USU Extension Offers Gardening Course

Mid-Winter might seem like a strange time to begin a gardening class, but the USU Extension program in the Wasatch Back gives those interested an opportunity to be fully prepared when spring comes.

See the original story at KPCW.org.

Summit County USU Extension Agent Dusty Morgan explains the Master Gardener program is for all, from beginners to professionals.

“We want to attract anyone interested in gardening. If you are a garden enthusiast and you just want to take it the next step. If you want to start gardening and you are just starting this course, it is going to be very welcoming classes. Time for questions, personalizing, experts speaking on different topics. The certification is definitely a certificate that could help you get a job or help you kind of move up if you have a job related to landscaping, gardening.”

Morgan outlines some of the topics covered in the course.

“All the classes are either taught by USU Extension specialists or extension agents such as myself. We are going to cover basic plant science all the way to entomology, tree selection care, turf or your lawn management. We get a lot of questions on irrigation around here which is a big topic that we’ll go into. As well as seeding, plant propagation, vegetable harvesting. The reality is we live in a very interesting particular gardening zone. These courses will be targeted to Park City, to Heber, to Coalville, Wanship, growing areas.”

To receive the certification class members must attend 85% of classes and complete 40 hours of volunteer service

“One of the purposes was to make this open community of gardeners who could help and assist each other because usually the best way to learn is from someone who’s done it before. Those 40 hours to get that certification can come from a numerous volunteer ideas and it could be what you’re doing already. A lot of community gardens, that could all count for your community service hours. You could answer or help other gardeners as well. You could pick out some areas in the community that need a little upkeep, need some landscaping or neighbors that need help with their, not just gardening, but even their yards, even some tree trimming. Anywhere from education to labor. We are open to creative volunteer ideas.”

Classes start on the 7th of February and are every Thursday afternoons from 4:00 to 7:30. Classes will rotate between Richins building and the Wasatch Extension building. The course costs $125 for one person but is $150 for two people in the same household.

Heber Valley Artisan Cheese held their 2nd annual Ice Sculptures Exhibition this weekend. Several local businesses sponsored the sculptures being displayed. There were also two different ice carving demonstrations. The event was free to the public.

The annual event began last year when Carolee Kohler saw ice sculpting on a Hallmark movie and thought it would be a fun idea for their farm. They are also considering a woodcarving event.

According to Lindsey Strother, social media and events coordinator, each sculpture takes between 1-3 hours to carve. “We contacted Amazing Ice Creations back in November, and we reached out to local companies to sponsor the ice sculptures,” she said. “Yesterday morning around 9 am, they came in a massive truck and dropped them all off for us, and we set them up.”

Along with the ice sculptures, sponsors receive a sign and canopy for the display and social media marketing. The sponsors decide what they want to have sculpted. After the event, they can take the ice sculptures and display them at their businesses. The creations normally last a couple of weeks. Some will be left in the field and can be viewed throughout the week.

The ice this year included Olaf, company logos, animals, and other items. Darron Kingston, the sculptor, has carved ice for over 10 years with his dad. According to Kingston, “I like sculptures that give me a challenge. Here, for example, my favorite was the lumberjack.” One of his favorite past creations was a 9-foot bear.

Grant Kohler, owner of Heber Valley Artisan Cheese, explained, “We decided to do something that was free and something that people could just get out and come and enjoy. Especially this year with Covid, it seems like Januarys are slow months. People are looking for things to be able to get outside and do.” He continued, “Businesses pay in and buy the sculptures, we have them sculpted, and then we just let people come and enjoy them.” Kohler estimated around 3,000 to 4,000 people will stop by the event.

The dairy farm also offers cheese-making classes and tours of their new robotic barn. “The tours are everyday except Sunday,” according to Kohler. “People hayride over, intermingle with the cows, see the barn and amenities, and watch the cows be milked. The cows will literally go get milked on their own.” Tickets for the tours and other events are available on the Heber Valley Artisan Cheese website: https://hebervalleyartisancheese.com/.