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MADISON - With the advent of spring comes warmer weather — and gardening season. Area gardeners are invited to gather ideas for their plots at the UW Family Gardening Day on Saturday, May 6, on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. The free, family-friendly event runs from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the university’s Allen Centennial Garden, Steenbock Memorial Library and D.C. Smith Instructional Greenhouse.

“Spring is here, and it’s time to get growing,” says event organizer Johanna Oosterwyk, manager of the D.C. Smith Instructional Greenhouse. “UW Family Gardening Day is a great way to kick off gardening season with activities and inspiration for the whole family.”

UW-Madison and UW-Extension experts and volunteers will be on hand all day to answer questions about plants, soils, weeds and pests; offer advice for gardens of all sizes; and host a variety of demonstrations and displays on topics such as limited-space gardens, edible gardens and ways to extend the growing season.

Each location will also have fun, hands-on activities for kids. At Steenbock Library, children can assemble tiny terrariums (using deli containers they can take home) with the help of UW-Madison students. At D.C. Smith Greenhouse, they can look at insects under a microscope, learn about research happening at the UW Biotron and construct unconventional flower arrangements. Young visitors to Allen Centennial Garden can explore the space and look for gardening ideas that inspire them.

While supplies last, Allen Centennial Garden will also be distributing Pasta Four-Packs — sets of tomato, oregano, basil and pepper plants — for visitors to take and plant in their home gardens.

Steenbock Library will have Master Gardeners on hand to answer questions and hand out pots of disease-resistant Iron Lady tomato plants while supplies last. Librarians will help distribute information about local gardening resources, including the Dane County Seed Library. Visitors are also encouraged to check out the library’s collection, which includes popular materials on cooking, food preservation, gardening and urban agriculture.

While on campus, visitors should be sure to stop by Babcock Hall Dairy Store, which will be open and dishing up ice cream treats from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Allen Centennial Garden, Steenbock Memorial Library and the D.C. Smith Instructional Greenhouse are all located within two blocks of each other at 620 Babcock Drive, 550 Babcock Drive and 465 Babcock Drive, respectively. Free parking is available in Lot 34 at 1480 Tripp Circle; in Lot 36 just west of Steenbock Library; and in Lot 40 behind Babcock Hall.

For more, visit the UW Family Gardening Day Facebook Page and webpage, or contact Johanna Oosterwyk at jmooster@wisc.edu or (608) 262-3844.

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