Presentations & Outreach

Dane County horticulture staff and Master Gardener volunteers are available to provide presentations on a variety of gardening related topics for groups and organizations. To schedule a presentation contact Lisa Johnson at johnson.lisa@countyofdane.com or 608-224-3715.

Topics include:

  • Container Gardening: Container gardening has become a hot topic in recent years as more of us are living in condos and apartments and would still like to garden. Gardening with containers also allows us to garden as we age, with less bending and kneeling.  To be a successful container gardener, you need to know not only about the plants that grow in containers but also how growing in containers affect plants. A certified Master Gardener Volunteer from Dane County Extension will talk about the advantages and disadvantages of different container types, container soils and their characteristics, watering and fertilizing schedules, plants that are well suited for containers and container design.
  • Square Foot & Raised Bed Gardens: Square-foot gardening has been around since the 1970’s. Mel Bartholomew wrote the original square-foot gardening book and now has a new version out which is just as popular as the first one. This is a simple system based on 4-foot by 4-foot raised beds divided into simple one- foot square grids that are raised from the ground. A certified Master Gardener Volunteer from Dane County Extension will give you ideas for creating your own square-foot gardening beds, a recipe for square -foot garden soil, selecting and growing your plants and successfully harvesting your crops. You will also hear techniques for raised bed gardening and types of raised bed gardens, like the pizza garden, that is popular with kids.
  • Seed Starting:  Seed saving can be a fun and rewarding activity that is family-friendly and can lead the next generation into becoming gardeners. In addition to being fun, seed-saving helps preserve historical seed-lines as well as heritage or sentimental seed-lines. A certified Master Gardener Volunteer from Dane County Extension will focus this presentation on saving vegetable seeds, as well as many flower varieties that can also be saved.  You will leave this talk loaded up with techniques for seed saving that will keep your family involved in the process all summer long.
  • Seed Saving:  Seed saving can be a fun and rewarding activity that is family-friendly and can lead the next generation into becoming gardeners. In addition to being fun, seed-saving helps preserve historical seed-lines as well as heritage or sentimental seed-lines. A certified Master Gardener Volunteer from the Dane County Extension will focus this presentation on saving vegetable seeds, as well as many flower varieties that can also be saved. You will leave this talk loaded up with techniques for seed saving that will keep your family involved in the process all summer long.
  • Composting: What is compost and how can I use it in my yard? Why should I compost? What are the benefits of composting? Can I make my own compost? A certified Master Gardener Volunteer will answer these questions and many more during this talk. You will learn the role that oxygen, food and water play in the composting process. You will also learn what materials should never go in a compost pile.
  • Annuals and Perennials: Growing Techniques and Plant RecommendationsDo you get confused when people start talking about annual and perennial plants? You are not alone. This talk, presented by a certified Master Gardener Volunteer, will help you take the mystery out of the terms annual and perennial, give you techniques for growing the right plants in the right place and provide specific plant recommendations for the sections of your yard that are sunny, part-sunny, shady, and part-shady.
  • Start a Perennial Garden: Do you love visiting local garden centers with the intention of selecting and purchasing plants that will bloom and grow in your flower beds for many years? However, when you encounter all the choices available, you don’t know where to start. If this description sounds like you, this is the talk for you. A certified Master Gardener Volunteer from Dane County Extension will give you guidance in assessing your garden for suitability for perennial plants, the importance of sun, soil and water in your perennial garden and techniques choosing the right plant for the right place.
  • Growing Tomatoes in Dane County: Have you ever had the pleasure of eating a sun-kissed tomato right off the vine? If not, you don’t know what you’re missing. Tomatoes are the most popular vegetable grown in our area. They can also be one of the most challenging to grow due to the number of diseases to which they are susceptible. A certified Master Gardener Volunteer from Dane County Extension will share information about successfully growing tomatoes in Dane County. You will learn how to choose the right varieties for you, starting tomatoes from seeds, preventing and dealing with diseases, and harvesting and storing tomatoes.
  • Community Garden Organic Techniques for Gardeners: Community Gardens are unique shared spaces that need cooperation and proactive monitoring by everyone to be really successful, especially if they are organically managed.  Like in nature, everything is connected, and using a variety of techniques to get her produces the best results. A certified Master Gardener Volunteer will take you through the organic techniques you will need to use to be a successful organic gardener.  Techniques include: Soils and Composting; Pest Control; Organic Treatments; Best Garden Practices; Disease Resistant Plants; Weed ID and Control.
  • Start a Vegetable Garden:
  • Prepare Your Garden For Winter:  There’s a lot to do in the garden in fall! A number of jobs can be done in fall to save you time and headaches in spring. Learn about a variety of tasks that will help you put the garden and lawn to bed so they are in good shape and ready to go in spring. A checklist of things to do for the lawn, vegetable garden, woody plants, perennial and annual flower beds, as well as fall tool care will be presented.
  • Master Gardener Volunteer Program: The Master Gardener Volunteer (MGV) Program was started in Washington State in the 1970’s and has become a trusted and respected name. Master Gardener Volunteers give out unbiased research-based information.  A certified MGV will give a presentation that focuses on the history and goals of the Wisconsin State MGV program, the structure of the program statewide, the requirements for becoming a MGV in Dane County, volunteer opportunities, and benefits and resources for learning more about the program.
  • More topics available upon request