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February Monthly Meeting Recap

Updated: Mar 6, 2022

February 15, 2022

Recap provided by Barbara Frederick


The February RCMG meeting was held on Zoom. The March RCMG meeting (3/15) will be on Zoom. The April meeting (4/19) will concern annual awards and plant sale logistics/ Zoom. The May RCMG meeting (5/17) will be attempted as an in-person/Zoom hybrid meeting using the Rose Banquet Room at the Roseville Oval.


Volunteer Training

Darren led a demonstration of the State Volunteer website, z.umn.edu/mgweb.


Project Updates (6:30pm-6:45pm)

Ed Shinbach and Susan Cathey co-chair the RCMG Youth Projects, working with kids pre-K through high school.


School Projects Currently, with Sage Passi from the Ramsey County Watershed District, the youth projects include seed stratifying, plans for indoor planting, transplanting and outdoor planting is in progress.


Arts Us, a St Paul non-profit, will engage up to 100 kids this summer. Look for Sign-Up Genius opportunities for teaching or maintaining gardens.


In collaboration with St. Paul Public Schools (SPPS), RCMG volunteers will pick up the Journey North tulip phenology project last year, resume an updated Garden Partner Project between Master Gardeners and individual SPPS teachers. Volunteers will need to be flexible in their timing to work with teachers.


Ed and Susan are working to develop Farmers’ Market lessons for young people will be started this summer. Volunteers can work on planning or actual lessons on-site.


RCMG Volunteers can expect to hear more about the Junior Master Gardener program for 3rd -5th graders in the coming months.


Darren Lochner's Coordinator Updates (6:45pm-7pm)

During the coordinator update, Darren covered the following items:

  • Encouragement to read State volunteer newsletter to find the 2021 Annual Report

    • Seed Trial sign-up final date due Feb. 28

    • Arboretum Class offered weekly March through May 24 on-line

    • Look for At-Home projects to be conducted during summer.

    • Current Master Gardeners are encouraged to join Core Course.

  • RCMG Volunteer Fair Tues. Mar. 22 @ 6:30pm

  • Policy and Procedure Manual is being updated by Sandy MacDonald and Christine Strong

  • Look for the Board Blurbs on the MG website.

Darren also shared that coordinators and co-coordinators will be needed to help support the following projects.

  • St. Paul Farmers’ Market

  • Peace Garden

  • Highland Park Demonstration Garden

  • Roseville Arboretum Garden

  • RCMG Public/Quarterly Newsletter

Guest Lecture (7-8pm)

The guest lecture was taught by Amanda Reardon, a grad student researching hydroponics. Amanda is a former public media professional serving in various roles related to exploring stories of local community issues. In 2020, she began exploring new career opportunities and pursuing a Masters in Professional Studies in Horticulture. She has had the pleasure to work for the Rogers Organic Horticulture Lab where they are doing work with hydroponic lettuce. Amanda is a lifelong Minnesotan, residing in the south metro with her husband and daughter. When not studying, she can be found outside gardening, hiking, camping, snowshoeing and chasing after her Boston Terrier, Jojo.


In her lecture, Amanda taught us that growing plants in water has been done since Babylonian times. Hydroponics uses less water, can increase yields, can be cleaner, available in winter and can be fun. To be successful, hydroponics needs to fit the plants’ needs:

  • Water

  • Light (natural or supplemental light with LED or fluorescent)

  • Air

  • Structure

Amanda answered questions hydroponic vegetables’ taste, insects (aphids, whiteflies and mites), diseases and tip-burn. Research is currently being done on aphids’ attraction to the nitrogen-rich hydroponic crops. Amanda recommended that folks interested in trying hydroponics check out the DIY Salad Table Design by Tom Michaels.


Questions asked during the Guest Lecture

  • Could you expand on the aspects of LEDs that you mentioned - lumens and par value?

  • Please say more about disposal regulations and guidelines? Where do we find that information?

  • Are there recommendations to replace peat as a growing medium? (Sustainability concerns)

  • Is there any difference or issue between organic fertilizers and non-organic/synthetic fertilizers?

  • Are there particular varieties of lettuce that grow better than others?

  • Where is your research being done?

  • Are smart hydroponic systems worth the investment? Specifically the computerized monitoring systems that have WiFi or they take out the guess work by monitoring water for you?

  • What are your thoughts about semi-hydroponics, especially leca, especially as it relates to pon/lechuza or even perlite for propagation?

RCMG Business Meeting (8-8:30pm)

Treasure Update

Amy Davis shared the 2022 budget, including information about income (gifts, donations, glove sales, Speakers Bureau and Plant Sale monies) and expenses. There will be some funds allocated through a grant program later in summer.


Communications Committee Update

Nanette Boudreau shared that the Communications Committee is responsible for Plant Sale publicity and promotions, and will make use of our available tools using the RCMG website and Social Media channels, Facebook & Instagram. The Communication Committee is also looking for volunteers to help as photographers, writers, editors, and social media writers.


Education Committee Update

Sue Ellen Campbell let everyone know that the Garden Gate Tours will start April 28/May 1 with Thursday evening and Sunday afternoon tours. More information coming soon.


Plant Sale Committee Update

Plant selection for the sale is currently being conducted. The sale date is on May 21.

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