Archived Story

Sprucing up for spring can start at library

Published 12:13pm Wednesday, March 13, 2013

MADISON – Winter hasn’t loosened its chilly grip, but now’s the time to learn “How to Spruce Up for Spring Gardening” at Madison Public Library.

A Master Gardener since 1995, Karen Voelker will lead the hour-long session on March 23 at 3 p.m. The class if free, open to all ages and doesn’t require registration.

Voelker will cover “bringing your property up to spring fitness, such as tool care and when and how to prune shrubs and trees.” She will suggest an early start in pest control, garden care by ‘roaming,’ soil testing and journaling.

Voelker believes a person’s body is the most important tool for gardening. “Your eyes will evaluate the land, and your mind will do the planning. Then, your hands, arms, legs and back will do the raking, sawing, pruning and bagging. (Your body) needs to prepared, too,” she said.

A major mistake for gardeners is “biting off more than they can chew. The impulse to till up the backyard can be a driving force, usually doomed to end in not-so-good results and frustration,” Voelker said. She recommends starting small and letting family members experience the thrill of serving food that they helped grow.

“Homegrown veggies can bring a whole new light to the taste process. A carrot eaten right after being pulled from the earth does not look and taste like one from the grocery store,” Voelker said. “The fresh carrot will have a wonderful sweetness that nothing in a plastic bag can ever duplicate.”


Voelker tends to ‘cheat’ and plants before the traditional April 15 frost-clear date. “If one has a generous amount of seeds, one may gamble a bit.” Currently, she is learning about lunar cycles’ effect on planting.

Voelker volunteers frequently with Care Assurance System for the Aging and Homebound (CASA), especially their community garden. Master Gardeners of North Alabama is celebrating its 25th anniversary. For more information, visit mginfo.org.

For more information about the library session, call Rachel Hooper at 256-461-0046 or email rhooper@hmcpl.org.

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