2018 Marion County Master Gardeners’ Spring Festival

Ocala Magazine Outdoor Gardening

Six Facts You Need to Know
And a few seeds of advice…
Provided by: Marion County
On the second weekend of March, get ready for the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion to burst forth in blooms, flowers, fresh veggies and greenery. That can only mean one thing – the Marion County Master Gardeners’ Spring Festival is back! Join us for the area’s largest all-in-one plant sale and gardening expo offering two days of fun, learning opportunities and a bigger-than-you-can-imagine gardening sale.
1. When and where
Saturday, March 10, 2018 | 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, March 11, 2018 | 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Southeastern Livestock Pavilion, 2232 NE Jacksonville Road, Ocala
Admission: $2, children 12 and younger are free.
2. Who should go
Whether you’re cultivating a food forest or struggling to keep a houseplant alive, the Spring Festival has the tools and teaching to help make your flowering landscape, veggie garden, lawn or potted plants successful.
3. What you’ll find at the plant sale
Pretty much everything that grows: flowers, herbs, shrubs, and trees, and even things that don’t: clay pottery, lawn ornaments, tools, and other gardening supplies.
Peruse these and more as you browse more than 60 vendors selling a large array of plants, garden décor and plant-related accessories in one convenient location. You’ll be buying directly from the producers, so you’ll find only the freshest plants here.
4. It’s more than a plant sale – grow your gardening know-how!
Get inspired, refresh your memory and learn something new with in-garden talks and seminars from Marion County and University of Florida experts, as well as Master Gardeners and other professionals. These free educational opportunities include topics such as small gardens, equipment and fertilizers, organic gardening, micro-irrigation systems, must-have plants for Marion, pest control options and raised bed gardening. Get specific with tips on raising berries, grapes, tropical crops, African violets, bamboo, ginger, tomatoes and more. Plan your visit to make sure you can catch the classes that interest you most; check the full schedule at www.MarionCountyFL.org/SpringFestival.
5. Bring the kids!
Kids get in free and will love being entertained and educated at the Kids Gardening Zone. Your little green thumbs will be able to plant their own seedlings, see a worm farm, build a birdfeeder, see a live bee hive, have their faces painted and more.
6. Something scrumptious is rolling into the festival.
Food trucks will be serving up soul food, Greek cuisine, traditional fair food, and more fresh culinary selections. For dessert, the kids (and you) can enjoy ice cream and snow cones.

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What’s growing in February? A few seeds of advice from a Marion County Master Gardener
We might be living in the Sunshine State, but Florida’s not immune to cold snaps. You should be safe growing lettuces, spinaches and collard greens, as those veggies can withstand cold temperatures well. Hollies and cedars, as well as some bare root trees (e.g., firs, maples, and ashes) also do well in the winter, but their leaves won’t flush out until the days warm up.
– Master Gardener Audrey Edwards
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Who are the Master Gardeners?
The Marion County Master Gardeners is a group of more than 100 volunteer horticulture experts housed within Marion County UF/IFAS Extension Service, a partnership between Marion County government and the University of Florida. The group offers residents year-round assistance through their plant clinic (located in the Extension Service offices next to the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion) and educational opportunities held throughout the county. For more information, visit www.MarionCountyFL.org/extensionservice or call 352-671-8400. Like them on Facebook for news and gardening tips: www.Facebook.com/MarionCountyMasterGardeners.

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