Classes to begin for Master Gardener Program

Friday, November 8, 2013

The University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is accepting applications for the Master Gardener Program in Mississippi and Craighead Counties.

The horticulture education includes classroom time, tours and demonstrations. Areas to be covered are soil testing/preparation, plant propagation, pesticide, fertilizer, vegetable, ornamental, and container gardening, pruning, weed identification, water gardens, irrigation, turf grasses, fruit and nut trees, etc.

The next class will be Saturday, Jan. 18, and 25; Feb. 1, 8, and 15, at the Jonesboro Extension office from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The fee is $65 which includes supplies, lunch and snacks.

For more information contact the Mississippi County Extension office at (870) 762-2075; or the Jonesboro Extension Office.

The Master Gardener Program has a history dating back to 1972 originating Snohomish County, Washington, when the extension agent could not handle the volume of calls from the growing number of "urban" farmers in his area. The concept of a group of trained volunteers with the specific goal of assisting the farm advisor was contemplated. A core group of interested gardeners was recruited and trained by the local land grant university cooperative extension office to meet the need.

The state of Arkansas adopted the Master Gardener program in 1988 in four counties and it now exists in over half of Arkansas' seventy-five counties.

Jason Osborn, Mississippi County Extension Agent, served in Crittenden County for nine years where he worked with the Master Gardener program.

"It is a great program and it is good for the communities to have the trained volunteers to work on projects to benefit and beautify their communities," Osborn said. "We welcome people with horticultural skills, a willingness to learn and a desire to help others become Master Gardeners."

The master Gardener Program conducted by the University of Arkansas is open to all people.

Master Gardeners volunteer to do work related to horticulture.

More information on becoming a Master Gardener is available from the local county extension agents.

There are opportunities available for Master Gardeners in their communities, counties, or schools.

"We have a lot of citizens in the area that would make great candidates for the Master Gardener program," Osborn said. "Through the program they will have the opportunity to share their knowledge and pass down their gardening skills to the next generation."

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