ST. CLOUD — Join the Stearns County Extension Master Gardener Volunteers for Spring Symposium a free, week-long gardening workshop seminar series March 1-5.

Each day will have a session at 2 p.m. and Monday through Thursday will also have a 7 p.m. session. If you are a long-time attendee of Gardening Education Day, you may notice the name change to Spring Symposium.

Our hope is that this virtual experience will be a onetime event with a return to our in-person early March gathering in 2022. We will miss seeing all of you, finding amazing products from our vendors and swapping gardening tips. We hope you will plan to join us virtually. Register today at

As always, we have an excellent speaker line up prepared. You can choose to join as many or as few sessions as you would like. To get the most out of the sessions we encourage you to join the session live. However, all sessions will also be recorded so if the scheduled times do not work for your schedule you can still get the information.

March 1, 2 p.m.: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Seed Starting; Robin Trott

Always wanted to start your own seedlings, but weren’t sure how? Learn sowing strategies that will have you successfully starting your own plants indoors and out. Discover how temperature, light, growing medium and humidity can affect your seedlings and take home some easy seed recommendations to get you started.

March 1, 7 p.m.: Japanese Beetles: How Bad Are They, Really; Annie Klodd

When we see Japanese beetles chewing on our shrubs, alarm bells go off for us to sweep them into a bucket of soapy water. But is their damage really as bad as it looks? This talk will explore tried-and-true ways to manage Japanese beetles and how to decide when it is time to control them.

March 2, 2 p.m.: Commonly Encountered Landscape Tree Threats; Gina Hugo

Certified arborist, forest manager, Parks Coordinator and all-around tree hugger, Gina Hugo will talk about the most commonly encountered landscape tree problems she dealt with over 12 years at onsite consultations with private landowners. She will delve into how to manage for these problems and why they are becoming increasingly problematic.

March 2, 7 p.m.: Cool Season Crops; Natalie Hoidal

Cool season crops like broccoli and lettuce are popular among gardeners, but these vegetables can be hard to grow. Have you ever had your lettuce bolt? Did your cabbage fail to form a head? In this session we’ll talk about why these crops can be tricky to grow successfully, and how to avoid common mistakes.

March 3, 2 p.m.: Growing Greener: Tips on Sustainable Gardening; Dr. Joe Storlien

Many gardeners are interested in providing beauty in the landscape and food for their homes in a manner that promotes environmental stewardship. Whether it includes providing pollinator resources, growing food organically, or creating a sanctuary for wildlife, gardeners are often leading the charge to promote environmental sustainability. However, some practices we commonly perform may undercut our overall sustainability goals. Issues related to usage of plastics, nutrients and chemicals, growing media, and plant selection will be explored along with potential solutions which offer greater sustainability.

March 3, 7 p.m.: Ornamental Plants for Your Home Garden; Robin Trott

Would you like to add color to your garden, but not sure where to start? Learn about annual, perennial and biennial plants that grow well in Minnesota. From plant selection to plant maintenance and beyond, join Robin to answer all your questions about adding ornamental plants to your garden.

March 4, 2 p.m.: How to Plant and Build a Trellis for Raspberries; Annie Klodd

Raspberries are a rewarding crop to include in your garden and are quick to establish! Raspberries start producing fruit in their first or second season, are highly productive, support pollinators until mid-fall, and can be grown in small spaces and along the edges of your lawn. Building a trellis for raspberries will help support their long canes and produce more healthy fruit. This presentation will show how to plant a raspberry patch, select varieties, and build a wire trellis to support your raspberries.

March 4, 7 p.m.: Insect and Disease Management; Natalie Hoidal

Anticipating common insects and pathogens and proactively preventing them is one of the best ways to manage pests in your garden. In this session, we’ll discuss preventive management strategies for common garden insects and pathogens.

March 5, 2 p.m.: Going “No-till” with Your Garden — 2.0; Dr. Joe Storlien

Why do we dig? Frequent tilling leads to soil crusting, enhanced erosion, reduced organic matter, degraded soil structure and health. The benefits of tilling a garden are often short-lived and can create more work long term and limit your garden’s potential. Dr. Joe Storlien will cover the benefits of why we should till less and how to begin your no-till garden journey. He will share his experiences with his no-till garden from the past several years including new methods adopted in 2020.

Register today at If you have questions or need assistance with registration,  call the Stearns County Extension office at (320) 255-6169.


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