By RONDA GREGORY
News & Journal Staff Writer
Spring is bustin’ out all over – especially at the Harrison County Master Gardeners Spring Garden Fair from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 16 at the Harrison County Recreation & 4-H Center on Rt. 19 in Clarksburg.
The free public event, supported by WVU Extension Service, again this year will be about “everything garden” and more, said organizers. From gardening classes to raptor demonstrations, attendees will have a full day of learning and fun.
“We’ll be having all different kinds of attractions and activities both adults and children can enjoy; it’s multi-faceted,” reported Master Gardener Deborah Maltese Miller, who is the event chair.
Other activities and attractions include a flea market, farmer’s market, seed savers presentation, a plant sale, door prizes and raffles, a children’s gardening activity section, information tables, and of course food concessions and bake sales.
Some of the gardening classes include straw bale gardening, tool sharpening and low tunnel gardening.
Miller will be teaching straw bale gardening, which involves conditioning the bale first with organic fertilizer and using it as a user-friendly plant container, Miller explained.
“It’s great for people who have only a small space, such a patio or balcony,” she said. “And it’s also good for people with disabilities; they can have easy access with a wheelchair.”
She added that with the straw bale technique, you get very few weeds and can grow almost anything – from tomatoes to flowering plants. “It’s neat.”
Miller, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., grew up surrounded by concrete. She stated her mother exposed her to the love of plants at a young age with bus rides to visit the Brooklyn Botanic Children’s Garden.
“There I smelled dirt for the first time,” Miller recounted. “I loved it.”
Now, as a master gardener, she likes to encourage other people to get their hands in the dirt.
“People get the wrong impression about gardening,” Miller stated. “They think it’s very difficult, but it’s not. I love to pass on my love and knowledge to others so that they know they too can do it, and it’s not difficult at all.”
Miller said the event attracted several hundred people last year and they hope for even more this year. “I think it’s going to be lots of fun,” she stated.
She said the rest of their county Master Gardeners group also looks forward to engaging with the public each year. “It’s one way of giving back to the community to teach them how to garden and how to eat healthy,” she added.
Most of the activities will be located indoors. For more information about the event, call (304) 624-8650.
The West Virginia Extension Master Gardener Program is supported by WVU Extension Service Agriculture and Natural Resources.