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Do you have what it takes to be a Master Gardener?
Cold winter weather notwithstanding, if you want to enhance your gardening skills, now’s your chance
A group of OSU Master Gardener volunteers work in a demonstration garden outside of the OSU Extension office, in Prineville.
January 03, 2013
With all the cold weather and snow on the ground, Crook County residents still have to wait a while before they start their garden.
However, they don’t have to wait to improve on their gardening skills.
Later this month, the Oregon State University Extension Service for Deschutes County will once again offer training for the Master Gardener program.
For the past 31 years, the class has focused on providing people with in-depth training on gardening while focusing on community service.
“The program is really intended for people who enjoy gardening or have a passion about gardening, and have an interest in volunteering in their community,” said Central Oregon program manager Amy Jo Detweiler.
Participants spend 60 hours of January through April in the classroom learning about gardening topics and subjects.
“You are learning about soil, or you are learning about insects, or you are learning about weeds,” Detweiler said, “but you are still learning how to take this information and bring it back to your community.”
After the classroom portion of the program, students move on to the hands-on portion of the Master Gardener training.
“Part of it will be answering gardening questions (for others) and part of it will be potentially working in a demonstration garden or a community garden,” Detweiler said, “or giving a presentation to a group.”
Prineville resident Jason Carr initially applied for the Master Gardener program because of his farming background and a long-time interest in the activity.
“I felt that if I wanted to be successful, I’d like to have more knowledge about plants, soils, insects, and all of those things,” he said.
Carr explained that the Master Gardener program provides a more comprehensive education on gardening than one might gain from reading books or casually questioning fellow green thumbs.
“You are essentially learning the nuts and bolts of everything you kind of knew as you learned from your parents and family members,” he said. “It helps you to understand everything from gardening in Central Oregon’s climate to the soil health and types of plants that thrive well here.”
Despite the extensive knowledge provided by the Master Gardener program, they welcome everyone from the novice to the experienced green thumb.
“We have a range of people apply for the program,” Detweiler said, adding that there are no prerequisites that applicants must satisfy.
After completing the program, students receive their Master Gardener certification. To maintain that certification, they must volunteer for a set amount of hours each year, and put in some class time as well.
“It’s a win-win because the individual learns a lot more about gardens for themselves,” Detweiler said, “and then also they are able to help the community answer those garden questions too.”
Applications for the OSU Master Gardener program in Central Oregon will be accepted until Jan. 9. Cost is $275 and includes tuition, text books, and supplies. Partial scholarships are available.
Program starts with 10 classes that meet from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., every Saturday, from Jan. 19 to April 6, at the Oregon State University Cascades Hall, on the Central Oregon Community College Bend campus. Hands-on training continues through September.
To apply, call 541-548-6088, or visit http:// extension.oregonstate.edu/Deschutes.