Saturday, March 27, 2010

Master Gardening

Yesterday, I finished my course work for the Colorado Master Gardener Program through Colorado State University Extension. I started the program in January and have attended classes every Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. I now must complete 50 hours of volunteer work to complete the program and receive my certification.

Becoming a master gardener has been one of my retirement dreams. As with all dreams, I found that the reality of reaching the goal that comes from the dream requires much commitment and hard work. I also found that at this stage in my life, I have less patience for sitting in a classroom and learning more material. Always one for needing to be the "A" student, I was rather surprised to see myself not needing to excel in the coursework associated with this program. I just accepted that I am a novice when it comes to all I need to learn in the life sciences. Let's just say that whatever background knowledge I had in that area was really buried in the back of my brain.

The terms found in botany, entomology, soil management, abiotic factors in the environment and etc. are terms that I normally do not think about. Who knew that soil could be such an interesting topic? (Anyway, it was to me.) I also found entomology fascinating. I look at the world around me in a new way. I also know that I have much to learn about gardening and all the problems that go with it.

Yesterday, we learned about producing small berries and fruit. As I listened to our instructor, Carol O'Meara, speak of growing raspberries and grapes, many memories came flooding back to me about my days as a young mother in Utah when we grew raspberries and grapes in our back yard. I harvested the grapes for juicing.

Thinking of those September days when I could actually smell that it was time to harvest the Concords and begin making juice, I became quite nostalgic. I think I will plant at least one grape vine this year. I want to again enjoy the satisfaction of harvesting fragrant grapes and making some wonderful, home grown, home-made juice.
Sally harvesting grapes with Julie, Fall 1981