Gardener program to begin Sept. 16

Those with an interest in gardening and who would like to volunteer in your community, are encouraged to take the Iowa Master Gardener training to be offered in the area this fall. Whether a long-term veteran of gardening or a novice, all are welcome to join, organizers said.

The program provides 40 hours of training on many aspects of gardening. Individuals receive instruction in a wide range of horticulture and related areas: houseplants, herbaceous ornamentals, turfgrass, vegetables, woody landscape plants, plant propagation, fruits, soils, wildlife management, pesticide safety, integrated pest management, plant pathology, entomology and garden design.

Classes will held Tuesday evenings, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Sept. 16 through Nov. 4, with three additional classes to be scheduled.

The requirements to become a master gardener include a $195 fee to cover the cost of educational materials, and a commitment to share 40 hours of volunteer service on approved extension projects within the local community in exchange for this training. Additional volunteer hours and ongoing training are required in subsequent years to maintain the Master Gardener status.

Since 1979, the Iowa Master Gardener program has trained more than 10,000 people. Master gardeners are highly visible volunteers in their counties. Master gardeners may work at local ardens, schools, nursing homes, with 4-H youth or other community beautification or educational projects. Master gardeners answer questions on the radio, give presentations at gardening seminars, and discuss plants at local plant sales. Master gardeners can answer questions on the phone or via email or at booths at a local farmer’s market, county fairs, or home and garden shows. The master gardener program is unique both for its community emphasis and because it directly utilizes broad research-based resources and information from Iowa State University.

Those living in the ISU Extension Region 7 area of Hamilton, Humboldt, Webster or Wright counties and who are interested in becoming an Iowa Master Gardener, contact Yvonne McCormick, ISU Extension Horticulturist at yvonne@iastate.edu or visit your local county extension office for more information about this training. See www.iastate.extension.edu for phone numbers and email addresses of your local Iowa State University Extension office. Registration deadline is Sept. 5 to avoid a $50 late fee.