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If despite the snow and cold, gardeners are getting a bit eager about gardening it is perfectly understandable. Research published in 2015 on the online site Science Daily states that the earliest signs of trial plant culture from 23,000 years ago, were found in a “sedentary human camp” along the shore of the Sea of Galilee. We have been gardening for what seems like forever.

Gardeners are always eager to learn more, and well, have we got a deal for you.

On Saturday morning, Jan. 27, the Rapid City Public Library will be hosting an event to celebrate National Seed Swap Day. In addition to the planned seed swap, Linda Hasselstrom will be presenting on "Protecting our Grasslands" and Cindy Reed will speak about the activities of the Great Plains Native Plant Society. I will be talking about and demonstrating vermicomposting in a worm bin. Check with the library for the schedule and more detailed information.

The Pennington County Master Gardeners offer their ever-popular six week series of talks "Gardening in the Black Hills" again this year. The twelve classes (two different presentations each evening) are held on Tuesdays from 6:30 to 9 p.m. The first class is Feb. 27 followed by March 6, 13, 20, 27 and April 3. The topics cover basic gardening skills — beginning a garden, composting, seed starting, small fruits, and others. Classes are held in the basement of the First Interstate Bank building across from Menards. The fee for the entire series (presentations, hand outs and treats) is $35. Call 394-1722 to register and pay. The Master Gardeners offer some tuition assistance for this. Contact blackhillsgarden for more information.

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On Saturday, March 3, the all-day garden event, Spring Fever, hosted by the Pennington County Master Gardeners, will be held at the Ramkota. The featured speaker this year is Linda Chalker-Scott, PhD, Washington State University Extension. She will give two presentations, “Evidence Based Gardening Information” and “The Root of the Problem — When Plants Don’t Thrive.” In addition, there will be a presentation by a SDSU Extension professional and table talks by area Master Gardeners. The daylong event includes a lunch, a silent auction and door prizes. More information and an application form will be on blackhillsgarden soon. Attendance is limited to 200 persons. The cost is $35 for the entire day.

Winter seminars are presented by the Hill City Evergreen Garden Club the 4th Wednesday of January, February, March and April at 1 p.m. in the conference room of the Super 8 Motel in Hill City. These are free and all are welcome. Topics are: January, Trees for this area, Liz Albrecht from Jolly Lane; February, Hugelkulture, Joe Hillberry; March is Vermiculture/Working with worms, Cathie Draine; and April is Floral Conditioning and working with Garden Flowers (for display), Cheryl Rudel.

The article from Science Daily might just prove that the more things change, the more they stay the same. “Because weeds thrive in cultivated fields and disturbed soils, a significant presence of weeds in archaeobotanical assemblages retrieved from Neolithic sites … is widely considered an indicator of systematic cultivation…” After 23,000 years we are still dealing with weeds.

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Cathie Draine is a South Dakota Cooperative Extension Master Gardener and a member of the Garden Writers Association. She lives and gardens in Whispering Pines. Contact her at blackhillsgarden.com.

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