Bring your Gardening Tools to the Halifax Farmers Market on September 9

The Second Saturday with the Southside Master Gardener Association will feature tool sharpening from 8 to 11 AM at the Halifax Farmers Market on September 9. The new SSMGA cookbooks will be available. Garden tools are an extension of the home gardener’s hand. Good tools are an investment, one that needs to be protected especially when money is tight. Fortunately, this is not difficult to do. Bring your small hand tools to the Halifax Farmers Market on September 9 and the Master Gardeners will cheerfully clean and sharpen your tools. We all know that sharp tools, especially pruners, are easier to use, but did you know sharp tools are better for the plant? Dull pruner blades can tear bark or mash a stem leaving a wound that is open and susceptible to the entry of diseases or insects. The plant has defenses to heal from a sharp clean cut made at the proper place. One situation that is often overlooked is the need to keep tools clean and disinfected. It is common for dirty tools to be carriers of disease. Regularly disinfecting tools is as easy as having a squirt bottle of alcohol handy and spritzing tools before moving from plant to plant. If pruning out diseased plant parts, it should be done with every cut. The Virginia Extension Agency recommends using mouthwash or alcohol, but a weak bleach solution (one part bleach to nine parts water) or disinfecting cleaning solutions such as Lysol® are good alternative disinfectants. Copies of the Master Gardener cookbook “Thyme to Eat!” will be available. The cookbook was created to support Master Gardener outreach programs such as public gardening education, the children’s garden at the Southern Virginia Botanical Garden and Farmers Market programs, as well as scholarships for local 4H campers. It is chock full of riveting recipes like Gnudi, Pan y Mas, Beouf Bourguignon and even a Squash Bug Trap – well, we are Master Gardeners! There are also traditional favorites such as Sweet Potato Casserole and Pecan Pie. Cost of the cookbook is $14. Bring your small hand tools to the Halifax Farmers Market on September 9 from 8 to 11 AM and the Master Gardeners will clean and sharpen them at no charge. As always, Master Gardeners will be there to answer your gardening questions and please visit the regular vendors with veggies, fruits, organic meats, herbs and eggs. Inside vendors have an assortment of handmade items, collectables and even portrait photography. If you want to know more about the Master Gardeners and their programs, contact Bill McCaleb at the Halifax Extension Office 434-476-2147, option 0 or e-mail