We gardeners are always counting the days – til spring, til time to plant tomatoes, til the first peas or lettuce, til the first frost . . . I could go on and on. One good way of counting the days is with the help of the University of Massachusetts (of which I am a proud alum) Garden Calendar for 2011. The Calendar is put together by the UMass Extension Center for Agriculture.
I am so grateful for the Morill Act that established land grant college whose mission was “without excluding other scientific and classical studies and including military tactic, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts, in such manner as the legislatures of the States may respectively prescribe, in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions in life.”
The Act, passed in 1862, was named for Justin Smith Morrill of Vermont who introduced the bill. While the original intent was to educate those who would make their living using their training, Cooperative Extension was developed to train ordinary citizens with gardening and food preservation. I am happy to say that I served on the Board of Cooperative Extension for a time and saw first hand the myriad ways they enriched our communities.
The 2011 calendar, with its beautiful photographs, provides a timely chore list or useful tip for every day of the year. To get your copy click on www.umassgardencalendar.org or send a $12 check payable to UMass to Garden Calendar, c/o Mailrite, 78 River Rd, South Putney, VT 05346.
You can also subscribe to a monthly newsletter, Clippings, March through October. Send a $10 check payable to UMass to: Garden Clippings, UMass Extension, French Hall, 230 Stockbridge Rd, Amherst, MA 01003-9316.
There are also workshops that you can take for a fee. For full information log on to www.umassgarden.com.
If you want an excellent soil test go to www.umass.edu/soiltest. The address is UMass Soil and Plant Tissue Testing Lab, West Experiment Station, 682 North Pleasant St, Amherst, MA 01003-8020. “Testing services are available to all. Our function is to provide test results and recommendations that lead to the wise and economical use of soils and soil amendments.” Full information is on the website.
Thank heaven for Morrill, Land Grant College, Cooperative Extension and lifelong learning. With beautiful photographs.