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March 2024 Monthly Meeting Recap

Our guest speaker, Professor Joseph Storlien shared Tips and Tools for Sustainable Gardening, and the RCMG Board shared the new No-Patented-Plants decision for plant sale donations, and the financial audit results were shared.


The March monthly meeting was held online via Zoom from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20. Watching the recording of this meeting can be counted as 2 hours of Continuing Education. (Find the recording in the Archives of the Monthly Meeting page.)


Many thanks to the RCMG volunteers involved with the March Meeting:

  • Education Committee: Simba Blood & Gene Ranieri

  • Zoom Aide: Mary McCarron


Project News (6:30-6:35)



RCMG Board Announcements (6:35-6:45) – Julie Bechtold, RCMG chair

Plant sale

  • Scheduled for May 18th, 9am-2pm at Aldrich Arena.

  • Seeking Captains for major plant sections – Contact Molly O’Rourke

  • Cannot accept donations of any patented plants. Patent information can be found on tags, and some online resources. Contact Diana Rankin or Gene Ranieri for assistance if you have difficulty determining the patent status of plants you wish to donate

2023 review audit

Diana Rankin presented findings of the January 27, 2024 review. The complete report is available on the Google drive. Thank you to the audit committee – this work is greatly appreciated. Please reach out to Julie Bechtold with any questions

  • Review committee members were Frank Dolejsi, Martha Lantz, Chris Singer and Diana Rankin

  • Overall finding:

    • All in good order

    • Kathy Passe does an excellent job

    • Accounting is accurate and complete

  • The team made some recommendations for improvements:

    • Purchase dedicated accounting software

    • Provide receipts for all donations (including anonymous ones)

    • Record the name of board members making motions, include the audit report with the minutes,

    • Improve the process for recording sales & expense transactions for all events

    • Develop a policy for member purchases (eg project related expenses) & provide annual training,

  • Improvements to the bookkeeping process including a

    • Purchasing dedicated laptop

    • Updating the checking account mailing address,

    • Purchasing liability insurance for the board as well as general liability insurance,

    • Updating the written policy to reflect the change in speaker honorarium payments.


Darren Lochner's Coordinator Updates (7:05pm-7:15pm)

Take time to read the monthly newsletters!

State Master Gardener Program News

  • Email sent out for projects that interns and mentors can do together

  • Companion guide to Core Course cost $40.00 for printed copy

  • Information regarding Master Gardener 2024 At-Home projects – interested volunteers need to register

  • New free admission code for the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum: MG2024


  • March volunteer opportunities: Seed starting and transplanting in schools with RWMWD, transplanting at Ramsey County Correctional Facility Nursery

  • Awards and Recognition Event

    • Leonard Gloeb Outstanding Service Award: Susan Cathey

    • Ralph Thrane Extraordinary Partnership Award: Ed Shinbach

  • Reminder to follow procedures if you are unable to fulfill volunteer commitments made in Sign Up Genius

  • New Master Gardener Gear is available

  • Upcoming RCMG Monthly Meetings

    • April - Hybrid (in-person at Roseville Skating Center and online)

    • May (no meeting) Continuing Education credit suggestion: Doug Tallamy’s presentation “Pollinator’s Best Hope

    • June – In-person at the Ramsey County Barn only

    • July - Hybrid (in-person at Roseville Skating Center and online)

  • Save the Date Reminders

    • RCMG Volunteer Fair - Tuesday, March 26th at Roseville Skating Center (note: Due to inclement weather this event has been rescheduled to April 23rd)

    • RCMG Plant Sale - Saturday, May 18th at Aldrich Arena in Maplewood/New Location!


Guest Lecture (7:15-8pm)

Guest Speakers: Prof Joseph Storlien

Topic: Seed Growing Greener: Tips on Sustainable Gardening

Questions from the audience

  • Question on recycled plastics: When saying recycled plastics "lose their integrity" you don't mean they "break down" like biodegradable materials. What DO you mean and how can we explain the difference?

  • How are Bioplastics different? Plastic is still in the name, but is it a type of bio-degradable plastic?

  • Is there a good link to share with our social media followers about sustainable garden pots that are not linked to any particular brand?

  • Do the soil blocking ‘pots’ stand up to watering without falling apart?

  • What’s in the middle of the soil block hole?

  • Accepting pots:

  • Pletschers will take back pots purchased from their site

  • Mississippi Market plant sale (Glacier Ridge?) takes pots, trays & labels

  • Loews in WSP will recycle/reuse pots – may vary by location

  • Home Depot – varies based on location, some accept them, some don’t

  • Potential project to find place that accept them and make list available on the website

  • Are hemp bags and bamboo gardening pots a good alternative to plastic?

  • Is there a species of tree that the leaves are best for leaf mold?

  • Can MGs be part of your research for peat alternatives?

  • Best way to sterilize pots for reuse? Dishwasher and/or 10% bleach? How long should they soak to ensure disinfection? Any other recommended disinfectants for pot cleaning?

  • How does pennycress meal compare to cornmeal for soil amendment?

  • Do you know if anyone is looking into an alternative for vermiculite in seed starting and potting mixes?

Recap provided by Simba Blood

RCMG Education Committee


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