GROWING INTO A MASTER GARDENER

Gardening is a good idea.

The more people garden the better things will get.

...Growing vegetables as well as flowers on the grounds of the Wisconsin capitol. photo credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/beautifulcataya/4757484321/sizes/l/in/photostream/

These are the kinds of thoughts taking root as I wrap up my 6-month basic Master Gardener Volunteer training program.  (see my post on master gardening )

I’ve been to all 12 3-hour classes, and left every one with my head spinning from the amount of gardening information power point planted in my brain.  I have completed about a third of the 36 volunteer hours I will need to amass this year.

My next task is the daunting, take-home certification exam, and I don’t doubt that the test will prove a good learning tool as well as I refresh my memory

  • on the soils and composting lecture from March to answer a question about cation           exchange capacity   (CEC)
  • on the plant taxonomy and anatomy lecture to detail characteristics of monocot plants
  • on the intro to insects lecture to answer questions about which insects vector what   diseases
  • on the lecture on annual plants to remember which cultivars are usually resistant to powdery mildew.

I am not without resources as I tackle this test.  The massive training manual must weigh three pounds.  The stack of fact-filled hand outs has grown with each class, and the list of official websites to which we have been guided will be invaluable in tackling the test and an endless stream of questions about gardening that keep cropping up as I see what I can grow.

...Growing the next generation of gardeners may be the best crop of all. photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/derrypubliclibrary/3771779845/sizes/l/

The goal of the program is that I will not only be able to help myself, but be a help to others looking to green their thumbs, and I am ready to have a go at it.  There are more classes to take, garden tours to follow, newsletters to peruse.

Signing up for the Master Gardener Volunteer Training Program is one of the best things I have done this year.

I urge anyone who wants to dig into their gardening a little deeper to find a Master Gardener program in your area.  You will not only plug into a font of information, but you will connect with others who love to play in the dirt as much as you do.

Sign up soon, and bring a friend.

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