Gardening Matters

I recently went to a class put on by the DeKalb County Extension Service to teach folks how to save seeds from your garden plants over the winter. I had not been to these classes in several years and I forgot how helpful they are. I won’t bore you with the details. But I will refer you to a book titled “Seed Starters Handbook” by Nancy Bubel (Rodale Press, $18.95) which is available at Amazon and other fine book outlets. This book is more about starting plants from seed, but includes 60 pages of good info on how to collect and store seeds over the winter period.

One of the points that they made which I have known to be true is that if you go to the effort to gather seeds in your garden, save them and plant them the following spring, your sense of enjoyment and investment in your garden is greatly enhanced. I would encourage willing folks to give it a try.

But saving seeds is not what I want to blather on about.

The DeKalb County Extension Service, which runs the Master Gardener program, puts on a series of excellent programs to support gardeners, from just beginner to experienced ones like myself.

The upcoming programs include such topics as Backyard Berries, Lawn Care, Ornamental Plants, Sustainable Landscaping and Square Foot Gardening and more. All classes are held at the Extension Service Offices at 4380 Memorial Drive, right behind the tax and tag offices. They are evening classes starting at 6:45 p.m. and ending before 9 p.m.

Check them out at dekalbcountyextension. Click the link for Agricultural & Natural Resources. On the next page click on Homeowners Series and look for the highlighted link for brochures. Click brochures and that will take you to the list of classes and dates for the rest of 2017. Classes cost $10, but are well worth it. If you are lucky they will have some nice nibbles and treats for you before and after the program.

While you are there you can drop off a soil sample for testing. I try to do this every 3-4 years just to make sure I know what my soil is like before I go throwing around lime, fertilizer and other supplements that might do more harm than good if they are not necessary.

Another excellent source for a little garden education are the great programs that our own Dunwoody Community Garden and Orchard offers. Check out their schedule at Their current roster of classes includes March 11: Square foot and container gardening, April 8: What to plant where, May 20: Experimental gardening techniques, June 10: Attracting pollinators, July 8: Preserving the harvest: canning and other techniques, Aug. 12: Saving seeds. There are more workshops listed on their website. The workshops are held at the greenhouse (next to the Skateboard facility) in Brook Run Park. They are free.

The instructors are well experienced in organic gardening. Some will be Master Gardeners, but don’t let that discourage you.

For readers in Fulton County or otherwise outside the Dunwoody city limits, both the DeKalb County Extension and the good folks at Dunwoody Community Garden and Orchard do not check IDs or addresses. They are glad to have you and you can freely join them.

Jeff Coghill has been gardening in DeKalb County for more than 35 years and has probably killed at least one of each kind of plant he has tried before getting another one to thrive. He is a gardening volunteer at the Dunwoody Nature Center and works closely with members of the DeKalb Master Gardeners group. He can be reached at

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