Farm, Garden & Outdoors calendar published Feb. 11, 2023

Events and classes scheduled in the outdoors, gardening and farming. Submit your event at by noon on Tuesday.

Round hay bales in a field


Business of Soil Health: Profitability and Weather Resiliency: The Hawk Creek Watershed Project is offering a look at the economic and production benefits that area farmers are realizing by adopting practices that improve soil health. There is no charge for attendance from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 1, at the Renville Community Center, 221 Main St. N., Renville. Free lunch is provided for those who register by Feb. 22 by email to or by calling 320-523-3666 . Matt Tiffany, a Redwood County farmer, will offer a look at the use of conventional, strip- and no-tillage practices along with cover crops, and the economics of doing so. Phil Smith, a Renville County farmer, will talk about regenerative farming practices on his land and his perspective on its economic value as well conservation benefits. The benefits and biology of regenerative soil health will be described by Jonathan Lundgren, CEO of Blue Dasher Farm in Estelline, South Dakota.

Strategic Farming: Let’s Talk Crops webinar series. This free, live, online program will provide up-to-date, research-based information to help optimize your crop management strategies for 2023. Sessions will be held over Zoom from 9 to 10 a.m. Wednesdays, Jan. 11 through March 29. Sessions will begin with a brief presentation by the discussion leaders for the day, followed by discussion framed around farmer/participant questions on the topic. Register at for the entire program series. Sessions will be recorded and posted for viewing later. The next three sessions are:

  • Feb. 15: Weed management in the era of increasing herbicide resistance; Debalin Sarangi, Extension weed management specialist.
  • Feb. 22: “Can I take an N credit?" and other cover crop frequently asked questions; Anna Cates, state soil health specialist, and Matt Ruark, Extension soil scientist, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • March 1: Expanding your rotation with small grains; Jochum Wiersma, Extension small grains specialist.

Farm transfer planning workshop: March 11, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., MinnWest Technology Campus auditorium, Willmar, ages 25 and older, $150 per farm owner. Instructors are Samantha Nelson, David Nelson and Mark Santelman. Register at Willmar Community Education at . Designed for owners who are serious about starting their farm transition and want to include their family or successors in the process. It will focus on family dynamics by exploring personal and team strengths, as well as personal resilience building and stress management during the transfer process. Second part will focus on case studies and logistical questions guided by the wisdom of local experts and professionals seasoned in the transfer of farms. The final part will focus on building a practical farm transfer action plan for participants to use as a catalyst for their transition efforts. Our facilitation model is centered around your family (or farm owner and successor) first. Once your legacy is well-articulated, local resources can follow up to equip and empower you to fulfill your vision.

Pesticide applicator testing: March 6 and April 7, 8:30 a.m. to noon, Renville County Soil and Water Conservation District office in Olivia. Review the Minnesota Department of Ag website for testing requirements or call Ethan Dahl at 320-523-1550 , ext 101 or email at with any questions. The website is .

Keep reading for more of this week's calendar items below the related content.

More agriculture-related news:
The RIPE proposal offers conservation payments of at least $100 an acre while producing a crop $100 an animal unit for livestock. It might be the incentive needed for increased buy-in.
Climate change brings some benefits, some detriments to agriculture in the northern Plains. Midwest climatology experts see that change is here and farmers are taking notice.
North Dakota, Minnesota and South Dakota universities and teaching programs encourage prospective and practicing teachers in a variety of ways.
My helplessness to travel very far from our farm illustrates the power that nature holds over us.



Gardening from the ground up: Feb. 20-24, 1 to 2:30 p.m., free, online; University of Minnesota Extension educators present the fourth annual webinar series. The free virtual workshops will focus on trees and shrubs in the home landscape. Webinars will cover topics ranging from tree establishment to proper pruning techniques, to tree pest management — all useful for any curious beginner gardener or yard owner. Recordings of the webinars will be sent out at the conclusion of the series.

Let’s Make Planty Things: Thursday, Feb. 23, 5:45 to 6:45 p.m., Jefferson Learning Center, ages 16 and up, instructor Pam Vruwink, $20 per session, register at Willmar Community Education. Enjoy do-it-yourself adventures? This hands-on class will make a variety of fun, plant-related projects. Course fee includes all required supplies. Feb. 23 class is a forsythe pot for rooting plant cuttings; March 23 class is a kokedama, which is potting up plants in a ball of moss and displaying them in a dish or suspended in the air, and April 20 is a ceramic planter which may be decorated.

2023 Meeker County Gardener’s Gala: March 21, 5 to 8:30 p.m., Church of St. Philip, Litchfield, the University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners of Meeker County annual educational evening with speakers and vendors. Robin Trott, Extension horticulture education in Douglas County, will speak on “Grow a Rainbow: Annual flowers for color and purpose” and Larry Cipolla, master gardener, will be speaking on hydroponics for year-round gardening, the very easy way. For more information, call the Extension Office at 320-693-5275 . Go to to register online and pay or to download the brochure to register by mail. Tickets are $10 by March 10 and $20 at the door.

2023 Douglas County Let’s Get Growing: April 1, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Discovery Middle School, Alexandria, No advance registration, $20 by cash or check only at the door. Educational booths and three sessions, “Plant selection for a changing climate” by Julie Weisenhorn, University of Minnesota Extension educator; “Building soil health” by Joe Storlien, associate professor of environmental studies, College of St. Benedict and St. John's University; “A-Z of vegetables, herbs and fruits” by Courtney Tchida, community programs director, Minnesota State Horticultural Society.

