Master Gardeners of Barry Co.

Master Gardeners of Barry Co. organized in January of 2015 following the first Barry Co. Master Gardening class offering. Master Gardeners are trained by University of Missouri Extension to provide research-based gardening information and volunteer in their community. If you are interested in becoming a Master Gardener please call or email the office.

2017 Officers are:

Chair: Sharon Wilson
Vice-Chair:EJ Adams
Secretary/Treasurer: Liz Renkoski


List of Current Projects

Cassville Library Grounds

Other projects include:
Bayless House
Cassville Senior Center
Eagle Rock Community Association  
  Community Center
  Community Connection Thrift Store
Golden Post office
Golden Community Center
Roaring River State Park

List of Completed Projects

Monett senior Center



Learn more about Master Gardeners, find a club, see upcoming events and news at the MOMGA home page


Monday, May 14, 2018

Master Gardener's coffeehouse brings farm to the city

Source: Holly Records, 314-577-9442

ST. LOUIS – Master Gardener Paul Whitsitt takes the farm to the city and the city to the farm.

Whitsitt owns Kitchen House Coffee in St. Louis’ trendy Tower Grove East community. Out the back door, chickens earn their keep by laying eggs for the restaurant’s quiches and egg sandwiches. They also entertain curious customers who browse books on sustainable gardening and beekeeping. Other customers carry on conversations amid the clucking of the chickens, the hiss and groan of the espresso machine, and the lively banter between barista and coffee drinkers.

Whitsitt learned gardening through University of Missouri Extension’s Master Gardener program in 2014. A perennial student, Whitsitt practiced law and served as director of Chicago’s public school libraries before moving to St. Louis in 2012.

He says he had limited “trial and error” gardening skills before moving to St. Louis. He then attended gardening workshops in the St. Louis area and learned of MU’s Master Gardener program. “It was just what I needed when I needed it,” he says.

He volunteered at Gateway Greening's downtown urban farm as he was creating his own urban farm. Gateway Greening supports growing and sharing fresh, locally sourced food in food deserts where access to healthy food is difficult.

Food at the coffeehouse goes full circle. Whitsitt composts coffee grounds and food scraps from the restaurant for his urban garden. The compost fertilizes vegetables and herbs for food and specialty drinks at the restaurant.

Whitsitt wanted to create more than just a restaurant when he opened the coffeehouse. He wanted to provide a sense of community and promote urban gardening and sustainability.

The Tower Grove community, with its parks, festivals, farmers market and arts community, seemed ripe for the concept. The austere exteriors of the 1890s brick buildings in the neighborhood, including the coffeehouse, open to surprisingly intricate architectural details inside.

Whitsitt’s garden grows in the heart of the city. He bought the abandoned lot at a tax sale. He and his husband, David Rodgers, own the historic house in front of the lot. They demolished an old, dilapidated house on the back lot and kept the summer kitchen house, which is now used for additional chickens. Beehives also are on the property. Raised bed gardens fill the rest of the lot.

The produce includes lettuce and tomatoes for salads, kale for smoothies, and eggplants, garlic and sweet potatoes for soups. Holly Records, MU Extension educational program coordinator in St. Louis County, says the garden shows how urban dwellers can make use of parts of their yards or abandoned properties to grow healthy food.

“An objective of the Master Gardener program is to encourage food security through home gardening,” says MU Extension state horticulturist David Trinklein. “In urban areas, Master Gardener groups have been instrumental in helping local residents convert vacant, unused land into productive vegetable gardens.”

Kitchen House Coffee is one of the sponsors of the eighth annual Sustainable Backyard Garden Tour on June 10. The tour promotes the conversion of unproductive lawn and pavement into something useful and restorative. Go to for more information.

Learn more about the Missouri Master Gardeners at

Photos available for this release:




Calibrachoa: Petunia's pretty little cousin takes center stage in 2018

  • Published: Wednesday, Apr. 4, 2018
COLUMBIA, Mo. – While new flowering species are introduced on a fairly regular basis, very few have supplanted longtime garden favorites such as geraniums and petunias, says University of Missouri Extension horticulturist David Trinklein. An exception is calibrachoa, or “callie” for short.

Introduced in the 1990s, this diminutive relative of petunia has become one of the hottest sellers in the bedding plant industry. The National Garden Bureau named calibrachoa its 2018 flowering annual of the year. With flowers about an inch in diameter, callies look very much like miniature petunias. What sets them apart, Trinklein says, is the palette of vivid colors and patterns of their flowers. Varieties with yellow, orange or bronze flowers are commonplace.

Since calibrachoa flowers produce very few seeds, the plant’s energy is devoted to producing more flowers rather than ripening seeds. While this enhances its attractiveness, it means most varieties need to be vegetatively reproduced. This costs more than starting plants from seeds, Trinklein says, so expect to pay just a bit more for callies than you would for most petunias.

