Have you ever visited your local Cooperative Extension System Office? Most people don’t even know they have one, let alone where it is. Every county has one and it’s tied to your state’s land grant college or university. The good news is it’s a wealth of information that’s tailored to an area.
Years ago, I wanted to know more about gardening so I went to the Extension office to get some information. I discovered they not only had a Master Gardener program, but an Advanced Master Gardener one as well. There were people of all ages taking the classes. Some were there to advance their knowledge so they could further their business. Some were retired and wanted a hobby. And others, like me, wanted to just grow stuff.
In the four years that I was in the class, I learned a lot more than just about plants. For mystery buffs, did you know that the area of your body that absorbs pretty much anything the fastest is the inside of your wrists? Yup. Be careful when you’re using weed killer, bug killer, or household cleaners. I remember a man who moved here from the Midwest and immediately put a soil additive in all his flower beds to raise the pH. He found out in a hurry—when all his plants died—that we have very alkaline soil and his additive made it even worse. He learned in Idaho we have to make our soil. The class was also a study in characters. We had left over hippies, people who wanted to start a gardening business, retired people in search of a hobby, and people like me who just wanted to grow cheap raspberries.
In the most recent extension newsletter, I found a flyer for classes on jams and jellies, canning basics, safe gifts from the kitchen, and more. The classes ranged from twelve to thirty-five dollars. What better way to gain knowledge for historicals or just flavor for your WIP?
If you’re interested in a setting in another state, you can go on the web, type in the state and extension office and you’ll get loads of information about the area.
Your local Extension office is a wealth of information. The Ada County branch is equipped with nutritionists, master gardeners, and all sorts of family and consumer service people. Take advantage of the source and you’ll be richly rewarded.
Where do you go for background information?