Let’s Propagate Plants: Thursday, April 24, 5:45 to 6:45 p.m., Jefferson Learning Center, ages 16 and up, instructor Pam Vruwink, $10, register at Willmar Community Education. Looking to expand your indoor plant collection? Create new plants from existing plants? This hands-on class will propagate plants (without seeds) by taking fresh cuttings from a syngonium plant (also called Arrowhead vine). Course fee includes plant cuttings, growing medium, and containers.

'Prairie Yard and Garden': The 36th season of "Prairie Yard and Garden" starts Jan. 19 on Pioneer PBS. All the shows will be available for online viewing at after the original showing.

  • Feb. 16: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, and repeats 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, and 1 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20. Host Mary Holm presents “Northland Arboretum” as she visits the Brainerd area to experience more than 400 acres of hardy trees, shrubs and perennials laced with hiking and skiing trails.
  • Feb. 23: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, and repeats 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, and 1 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27. Host Mary Holm presents “How to Grow Good Tomatoes” as she visits with 90-plus-year old John Anderson who has been growing tomatoes for a very long time in Morris and he shares his experience and growing tips.  


Sibley State Park: A vehicle permit is required to enter the park and is available online. Sibley State Park is west of New London just off U.S. Highway 71. For more information, visit the state Department of Natural Resources website at . Cross-country ski and snowmobile trail conditions available at

  • Great Backyard Bird Count: Feb. 18, 11 a.m. to noon. Meet at the Interpretive Center and join the staff on the Pondview Trail to identify and count as many birds as possible. Bring your own binoculars if you have them. If you do not have a pair of binoculars, please contact Savannah, 320-354-2055 , at the Sibley Interpretive Center to borrow a pair from the park. There is a limited number available. If you can't join us on the trail, drop by the Interpretive Center to check out a birding kit and turn in your count at the end of the day.
  • Snowshoe hike: Feb. 25 or March 4, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Meet at the Interpretive Center and take a snowshoe hike on the Pondview Trail. Learn the snowshoeing basics and explore the winter landscape with an interpreter. Advance registration is required due to limited equipment. Please contact Savannah, 320-354-2055 , at the Sibley Interpretive Center to reserve your spot.
  • An incredible journey: March 18, 11 a.m. to noon; meet at the Interpretive Center. How does water end up in different forms and locations? Play a game to explore the water cycle. Activity is designed for ages 5-11, but all are welcome to participate.
  • Skin and bones: March 18, 2 to 3 p.m., at the Interpretive Center. See how many pelts and skulls you recognize and compare them to other animals found at the park.

Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center: Trails at the rural Spicer center may be used during daylight hours at no cost. For trail conditions, check the website at . A bathroom with composting toilets is open by the pavilion. Pets should be on a leash. Advance registration required for all classes. All equipment rentals (fat-tire bikes, cross-country skies, snowshoes and kicksleds) will be handled on a reservation basis, made at least 24 hours in advance. To reserve equipment for the weekend, please call by noon Friday. Two-hour equipment rental is $20 for adults, $10 for members and $5 for all youth. Call 320-354-5894 .


  • Winter Fun Day: Feb. 12, 1 to 4 p.m., $5 per person, $20 max per family. Celebrate winter with  fun outdoor activities for everyone in the family including snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, Scandinavian kicksleds, and fat tire bikes. While indoors, warm up by the fire, learn about some winter hobbies and try your hand at the climbing wall. Dress for an outdoor experience.
  • Snowshoeing: Feb. 16, 4 to 5:30 p.m., grades 4-12, $10. On snowshoes, you can explore “off the beaten path” and beyond the trails. Enjoy this magical adventure through quiet woods and hills, while watching for tracks and signs of our animal neighbors. Instruction and all equipment provided. Dress for an outdoor experience.
  • Climbing wall: Feb. 23, 4 to 5:30 p.m., $10 per session, grades K-12, advance registration required. Challenge yourself both physically and mentally at your own pace. Beginners can learn about the sport, exercise and have fun. Experienced climbers can train and refine their skills. Instructors will be there to help, and equipment is provided. Additional dates are March 7 and March 23.
  • Pioneer Winter Survival: March 2, 4 to 6 p.m., grades 3-6, $10. Do you have what it takes to survive a Minnesota winter, pioneer style? Come to the 1888 cabin, dress as a pioneer, help saw wood, make candles, learn out to build a fire with flint and steel, try snowshoeing and Scandinavian kicksledding and warm up by the fire with some hot apple cider. Dress for an outdoor experience.

'Prairie Sportsman': The 14th season of "Prairie Sportsman" starts Jan. 22 on Pioneer PBS. All the shows will be available for online viewing at after the original showing.

  • Feb. 12: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12, and repeats 12:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13, and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18. Host Bret Amundson presents “Forgotten Trail and Drone Tracking Deer” featuring the state trail Minnesota forgot and thermal drones used to locate and track fawns.
  • Feb. 19: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19, and repeats 12:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20, and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25. Host Bret Amundson presents “Fishing Red Lake and Absorbing Road Salts” featuring fishing Red Lake Nation’s open waters and plants that could absorb road salts. 
Donna Middleton started working at the West Central Tribune in 1975 and has been the news assistant since 1992. She compiles the arts, health, farm and community page calendars, as well as rewrites and works on the special sections.
She can be contacted at or phone 320-214-4341.
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