So much of what we do as Master Gardeners involves community engagement. We teach classes, we speak at various civic groups, we have exhibits at community events, we staff our Diagnostic Center at the OSU Extension, and we teach elementary school students about horticultural issues, among other things.
All that came to an abrupt halt a few weeks ago. Like most of us, Master Gardeners have had to learn new ways to help our community during this time.
With so many new gardeners in our midst, we have struggled with how to best help you. Let me tell you a little bit of what we have started to do to help bridge the gap between social distancing and the community needs for horticultural education.
First of all, for kids, we started our new online Fun Pages for Kids. On each fun page, there is a short video, a trivia game and a coloring page.
We have three Fun Pages currently and hope to release a new one each week, at least through the summer. Current Fun Page topics include one about the lifecycle of Monarch butterflies, honeybees and worms. The Fun Pages can be found through a link on our homepage: tulsamastergardeners.org.
For the grownups, we have migrated our popular Urban Gardener training classes to an online format for now.
In this series, there are six sessions covering almost everything you need to know to become a more successful gardener. Topics include soil, growing vegetables, pollinator gardens, trees and shrubs, and turf management.
Each session includes an instructional video, links to supplemental materials and additional videos for those who want to dive deeper.
We miss the in-person classes but think these online classes will be helpful for at least the near future.
While the OSU Extension may be closed, soil testing is alive and well with a little bit different process. At this time, soil for soil tests can be dropped off at the extension without human contact.
At the back of the OSU Extension building, there is a black drop-off box with instructions on how to leave your soil sample. We will pick them up and get them to OSU for testing.
It typically only takes about two weeks for you to get your results with recommendations on how to amend your soil properly.
Even though our Diagnostic Center is closed to the public, we are continuing to check the phones for messages and our email account for questions. Each call and email will be answered like always, just not in real-time.
Also, for the next few weeks, we will be live on our Facebook page from noon to 1 p.m. Thursdays to answer your gardening questions. If you are a Facebook person, join us during lunch with a question on the Tulsa Master Gardener’s Facebook page.
We hope everyone stays safe and is using this time to up their gardening game.
You can get answers to all your gardening questions by calling the Tulsa Master Gardeners Help Line at 918-746-3701 or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.