No, I’m not talking basketball. I’m talking about the urge to plant something. Anything! Winter is about over, and the air is starting to smell green again. Our fingers long to once more be dirty with fresh turned soil under the fingernails. Seed packets and onion starts are tempting us, and we are fast getting spring fever!

But before you succumb to this madness, stop and think. Do you know the last frost-free date for your zone? Have you removed the old growth from your grasses and perennials? And, most important thing of all, have you had your soil tested?

Testing may seem a bit over the top for the average gardener, but is very necessary for a great garden. This goes for trees, shrubs, vegetables, and flowers. It is a simple thing to do and only costs $10. Here is the link to follow for obtaining a good soil sample: https://extension.okstate.edu/fact-sheets/how-to-get-a-good-soil-sample.html

Follow the directions, put the soil samples in a clean zip lock bag and bring it to the center with your payment. You will receive your results in a few weeks. Now is the best time to have your soil analyzed to discover if it needs any amendments.

Our local Pottawatomie County Extension Center is located at the corner of Acme Rd. and W MacArthur. You’ll recognize it immediately because of the different raised beds in front and large butterfly garden in back next to the parking lot. Just inside the foyer is a large wall with every garden-related handout you can think of—fruit trees, roses, pecans, perennials, vegetables, etc.

Lynn is the friendly Administrative Assistant who can help you. Carla is the Horticulture Specialist. You can make an appointment with Carla for answers to your questions about pests, diseases, or anything plant related. You can even learn when the big Master Gardener plant sale will be. The one-day sale is held during the spring in the parking lot where you just parked your vehicle. Seeds, bulbs, vegetables, annuals, perennials, and even exotic plants you can’t find locally are for sale. The prices are very reasonable and proceeds go toward the local Master Gardener program.

What is a Master Gardener you ask? We are a group of people who love gardening. Each of us has completed the OSU Master Gardener program and met all requirements. The course is taught every January to March, one day a week, 6 hours each day. A number of service and educational hours are then completed before certification. Our service projects can be seen throughout the area.

The Multi-County Master Gardeners meet monthly, with food (of course!), fun, and fellowship. Our short business meeting is followed by an interesting educational program. We also learn a lot from each other since our members have all sorts of specialties. Miss Lynn at the front desk will be happy to give you more information about Master Gardeners and the class for next year.

So, before you pick out seeds or pick up your trowel, pick up your car keys and go pay Lynn a visit. Your garden will thank you!

Lisa K. Hair is a Master Gardener. She has a degree in Horticulture from OSU/OKC. Lisa was the Landscaper for 18 years at Oklahoma Baptist University and helped them become the only certified Arboretum in the state of Oklahoma. Lisa learned how to garden from her two grandfathers and has been digging in the dirt since she was 6!