Horticulture Extension Agent Tom Buller, teaching about Growing Veggies over Zoom.
Gardening is still about getting your hands into the soil, but garden education in Douglas County has gone virtual. Over the past six months, the K-State Research and Extension- Douglas County’s Horticulture program has made the same dramatic shift that so many groups across the country have made, turning towards online education.
While creating new challenges organizing workshops, managing technology, and certainly having a different feel that our traditional face-to-face workshops and programs, this format has some great benefits. First and foremost, we have been able to keep engagement with our community members throughout lock-downs and social distancing. Going online has even helped expand the reach of our efforts to new audiences in the county and beyond. Another great benefit of creating online programs is that we are able to record our online lectures and lessons to share with people who could not attend at the time, or find out about the workshop after it is over. This helps us expand our impact even more!
Here are some of our greatest hits from the past six months. Our first response to COVID and the dramatic uptick in interest in gardening that came along with lockdowns was to put together a four part series to help new gardeners get vegetable gardens established in the spring. It seems like a long time ago now, but during the first presentation April 23, it was snowing outside.
Get Growing Veggies Spring Series and Garden Soil Health Presentations
Sharon Ashworth has helped the Master Gardeners move their meetings and programming online as well. Here are links to some of their Advanced Education workshops.
Extension Master Gardeners Advanced Education Recordings on Rain Gardens and the Emerald Ash Borer
Extension Master Gardeners Advanced Education Recordings on making plant labels with QR Codes and No Till Gardening
Beyond just working on local programming, Douglas County horticulture staff have collaborated with other members of the K-State Research and Extension Horticulture Team to put together the weekly K-State Garden Hour, which has brought attendees from over 18 states and 5 countries to Kansas garden programming. All of the of the episodes were recorded and are available on the K-State Garden Hour webpage, as is information on upcoming K-State Garden Hour talks.
K-State Garden Hour
Finally, besides garden education, Tom has worked to move workshops for specialty crop growers online. He has done a couple of presentations on farm business management in partnership with the Growing Growers Program and the Kansas Rural Center. Those recordings are also available on our website:
Farm Financial Management for Specialty Crop Growers
This fall we are offering our Master Gardener training in both face-to-face and virtual format. While we miss doing all of our face-to-face education, we look forward to continue using our new found digital education skills in the future to continue to expand our reach and impact.