Upper Peninsula Smart Gardening Conference to be held in Houghton October 10

U.P. Smart Gardening Conference will focus on smart soils, smart plants for northern climates, smart gardening for insects and smart season extenders for the vegetable garden.

Michigan State University Extension is offering an Upper Peninsula Smart Gardening Conference at the Carnegie Museum, 105 Huron St., Houghton, MI 49931, on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, from 9-4 p.m. Smart Gardening is an MSU Extension initiative to promote more earth-friendly and sustainable gardening practices for home gardeners. This year’s Upper Peninsula Smart Gardening Conference will focus on “Smart Gardening in Northern Climates.”

Four different speakers will present smart gardening topics. A brief introduction to Smart Gardening will be provided by me, an MSU Extension consumer horticulture educator. “Smart Soils and Good Practices” will be presented by MSU Extension educator Jim Isleib. Isleib will focus on the components of a healthy soil and steps needed to make improvements. He will explain the importance of a soil test and how to interpret the results and implement the recommendations. Sustainable practices such as composting, use of cover crops and organic mulches will be highlighted.

“Smart Plants for Northern Climates” will be presented by Tom Lennington of Dennis Greenhouse. Lennington will provide smart gardening techniques and principles to use in plant selection, especially in northern climates. Trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennial selection will be covered. “Smart Gardening for Insects – Keeping the Landscape Friendly for Beneficials and Beauty” will be presented by MSU Extension educator Duke Elsner. Elsner will show the valuable role insects play in our home landscapes and provide ways to invite beneficials while also maintaining beauty. He’ll teach ways to create an environment for natural enemies and pollinators. “Smart Season Extenders for the Vegetable Garden” will provide techniques and tips to help the northern gardener prolong the growing season, which is garden earlier in the spring and later into the fall.

Pre-registration is suggested. Early bird registration rate of $40 is through Oct. 2, after which the price will go up to $50 from Oct. 3-8. Registration includes lunch, handouts and door prizes.

For more information on a wide variety of Smart Gardening topics, visit the Gardening in Michigan website at www.migarden.msu.edu or contact MSU’s toll-free garden hotline at 1-888-678-3464.

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