BENTON, KY -- Gardeners and landscapers gathered at the Marshall County Public Library @Benton on April 17 to discuss the upcoming planting season with a panel of experts. Ken Westfall from Holly Nursery; Kelly Canfield, Master Gardener, and Lincoln Martin, County Agriculture Agent, from the Extension Office; and Rhonda Beard were on hand to answer questions and lead the discussion.
Beard started off the discussion by telling the audience, "The most important thing to start with is your soil. We really can't emphasize the importance of good soil enough."
County Agriculture Agent Martin agreed, pointing out that the Extension Office provides a soil testing service which will not only tell you what kind of soil you have on your property, but also guide you on how treat the soil to optimize your garden and landscaping. He suggested that you have your soil tested every three to four years.
The group spoke for two hour, covering various topics including climates, plant types, and mulching. The group also talked about the pitfalls of seeking gardening information online as opposed to local sources.
"When you go online you have to be careful where you information is coming from," Martin cautions. "You don't want to be getting information from Texas when you're trying to grow something in Kentucky. When it comes to growing things, keep it local."
Among the resources suggested by the panel was the University of Kentucky's website, the Home Vegetable Gardening in Kentucky booklet from the Extension Office, and your local library.
"It was great program," said Sonia Simmons, a participant who stopped in on her lunch break. "This is a wonderful thing for the library to offer. I look forward to attending more of these sessions in the future."
The gardening session was held as part of the library's Lunch and Learn series, which is a free educational program open to the public. The next session, which is scheduled for June 19, will cover the topic of identity theft.