Reader Survey
Cheryl Gross

We have had some great responses to our reader survey from March, and are looking for more! Please take the time to let us know your thoughts about our newsletter by clicking HERE for our quick survey. Our newsletter team is always open to ideas and change!

Some of the things we have learned thus far:
  • Readers would like to be able to print this newsletter in an easier to read format
  • Better communication of how to submit an article to be included in the Real Dirt
  • There is interest in publishing information about other garden clubs and activities around town

Volunteering Guidelines
Cheryl Gross & Elise Carolan

As all of you Master Gardeners out there begin gearing-up for your 'season' of volunteering, read here for a refresher on MG Volunteering guidelines.

Hey Extension Master Gardener, are you working with, or would like to work with a YOUTH audience??
Elise Carolan

Master Gardeners interested in working with youth should check out the information here to find connections and opportunities in your county!

Friday Night Live

When: Fridays from July 31-August 21, 5:30pm-9:00pm. 
Where: East Front Street, Downtown Traverse City
Who: Three to four volunteers per evening are all that are needed to conduct this outreach activity. 
What: Join us in our second participation of Traverse City's "Friday Night Live" this year! Last year's evenings were a blast and the kids LOVED our activities.  Some materials and activity ideas are already on hand, so if you are interested, please contact us via if you would like to be a part of this fun kid-oriented activity.

Friday Night Live is described as: "Jazz, art, food and fun will fill East Front. Downtown's popular community block party features a full slate of music, entertainment, food, demonstrations and family activities along the 100 and 200 blocks of East Front Street". 

Community Gardens Map

Are you or someone you know looking for a community garden in your area, but don't know where one is? Well look no further! Master Gardeners with MGANM have graciously compiled a map of FOOD gardens as well as EXPLORATORY gardens in our area. Take a look and see what is near you! 


Annual Excitement
Cheryl Gross

Flowering annuals, or bedding plants, can provide benefits in a landscaped garden. While by their very nature, they last only one season and provide little habitat benefit, they can add spark and bold color to an established landscape bed for the entire summer season. Read here to discover the best uses for Annual Excitement!

News & Events

May MGANM Meeting:
Tour of Greenspire School in Traverse City

When: Tuesday, May 5th, 2015; 6:00 pm
Where: The Greenspire School, 1026 Red Drive, Traverse City, MI 49684 (see map)
Who:  Free for MGANM members, $5 suggested donation for the public
What: Join us to tour this innovative middle school, featuring LEED-designed collaborative educational spaces, greenhouse and kitchen.  Learn how nature, environmental science and horticulture are woven into the curriculum to promote student stewardship.  Last but not least, take home some flowers, herbs and veggies from the student plant sale!

June MGANM Meeting:
Tour of Sleeping Bear Farms

When: Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015; 6:00 pm
Where: Sleeping Bear Farms, 971 South Pioneer Road, Beulah, MI 49617 (see map)
Who:  Free for MGANM members, $5 suggested donation for the public
What: Learn about our most important pollinators, bees! We will tour the farm and learn about the beekeeping process, as well as the process for harvesting honey.
Check our website here for more events!
Check out the Botanic Gardens at Historic Barns Park, MMGA, Boardman River Nature Center,and Plant It Wild websites for more information about the following educational opportunities (and more).
  • PIW Field Trip, "Wildflower Walks in Pete's Woods"
  • PIW Program, "Prairie Power: Reducing Your Lawn with Native Plants"
  • Botanic Gardens, "Building a Green Roof"
  • PIW Field Trip, "Dune Wildflowers"
  • Botanic Gardens, Bim Willow "Rustic Furniture Make & Workshop
  • PIW Program, "The Challenge of Ground Covers"
  • MMGA, Annual Membership Meeting


Vegetable Container Gardens for the Patio & Deck
Julie Peltier

Growing vegetables used to be all about a plot of land and neatly planted rows. That's the way our grandparents did it. Today, gardeners employ techniques to grow a greater quantity in a more compact space using raised beds and containers. Learn ALL about vegetable container gardening here to get your growing season...growing!



Seeking a few good people

When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade! Our Vice President position has come open mid-season, which means we have an opportunity for YOU to join us. Our board meets one time per month, and is in touch via email. Commitment time can be as little as 2-3 hours per month. If you would like to learn more, email our board at:


Loving your Lawn
Nancy Denison

Turf grass lawns are by far the most popular ground cover in Michigan. By their nature, they have shallow roots and a healthy appetite. Lawn services are everywhere to provide care for your lawn. As Master Gardeners have learned... watering timing and amounts play an important role in lawn care. Additionally, fertilizing is NOT a four or five step process throughout the entire growing season. Read here to catch-up on today's best practices for Loving Your Lawn. 

Climb Up
Rebecca Carmien, MG Trainee

Spring's arrival means different things to each of us. Hard core tree topping is sadly still one of spring's sights and sounds. Read here to catch up on the horrors of tree-topping, alternative pruning techniques and ways to avoid the problems of too tall trees altogether!

Green Roof Project at the Boardman River Nature Center
Whitney Miller

MGANM is partnering with The Boardman River Nature Center, Inhabitect LLC (green roof company), Grand Traverse Conservation District, Grand Traverse Stewardship Initiative, NMC University Center (building the structure), and MSU-E to build a shed on the grounds of the Nature Center. We are looking for an architect to finalize our structure plans, and donations to help with green roof materials. If you would like to learn more, or volunteer, email us at:

To read our post about green roofs, as presented by Inhabitect LLC to MGANM, click here.
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The Real Dirt is brought to you by: Sonia Clem, Nancy Denison, Cheryl Gross (committee chair), Whitney Miller, Tom Patton, Sue Sensenbaugh-Padgett, and Julie Peltier.  If you have further questions about The Real Dirt, please contact Cheryl at
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