Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Learn How to Become Master Gardener

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Learn How to Become Master Gardener

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Brite DelValle

Master gardener classes are gearing up in Northeast Florida. If you have an interest in gardening and serving your community, this class may be for you.

Master gardener is a title given to individuals who receive in-depth horticultural training from County Extension Agents. In return, during the course of a year master gardeners gives 75 hours of volunteer service helping their local county extension office. The program is under the direction of the University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Master gardeners join the program for a variety of reasons.

Transplants from other areas of the country find that gardening in Florida has special challenges, and they want to learn how to duplicate their successes from their former homes. Some grew up on farms and are returning to their roots. Others simply enjoy digging in the dirt and want to have nice yards.

Whatever the reason, there is a common bond among gardeners, and they are an eager, nurturing group who love to share information about plants.

The county extension offices in several Northeast Florida counties train master gardeners in late summer and fall. If you are a resident of Duval, Clay, Bradford, Nassau, St. Johns, Putnam or Baker counties, the classes coming up are open to you.

Most master gardener trainings will be held on Wednesdays beginning in August and ending in October. Training sessions begin at 9:30 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m. each Wednesday. The cost to attend the program varies so check with your County Extension Office.

Training will include topics such as basic plant science, plant propagation, entomology (insects), plant pathology (diseases), nematology, vegetable gardening, fruit culture, woody ornamentals, turf management, animal pest control, Florida friendly landscaping, irrigation basics and planting/care of common landscape plants. The master gardener training is the most comprehensive horticultural classes offered in our area.

Master gardeners give their volunteer hours to County Extension Offices in many different ways. …

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