The added expense is well worth the investment, he says. Callies are heat-tolerant and produce loads of flowers. Calibrachoa is semi-trailing and grows to a height of about 12 inches, making it an excellent “spiller” plant in a combination planter or hanging basket.

“As a matter of fact, calibrachoa probably performs better in a container filled with a soilless growing medium than in a garden bed or border,” Trinklein adds. This is especially true if the soil lacks good drainage.

However they are used, callies need full-sun exposure. Partial shading leads to decreased flowering and a less attractive display of color. Callies are fairly heavy feeders and should be given additional fertilizer during the growing season. Feed every other week with a liquid or soluble fertilizer according to label directions, Trinklein says.

Calibrachoa seems to have a higher need for iron than most bedding plants, he says. Therefore, the growing media should be maintained at a pH level in the 6.0 range, which is slightly acid. Additionally, feed with iron sulfate or chelated iron if new growth becomes yellowish.

Callies are relatively pest-free but can suffer from root rots such as pythium and phytophthora if grown in poorly drained soil or when overwatered in a container.

Nearly every major seed or plant company has jumped on the calibrachoa bandwagon. Million Bells, Superbells, Cabaret, Cruze, Calipetite and Can-Can are series to look for in the bedding plant market this spring, Trinklein says. “All bring dazzling color and outstanding performance to the garden.”







 Good soil makes for green thumb gardening


For more lawn and garden articles from MU Extension, go to
Source: David Trinklein, 573-882-9631

COLUMBIA, Mo. – “You don’t need to have a green thumb to be a good gardener, but it certainly helps to have good soil,” said David Trinklein, University of Missouri Extension horticulture specialist. Unfortunately, most Missouri soils are less than ideal for gardening.

One of the most beneficial things a gardener can do to improve soil is to add organic matter, Trinklein said. Organic matter improves soil structure, increases nutrient content and exchange, aids in water retention and enhances the microbial population of the soil.

Perhaps the easiest and least expensive way to incorporate organic matter into garden soil involves planting cover crops, he said.

Vegetable gardeners frequently plant cover crops in late summer when harvest is complete. “Although the foliage provides valuable organic matter, it actually is the extensive root systems of cover crops that contribute most to soil improvement,” said Trinklein. “Many cover crops produce more biomass below ground than they do above ground.”

Cool-season grasses that thrive in the mild days and cool nights of autumn are ideal candidates as cover crops. Annual ryegrass is one of the most popular and reliable grasses to plant as a garden cover crop. It grows quickly, competes well with weeds and does a fine job of building soil structure because of its extensive root system, said Trinklein.

Choose grasses that show greater winter hardiness, such as rye and oats, if cover crop planting is delayed. Both tolerate cold weather quite well and may grow throughout the winter, weather permitting.

Cover crops often are used as “catch crops” to take up and fix any fertilizer that remains in the garden. This is especially true for nitrogen that would be lost through leaching in fall and winter.

Cover crops should be turned under in early spring, when the soil is dry enough to work. Preferably, this will be at least three to four weeks before planting the garden. Adequate time is needed to allow soil microbes to break down the organic matter in cover crops to a more stable form.

When turning under cover crops, do so as thoroughly as possible. Exposed parts of the plant may decompose slowly or not at all. Partially decomposed organic matter tends to tie up nitrogen when soil microbes complete the decomposition process, Trinklein said.

“In the soil, organic matter continually is broken down in a biological process carried out by soil flora and fauna,” he said. “For this reason, the yearly addition of organic matter to garden soil is considered a best management practice.”

More information: “Cover Crops Improve Garden Soil,” Missouri Environment and Garden newsletter,


Capturing hated cucumber beetles

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The new yellow milk jugs in the Kitchen Garden portion of the Master Gardeners Demonstration Garden at the Springfield Botanical Gardens in Springfield, are a novel and successful idea for capturing striped and spotted cucumber beetles.

Cucumber beetles are one-quarter-inch-long beetles with either 12 spots (spotted cucumber beetle) or three black stripes (striped cucumber beetle) on their abdomens. Both species can overwinter in Missouri and become active in April when daytime temperatures exceed 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Without proper management, adult beetles can transmit bacterial wilt, viruses, gummy stem blight, defoliate plants and cause cosmetic damage to fruits. Larvae of the striped beetle also cause damage by feeding on cucurbit roots and stems. These beetles can kill or stunt seedlings and can damage stems and fruits of older plants.

“They also love to eat on garden favorite plants like cucumbers, watermelon, squash and pumpkins,” said Kelly McGowan, horticulture educator, University of Missouri Extension. “Managing these two pests in gardens and small farms can be challenging.”

