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Garden Club Learns About Soil Testing

April 20, 2017
Emmetsburg News

Ann Grimm from Green Gables Nursery in West Bend was guest speaker at the Palo Alto Garden Club meeting in April. Anne's presentation on soil testing was informative to all.

Ann stressed the importance of PH level, nutrient value and amount of moisture, in all plantings. She commented that in general Palo Alto County has good PH levels at 6.5 to 7. Those levels can be compromised by moisture. Wet areas can lock up nutrients that are necessary for successful plantings.

She had samples of several soil types found in Palo Alto County and did a soil probe of each container to show PH and moisture levels.

For a more advanced breakdown of soil type Anne suggested taking samples into the local Extension Service for evaluation by ISU. That might be a good idea when planting trees or windbreaks or in areas of new construction where the soil has been amended.

Ann stressed the importance of being informed consumers when choosing plantings for yards. Look for plants and trees that will be successful in specific soil type and the recommended amount of light needed.

Ann also answered many questions from club members on a wide range of yard and garden issues and concerns including: amending the soil for hydrangeas, the use of slow release fertilizers, fertilizing established perennial beds, yard issues such as creeping charlie and tree selection, etc.

The Palo Alto Garden Club met at the home of Sharon Hobart on Tuesday, April 11, with President, Cynthia Berkland presiding at the meeting.

Sharon Hobart giving the tip of the month that included yard and garden ideas for April: good time to dig compost into our flower beds, time to start warm season plantings indoors, divide perennials, divide hostas and apply mulch. Twenty-one members answered roll call: "How do you celebrate Earth Day?"

Information from Kevin Fehr was shared with the group, on upcoming day trips available through Iowa Lakes.

Discussion continued on new membership ideas. Also club members were reminded to mark April 25 at 9 a.m. on their calendars for clean-up day at the Victorian House. A sign-up sheet was passed for volunteers to take a week during the summer to see that the grounds at the Victorian House stay neat and clean.

Possible community projects were discussed. Members were reminded of several upcoming events: Garden Study School April 20-21 at Madrid; District Meeting April 27 at Ft. Dodge; Fun & Wellness Day at Iowa Lakes on May 17; National Garden Week June 4-10; and the State Meeting June 15-16 in Ft. Dodge. The club voted to have a table at the Fun and Wellness Day.

Each member was challenged to grow at least one new native plant this year. That plant or a picture of it can be shared at the September meeting.

The next meeting will be Tuesday, May 9, at The Shores at Five Island, at 9 a.m. Plans for the May 13 Garden Club Plant Sale will be reviewed and the June 9 Chamber Coffee, to be hosted by Garden Club, will be discussed.



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