By Extension…Office

25 Sep


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?


Posted by on September 25, 2012 in community, health, research, writing


18 responses to “By Extension…Office

  1. ramblingsfromtheleft

    September 25, 2012 at 6:49 AM

    Great post, Peggy. A fellow New Yorker moved to south Florida and put weed killer on his lawn as he had done every spring for years in Long Island. His entire lawn died because Florida has St. Augustine grass … other-wise known as “crab grass,” and the weed killer destroyed it all 🙂

    The cooperative extension was also great in New York City, providing classes for children and families on everything from personal health to classes on parenting.

    • Peggy Staggs

      September 25, 2012 at 10:02 AM

      Isn’t it funny how we don’t stop to think things are different in different parts of the country? We’re such creatures of habit.
      Our extension office has all kinds of classes and information even a hotline manned by master gardeners in the summer.

  2. ValRoberts

    September 25, 2012 at 7:36 AM

    So, speaking as someone who killed two raspberry plants this year, how do you grow cheap raspberries?

    • Peggy Staggs

      September 25, 2012 at 10:08 AM

      I’m sorry. Raspberries are typically happy where ever you plant them. My poor raspberries were stuck in pots all summer and I got berries (maybe 10) off of them. I wouldn’t pull them out just yet. They may just be shy. If they don’t come back in the spring look at the soil first, then the water

  3. Judith Keim

    September 25, 2012 at 8:57 AM

    Good post, Peggy! I’ve never thought about using them for information for stories. What a great idea? When Peter was at Cornell, the extension office and other facilities were widely used. As a newbie to Boise, I’m going to check it out! Thanks!

  4. Peggy Staggs

    September 25, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    They’re great. I love the Master Gardner hotline. They have lots of printed material and the extension agent will come to your house–I can’t remember if it cost anything, but it would be well worth it if you’re having trouble.

  5. Janis McCurry

    September 25, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    Thanks for the new research resource. It also helps validate their mission so it’s a win-win.

    • Peggy Staggs

      September 25, 2012 at 11:09 AM

      Yes. I love those guys. We need to keep them around.

  6. maryvine

    September 25, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    Got idea, Peggy. we just need look around and there is so much help available. So far most of my info has come from area history books.

  7. MK Hutchins (@mkhutchins)

    September 25, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    Is this the same as the community classes flyer that shows up in the mail, or something else entirely? I love looking through classes…so many things I’d love to learn about.

    • Peggy Staggs

      September 27, 2012 at 3:24 PM

      Nope. The cooperative extension office is part of the University of Idaho. The more we support them the more they can do for us. I think the one you’re talking about is the Community Education put on through the local schools.

  8. Clarissa Southwick

    September 26, 2012 at 6:44 AM

    Great advice, Peggy. I’ve been grateful for your master gardener knowledge many a time 🙂

  9. Liz Fredericks

    September 26, 2012 at 7:40 AM

    This is an excellent resource and entirely new to me – Thank You!! And especially for the tidbit on the wrist . . . and ‘safe kitchen’ gifts/food . . . hmmm, interesting . . . I feel a plot coming on.

    • Peggy Staggs

      September 27, 2012 at 3:26 PM

      I know. There are so many interesting people there. Each one could be a perpetrator or a victim.

  10. Meredith Allen Conner

    September 26, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    I’ve taken a Zumba class through our local extension office. It is a great resource and they have the most interesting classes.

    • Peggy Staggs

      September 27, 2012 at 3:28 PM

      They are a very overlooked source of all kinds of things. Parenting, canning (aka food preservation,) gardening, and money matters. Whatever they have at U of I they have there. Well, almost everything.


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