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Prepare now to ensure that the grass won’t be greener on the other side of the fence

Article Date: 
22 March, 2013 (All day)

As Morgan County residents watch as the last patches of snow melt away, they often wish for better weather and the luxuries of summer.  Beautiful lawns, trees that are healthy enough to let children climb in while bearing delicious fruits, and vegetables overflowing onto our neighbors’ properties are often things people dream about but think they must wait until warm weather to prepare.  Now is the time to begin planning and preparing for your summer gardening and fall feast.
“You don’t want to waste even a week of grow time,” Amanda Christensen of the Morgan USU Extensions Office explains.  “Especially up here where the season is so short.”
James Barnhill, agricultural agent for Morgan County said, “Morgan’s average last frost in the spring is June 5.  Their average first frost in the fall is Sept. 10. That’s a 96-day growing period and that’s pretty short, so we need to do what we can to extend the growing season.”  Barnhill reports that Ogden’s growing season is about 160 days.  
To help get Morgan citizens started, the Extensions Office is hosting a series on “Lawns, Trees, & Gardens” beginning the end of March and continuing through April.  Each week a different guest speaker will educate attendees on different aspects of caring for their outdoor areas.   The speakers will give information specific to Morgan County. 
“This is for everybody,” Christensen said.  She invites both avid and beginning gardeners to participate.  
March 27- Taun Beddes, Cache County Horticulture Agent, will provide tips on extending the growing season.  The evening’s tips will include growing transplants, and which veggies will endure earlier.  
April 3- James Barnhill, Weber/Morgan County Agriculture Agent, will educate on Fruit Trees and Berry production.  
April 10- Jerry Goodspeed, director of Ogden Botanical Center, will present Landscaping 101.  This class will enable participants to select plants based on affordability, maintenance required, and beauty.  
April 17- Amanda Christensen will wrap up the series with a demonstration on herbs.  She will present ideas about which herbs to grow, how to use them, and how to preserve them.   Samples of delicious recipes will be provided.  
The series will be held Wednesday s from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Morgan County Courthouse Auditorium.  Register at the Extensions Office, 48 W. Young Street.  The $5 fee covers the entire series.  To aid the serious gardener, free gardening books will be given to those who attend all four classes.
“The Extensions Office is all about empowering people to be self-reliant,” Christensen expounds, “to learn by doing.”
Information can be found throughout the year at garden.usu.edu.  This free site gives useful tips on how and when to care for lawns, trees and gardens.  They suggest March is a good time to:
• Purchase an herbicide to prevent crabgrass and spurge to apply the first of April. 
• Consider applying a lawn pre-emergent earlier to areas next to sidewalks and driveways where it warms and breaks dormancy sooner.
• Clean up perennials by removing last years’ dead material and transplant or divide those that are overgrown. 
• Plant pansies and primrose for color in the garden, if you didn’t plant them last fall. 
For the complete list of tips, visit the USU website.  While at the site, look for information on insect and pest management as well as pest diagnostic lab, soil testing, pruning and many other topics.  
The Morgan Extension Office will also help with any questions.  If you have questions, call or stop by their office and they will help you in anyway they can.  This is extremely helpful as our conditions in Morgan can differ from other areas.  Even different regions of Morgan will have different needs.  The Extension Office can help maximize the quality of any given set of conditions. 
The Extension Office offers some general tips for preparing for warm weather.  They suggest, if possible, starting transplants-especially herbs-in your home so that they will be better prepared for warm weather and have more time to grow.   They also advise gardeners to plan a garden chart.  Now is the time to decide what plants to grow so that one will have a more wonderful gardening experience and a more successful garden.  
With preparations made now, gardens, trees and lawns will have greater success and they will have more satisfying results.   We may have a boost this year.  “I think our season will last longer this year given the snowfall,” Christensen stated.  For Morgan, the snowfall has been less than in Ogden.  Since most of the snow is melted in Morgan, hopefully the lawns, gardens and trees will get a jump start on this year’s growing season.  
With favorable conditions and by putting a plan into place this season, one should be able to have a wonderful experience by enjoying the outdoors and making your home and garden beautiful.