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By Amanda Cole
People with a love for gardening came together recently to talk soil, marketing and vegetables.
Fifty people from five counties attended The Gardener’s Group’s informative community potluck picnic on Thursday at the Casey County Extension Education building.
The newly sprouted group was started by Mary Nardin of Lincoln County in collaboration with Debbie Shepherd, Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences at the Casey County Extension Office in Liberty.
“The goal of the group is to promote education, fun and fellowship among gardeners of all ages to encourage the community to grow and eat healthier,” Nardin said.
However, she wanted to stress that the group is not a club.
“Everybody’s welcome from everywhere,” she said. “Families are welcome. Bring your children and husbands.”
Tables were set up for companies and farmers to share information, sell homegrown or homemade items and promote their organization.
Among those at the event were First Day Farm, Bobbett’s, MeadowBrook Orchards and Farm, Hettmansperger Greenhouse, the Lake Cumberland District Health Department and Monticello Banking Company with a hands-on kids activity.
Live entertainment was provided by organic grower, lecturer, author and musician Jerome Lange.
Manning said the organizers are also looking to grow the group.
“We hope to sign up a whole bunch,” said Nell Manning, a founding member of the group.
Both Nardin and Manning are Master Gardeners, a title attained in an educational program offered through the extension office.
Nardin, who sells under Foggy Pond Farm, belongs to the Kentucky Herb Association and Nature’s Thyme.
“I grow berries, fruits, herbs, nut trees, everything you can imagine and I do it for enjoyment,” Nardin said. “I like to grow as many different things as I can. I even grew cotton once.”
The group will feature monthly meetings and field trips to tour farms and learn from authors, fellow gardeners, and University of Kentucky professors. Members will also be able to barter, sell or trade services or surplus produce.
Nardin wants the group to bring small farmers and gardeners together to help promote local interest and businesses, allow them to network, and to simply have a good time.
“We hope to see more people get into gardening,” Manning said. “It’s a healthy living.”
The group’s first official meeting will be 6 p.m. Sept. 27 at the extension education building to discuss fall gardening and clean up in preparation for spring planting.
In October the group will tour the Lancaster farm of Maria and Jeff Turner. At the November meeting, Dr. Bill Fountain, a professor of arboriculture at UK, will talk about how to select, care for and plant trees and shrubs. Programs are set up through July 2013.
The group’s annual dues are $12. For more information or to join the group, call Shepherd at 787-7384.