Greenhorn Gardening Success StoryThe first time I harvested a tomato, I was hooked, and I wanted to know how to grow everything! I wanted oranges, artichokes, broccoli, spinach and all manner of exotic flora growing in my garden, but I knew I had to discover which plants grew well in my area and also the why and how. So, I enrolled in a semester long Master Gardener class at my local county extension. Once accepted into a Master Gardener program, students are trained by Cooperative Extension, university and local industry specialists in subjects such as taxonomy, plant pathology, soil health, entomology, cultural growing requirements, sustainable gardening, nuisance wildlife management and integrated pest management.

 

Master Gardener programs provide extensive training to volunteers who, in turn, agree to advise and educate the public on gardening and horticulture using their individual interests and strengths. They agree to provide information to the public through cooperative extension helplines during the spring and summer months. In addition, they use their knowledge to speak at public events, write articles for publications, and partner with other community programs, gardens and educational facilities. In my city, Master Gardeners help maintain an arboretum, work in therapeutic greenhouses, help start outdoor classrooms, write grants to fund horticulture programs, speak on garden design, herbs and plant botany. Master Gardeners are active in all fifty states in the United States and in Canadian provinces. In the US, groups are affiliated with a land-grant university and one of its cooperative extension service offices.

 

People from all walks of life and all levels of experience bond over their common interest in gardening and can continue their new-found friendships through the local Master Gardener Association which offers monthly educational meetings and periodic conferences on topics of interest to gardeners. To find a Master Gardener class in your area go to www.ahs.org/gardening-resources/master-gardeners.

 

–Laurie Reinwald, Master Gardener


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