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Extension Report

Master Gardeners are on the grow again<BR>

By STEVE CASTAGNOLI

Horticulture Agent, OSU Extension

I want to take this opportunity to introduce Elizabeth Daniel. Elizabeth is Program Assistant to the OSU Extension Service Master Gardener Program.

Elizabeth came on board in the Extension Office in March 2001. She and her husband, Jim Deaton, moved to Mosier in 1983. They both worked in Engineering for the US Forest Service. Jim retired in 1986 and Elizabeth in 1997.

They moved from a short, 90-day growing season in Northwest Montana and Eastern Oregon to a much longer growing season in the Columbia Gorge. With its different growing season, windy dry climate, hard rocky soil, and very hungry deer, gardening in the Gorge has been a great learning experience for them.

Elizabeth knows the Master Gardener Program quite well, having joined the Columbia Gorge Master Gardener group in 1997. She has been very active in the volunteer program and is the editor of the Columbia Gorge Master Gardener Newsletter. She was Wasco County Master Gardener of the Year in 1998. Elizabeth's garden was shown on the 2000 Garden Tour.

Elizabeths main duty as Program Assistant is to work with me in supervising and managing the activities of Master Gardeners in Hood River County. Additionally, she provides technical backup in home horticulture for Master Gardener volunteers. In 2001, Hood River County Master Gardeners provided educational information to over 1500 individuals at local events, such as the Hood River Earth Day Celebration, Hood River Saturday Market, Hood River County Fair, the Annual Garden Tour, and Extension Office Plant Clinics. Master Gardeners also provided educational programs to area garden clubs, Head Start, and 4-H clubs.

Examples of Master Gardener activities include: staffing plant clinics held at the Hood River County and Wasco County Extension Offices; staffing plant clinics held at the Saturday Market in Hood River; and participating in Master Gardener projects.

In the past several years, projects have included an Annual Garden Tour of Mid-Columbia gardens, the Seeds and Soils program in local public schools, the Hood River Care Center Naturescape project, information and landscape displays at the Hood River County Fair, and Rorick House Gardens.

The Extension Service is currently recruiting for the 2002 class of Master Gardener trainees in the Mid-Columbia. If you want to learn more about plants and gardening, enjoy sharing your knowledge with other people, are eager to participate in a practical and intensive training program, and have time to attend training and complete volunteer work, you should consider becoming an OSU Master Gardener.

The Master Gardener Program is an Oregon State University Extension program that helps Oregon gardeners learn more about the art and science of growing and taking care of plants. It enables these trained volunteers to extend gardening information to their community through educational outreach programs. Currently, more than 25 Oregon counties have active Master Gardener programs.

In the Mid-Columbia Region, the Master Gardener Program is administered jointly by OSU Extension in Wasco and Hood River Counties. To become an OSU Master Gardener, you must complete the training program, pass a final examination following training, and volunteer a specified number of hours of public service through the Master Gardener Program.

In 2002, the training program will run from Feb. 13 through March 27. The series of seven weekly full-day classes, held on consecutive Wednesdays, provides a practical course in plant science and horticulture.

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The next round of Master Gardener classes will include:

An introduction to botany; cultural techniques of growing fruit trees, landscape trees, and lawns; pest identification and control methods; pesticide safety; plant propagation; and diagnosis of plant problems.

Classes will be held at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in The Dalles. The $30 fee includes a copy of Sustainable Gardening, a comprehensive 500-page handbook for Master Gardeners in Oregon and Washington.

Once you have completed the training and passed the final exam, you will be required to volunteer 42 hours of your time over the following seven months extending gardening information to other gardeners in the community through various Master Gardener activities. You will work with your local OSU Extension Agent to maximize your volunteer time.

For more information about the Master Gardener program, or to request an application for enrollment in the upcoming Master Gardener training program, contact the OSU Extension Office in Hood River at 541-386-3343 or in The Dalles at 541-296-5494.

The deadline for applications is Jan. 28. For more information about gardening in general, visit the OSU Extension and Experiment Station Communications web site at:

eesc.orst.edu

Follow the links to Gardening information.

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