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Train to become an OSU Master Gardener

Would you like to learn more about gardening, plants and insects? Do you like to work with people? Do you want to improve your gardening skills? Do you like to share your gardening experiences? Then the Oregon State University Extension Service Master Gardener program might be right for you. The training is open to everyone with an interest in gardening.

OSU Master Gardener training is offered one time each year from mid-January to the end of March in Hood River County. The cost of the 11-week training is $150 and includes the cost of Sustainable Gardening Reference Handbook (a 500-page resource manual) and all classroom materials. Scholarships are available.

Classes are held on consecutive Wednesday evenings and every other Saturday beginning Jan. 15 and ending March 26. Evening classes are from 6-9 p.m. Saturday classes begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m. with an hour lunch break.

The program consists of two parts: Part one is classroom training; Part two is continuing education volunteering in plant clinics and extending home gardening information to others in the community. Both parts must be completed to become a certified OSU Master Gardener.

Becoming a Master Gardener requires a time commitment to attend training and to volunteer extending home gardening information to others in the community.

Part one: Classroom training consists of 63 hours of training. A sample of gardening topics to be covered during the training are: basic botany, entomology, pruning, vegetable gardening, plant pathology, plant problem diagnosis, integrated pest management, and pesticide safety, as well as other gardening topics.

Part two: Learning and volunteer hours. As with any other learning process, hands-on experience is always beneficial and quite fun. In addition to the 63 hours of training, 55 hours of volunteer time extending home gardening information to others in the community is required. This involves volunteering to work in plant clinics at the Extension Office in Hood River or at other plant clinic locations during the summer.

Gardening questions from the local community are researched and answered at plant clinics. You can volunteer at other projects such as The Learning Garden demonstration area at the OSU Extension Office in Hood River, the Naturescape garden at Hood River Care Center, the Xeriscape Garden at Hood River Library, One Community Health Community Garden, the annual spring plant sale, the biennial garden tour, educational display at Hood River County Fair and teaching gardening workshops and classes to the community.

These are just some of the opportunities for Master Gardeners to provide continuing education for themselves and provide educational opportunities in gardening related subjects for the community. These activities serve to reinforce your classroom training and will provide you with “on-the-job” gardening education and experience. As a Master Gardener, you will work and play with some of the most talented and interesting gardeners in the community.

If you would like to apply to take the OSU Master Gardener training program in Hood River County, applications will be available from now through Dec. 13. You can receive an application by calling 541-386-3343 or by stopping by the OSU Extension Office at 2990 Experiment Station Road in Hood River.

Applications are also available for downloading at: http://bit.ly/I4wl3N. Click on 2014 Central Gorge Master Gardener training.

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For more information contact Elizabeth Daniel, Master Gardener program assistant, at 541-386-3343, ext. 257, or elizabeth.daniel@oregon-state.edu.

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