University, will speak on winter vegetables. He is an expert. Jett received an undergraduate degree from WVU in Agriculture and a Master’s and Ph.D. in Horticulture Science from Virginia Tech University.  

Jett serves as project leader for specialty crop extension and outreach programs in West Virginia. His research and extension projects focus on seed saving, native plants, evaluating high tunnels for extended production, as well as marketing high-value vegetables and small fruits in West Virginia. Plus, he conducts specialty crop research across West Virginia. He is one busy guy! I guarantee this session will be interesting and you will want to take notes for future reference.

A familiar face to the Kanawha County gardening crowd is also a speaker. John Porter will present “Preparing gardens for Winter with a focus on Fruits and Vegetables.” Porter, former Kanawha County Agricultural Extension Agent and “Garden Guru” for the Charleston Gazette-Mail, is now living in Nebraska. 

Porter serves as the Urban Agriculture Extension Educator for Nebraska Extension in the Omaha metro area. He is also statewide program leader for Horticulture, Landscape, and Environmental Systems. His role as an educator focuses on supporting urban farmers, community gardens, and home growers with fruit and vegetable production, with a special focus on produce safety, hydroponic production, local food systems, and opportunities for immigrant and refugee growers. Porter has a bachelor of biology/botany from Marshall University, a master’s in horticulture from WVU, and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Leadership Studies at University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

That’s a lot of information about a talented group of speakers and emphasizes the quality of programming “Fall into Gardening” will offer. Public classes are an important part of the Master Gardener organization as a volunteer educational program meeting the horticultural needs of everyday West Virginians.

Fall into Gardening is a free program. To register for the September 30 online sessions, visit   http://bit.ly/FallIntoGardening23Registration.  

No registration is needed to watch with others at the Kanawha Library, Room 311C. I suggest bring sandwich and a friend to settle in and enjoy all four speakers.