Informational sessions are scheduled Sept. 7 and 21 for anyone interested in becoming a Master Gardener.
The two Saturday sessions will take place from noon to 1 p.m. at the University of California Cooperative Extension Office, 2145 Wardrobe Road in Merced.
Merced County Master Gardeners are a group of volunteers whose mission involves dispensing research-based gardening information and advice to Merced County residents. The sessions will provide an overview of what is involved in becoming a Master Gardener, including in-depth information about subjects taught during training. A light lunch also will be served.
Classes begin in January and end in early April. Subjects covered include tree and lawn care, home vegetable gardening, water management and conservation, home orchards, weeds, plant pathology, soils, fertilizers, composting, insects, plant propagation, plus much more. Classes are scheduled from 2-6 p.m. on Wednesdays, with two Saturday sessions slated Jan. 18 and March 7, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the UCCE site.
“I love, love gardening but had never received any formal training,” said Master Gardener Susan Nix. “Over time, I experienced gardening problems, but I had no resources to help solve those problems.
Not only have I now received comprehensive training, but I also have a large contingent of fellow Master Gardeners to lean on and with whom I can share ideas.”
New Master Gardener Cathy Dunn learned about the program through a friend. “She has been a Master Gardener for five years and the difference in her landscaping and gardens was amazing. I finished my training in May and it has more than fulfilled my expectations,” she said.
Master Gardener Joe Hodge enjoys the educational and public outreach aspects of the program. “I enjoy talking to the public at Farmers Markets and demonstrations. I also take the information I have learned and pass it along to my grandsons and other young people,” he noted.
There are no pre-requisites and no gardening experience is required to enter the program, though curiosity and a willingness to work with the public are important characteristics of a successful Master Gardener. Applications to the class are due Oct. 25 at the UCCE Office.