Pine Bluff Lawn & Garden Show
Spring has departed for a few days. While the temperature doesn’t read that cold, it is COLD outside, and gloomy to boot. A great day to be inside at a gardening event. The 25th Annual Pine Bluff Lawn and Garden show was one of the largest. A good variety of vendors and exhibits, activities for the kids to do and plants to look at and buy. They also had a good line up of keynote speakers and shorter how to speakers. One of the big hits was the First Lady (and Master Gardener) Ginger Beebe. She talked about the grounds at the mansion, then cut the cake celebrating 25 years of the show & the MG program in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) and signed some of the mansion books. The theme was raised beds and edible gardening, and they had some excellent exhibits and demonstrations. I spoke on the Kitchen Garden. As a gift, they gave me a basket of vegetables, and not to forget the dogs, a box of dog treats. Our own Sherrie Smith was on hand to speak and diagnose plant problems, and Sherri Sanders spoke on fruit growing.
I am intrigued by one of the vendors displays. It is called the Tower Garden and uses aeroponics instead of hydroponic growing conditions–a new word for me. It was developed by a horticulturist from The Land exhibit at Epcot–where they grow lots of unique vegetables in an enterprising way–and this product is very Epcot-esq. The basic concept is you plant seeds in rock wool, get them growing and insert them in small black plastic pots into the plastic pole. The base is full of water that you amend with their nutrients, and a pump pushes the water up the tube to supply the water and nutrition for the plants. The plants only need sunlight, and the roots grow into the tube and grow healthy plants. Aeroponics is used instead of hydroponics because they say you are using air and water to grow in–but you need air for all plant growth. I think I need to get one and test it. While it is a little pricey at $500 ($499 plus shipping), and wouldn’t produce as much as a traditional in-ground garden, I think it is a great idea for patio or apartment dwellers. The plants will not have any soil-borne disease issues, and you are recycling the water. Clever idea!
Jefferson County Master Gardeners were everywhere at the show–and along with the county extension staff, they did a superb job. They begin their own MG training this Thursday, so this was a big recruiter for them as well.
Yesterday, the steering team for the 2013 IMGC met to finalize our merchandising for the conference, go over some logistics, and work on newsletter ideas and items to go in our goody bags. We have a great sponsor and will have insulated lunch bags as our bag of choice. We are thinking edibles so people don’t have to pack to take too much home on the plane. We need things from Arkansas, Alaska, Washington, and I think Canada and Nebraska–the host of the 2015 event. Beth is modeling one of our vests which the 4 of us will be wearing–you will not be able to miss us!