Insecticides can be an effective control option but harvest interruption due to pre-harvest intervals, and the potential impact on pollinators must be considered. Many of these insecticides will also be “restricted-use,” requiring private pesticide applicator training and licensing.

Researchers at Lincoln University in Jefferson City have developed a simple, mass trapping system. This system has proven to be an effective component of an integrated pest management strategy in commercial cucurbit production systems and can be replicated on a smaller scale for home vegetable gardens.

“When deployed in the cucurbit field, the cucumber beetles are drawn to the traps and away from the cash crop. Upon entering the trap, beetles are killed by their consumption of a carbaryl-laced bait,” said McGowan.

The three components of the trap are a juice or milk jug, a commercial floral-based lure, and a stun pill composed of carbaryl (Sevin), paraffin wax, and powdered buffalo gourd.

Details on the trap and how to construct one can be found at

Examples of the trap in action can be seen at the Springfield Botanical Gardens, 2400 S. Scenic Ave., Springfield, Mo.

— Kelly McGowan, University of Missouri Extension

Flowering annuals: Year of the begonia

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Source: David Trinklein, 573-882-9631

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Once considered a denizen of the shade, begonias today are versatile garden plants that can be used in a variety of ways. This year, the begonia has its moment in the sun as the National Garden Bureau’s flowering annual for 2016.

“Some begonias are grown for their uniquely shaped leaves; others are prized for their flower. Many work well as container plants, and if you’re looking for pretty edger for a formal bed or border, begonia is a great choice,” said David Trinklein, horticulture specialist for University of Missouri Extension.

Begonia is a very large plant genus that contains more than 1,700 species. Most belong to one of two broad categories based on their root structure.

Fibrous-rooted begonias

These are also called “wax-leaf begonias” because the leaves are shiny as if they’ve been oiled. They can also tolerate a variety of exposures.

“They will put up with shade or full sun, but need highly organic soil that retains water when grown in sunny areas. Additionally, they must receive adequate water,” Trinklein said.

Wax begonias produce a multitude of small flowers and come in shades of red, pink and white. They also are available in two leaf colors, green and bronze. In full sun the bronze-leafed types often turn an attractive reddish-orange.

Trinklein says they are perfect for edging in formal flower beds or along a formal border.

“Fibrous-rooted begonias are what I call a very prim and proper plant,” he said. “They’re very neat, very slow to enlarge and never get out of bounds.”

Tuberous-rooted begonias

These shade-loving plants can thrive in very little direct sun.

“Which is good news because there are very few plants that will give us good color from flowers when there’s a limited amount of sun,” Trinklein said.

Tuberous-rooted begonias make great bedding or border plants as long as the sun exposure isn’t too severe, he said. They also work well in container gardens located in a shady setting.

As with the fibrous-rooted begonias, they need a highly organic soil, or amended garden loam, and sufficient water.

“Begonias of all types have very fine feeder roots,” Trinklein said. “The root system can’t reach down into the soil profile for water, so you must keep them watered. Not soaking wet, but moist.”


While most tuberous-rooted begonias are vegetatively propagated, fibrous-rooted begonias are grown from seeds. This can be a challenge for the average gardener because the seeds are very small, almost dustlike in appearance, Trinklein said.

“A very fine-textured and porous germination medium is required to successfully start begonia seeds,” he said. “If you try to start them a coarser medium, the tiny seeds will drop into cracks and crevices and might not be able to emerge before depleting food reserves.”

Even when placed in a proper growing medium they grow very slowly. When the seedlings first emerge, they’re barely big enough to see.

“It may be eight weeks or more before they’re large enough to be transplanted into a bedding plant container,” Trinklein said. “Then it will take more time before the plant is large enough to be transplanted into the garden.”

Because the fibrous-rooted begonias are such a challenge to grow from seed, Trinklein recommends that home gardeners buy these begonias as started plants.

So, if you’re looking for ways to add color to shady areas or need attractive border or edging plants, take another look at begonias.

For more information, the MU Extension publication “Flowering Annuals: Characteristics and Culture” (G6629) is available for download at

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Journal your garden


photo: Garden Journal and garden tools

The most challenging aspect of successful gardening just might be the difficulty recalling what worked and what didn't from year to year. Many gardeners believe the keys to successful gardening are getting your plans on paper first and keeping records. MU Extension publication MP928, From Seed to Harvest and Beyond: Garden Journal and Calendar, gives you an easy way to record your garden plans, observations and ideas.

This publication also includes year-round resources to guide gardeners at all experience levels. Written by MU Extension horticulture specialists who teach Master Gardeners, this publication brings you reliable and relevant information.


Seeds of Prosperity

Beyond the Farmers' Market