Master Gardener classes offered

Published 12:45 pm Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Master Gardener volunteers are individuals with an interest in both gardening and volunteer service. If you want to learn more about growing plants in the foothills, are willing to attend training one day a week for 12 weeks, and have the desire and time to commit 40 hours of volunteer service, this program may be for you.

This spring the Polk County Center of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service will offer its 13th Master Gardener class. Master Gardeners will get training on topics such as lawn care, tree and shrub identification and care and how to produce quality fruits and vegetables. The individuals involved must also possess an interest in sharing their gardening knowledge with others.

You do not have to be an experienced gardener to participate. An application process will be used to help choose the local Master Gardener volunteers. If selected, you will attend special Master Gardener classes taught and coordinated by John Vining of the Polk County Extension Center. This year’s class will have room for 12 participants and will meet on Thursdays.

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A fee is charged for the program to offset the cost of a large Master Gardener manual. This manual is packed full of horticultural information and becomes the personal property of each Master Gardener.

Program participants will receive a minimum of 40 hours of instruction on all aspects of gardening. In addition, a few special field trips will be planned to better inform the future extension volunteers.

After the training is finished, graduates of the program are expected to volunteer at least 40 hours of work back to the local extension horticulture programs. This can be done in a variety of ways from answering garden questions by phone, to working with community garden projects during normal business hours.

Classes will be scheduled for each Thursday and are expected to begin in mid-March. The deadline for applications is Friday, Feb. 18 at 5 p.m.

To receive an application or to learn more about the training dates, come by or call the Polk County Extension Center at 828-894-8218.