Thursday, April 03, 2008
What is Master Gardening?
I have been asked lately what is a Master Gardener and Why do I want to be one? Well, the classes are nearly over and I have the volunteer hours ahead of me. I guess the obvious reason is that I more than a little enjoy plants and want to learn more. Here is some basic information that I found that sums up what the program is all about.
Master Gardening Program
The Master Gardening program is filled with a variety of people, all with the same goal of learning, sharing, and teaching gardening topics. They band together for the good of gardening.
The program is sponsored and conducted by the land-grant university in each of the fifty states. Classes are conducted by local county organizations, their agents, outside professionals, experts, specialists, and sometimes master gardeners themselves.
On a weekly basis classes come together and learn about different gardening subjects, plant identification, soil and plant nutrition, weed science, composting and mulching, basic entomology, fruit and vegetable gardening, lawns, trees, and methods and techniques of propagation.
For attending the classes, a small fee for text books and supplies is required. A "pay back" of volunteer hours is required by each county. Some have a yearly certification program, others provide advanced training.
As a volunteer, there is no end to local projects: assisting schools in children's gardens, visiting nursing homes, helping with habitat landscaping, garden days, county fair booth, library lectures and displays, field trips, public plant clinics, and public seminars. Volunteers write newsletters, do radio and TV spots, answer the Master Gardener office phone and hold plant sales.
The program was originated in the early 1970's at Washington State University. Master Gardeners were taught and trained as helpers to the county agent.
With over 3,000 county agents in the United States, the program is well organized. Now there are county associations, cluster groups, state meetings, and regional conferences. There is even an international event.
info found at emilycompost.com