By KELLY HECKAMAN
Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Purdue Extension Kosciusko County
WARSAW — Looking for something interesting and exciting to do this fall on Tuesday evenings? Do you enjoy working in the garden? How about volunteering? Do you want to help teach others about horticulture and grow beautiful gardens and plants?
If so, then the Master Gardener program is for you. During this program you can learn all about horticulture: plant science, plant nutrition, soils, pesticides, insect pests, vegetables, flowers, fruits, lawns and much more.
This fall, the first class meeting will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15. The first class will serve as an introduction. During this time class materials will be distributed and an opportunity exists to meet current members of the program. The regular classes start Tuesday, Sept. 23 and continue until Dec. 8. Sessions will be from 6-9 p.m. in Warsaw at the Purdue Extension Office located in the County Annex at 202 W Main St.
County and state horticulture specialists and current master gardeners will provide the instruction. The early bird fee for this training is $140 per individual or $200 per couple if paid by Aug. 28. From Aug. 29 to Sept. 15 the fee is $165 per individual or $225 per couple. This includes the cost for program maintenance, supplies, one soil test and reference materials. These materials are yours to keep.
Participants are expected to attend all the class sessions, take a final examination, and then complete 36 hours of volunteer service to receive a master gardener certificate.
The volunteer commitment can be fulfilled by helping the extension service teach other gardeners by giving talks to community organizations, plant clinics, staffing fair booths and similar services. Participants are free to decide what area of service they want to work in to obtain volunteer hours.
The master gardener program is one way that the Purdue Cooperative Extension Service puts knowledge to work and helps people grow throughout Indiana. This volunteer program helps gardeners grow by providing them with intensive training in horticultural principles. Participants, in turn, share their knowledge by providing volunteer leadership and service to their communities.
Applicants should realize this is not a credit gardening course for the general public. Candidates should be interested in educating others in the community about gardening, willing to work to achieve educational goals of Purdue Extension, and above all, have a willingness and ability to communicate and cooperate with others in group settings to achieve those goals. Potential applicants may be interviewed to determine their level of interest in the program.
Are you interested in becoming a master gardener or have any questions? If so, contact the Kosciusko County Extension Office at (574) 372-2340 or stop by the county annex building at 202 W Main St., to get an application packet or visit the county website and click on the current events.
Applications are due Aug. 28.