If you have an interest in gardening and would like to volunteer in your community, consider joining the Iowa Master Gardener program. Whether you are a long-term veteran of gardening or a novice, you are welcome to join. The Boone County Extension Office will be joining efforts with the Story County Extension Office and offering the class this fall at Reiman Gardens on the beautiful Iowa State University Campus. Classes begin on September 11, 2014 and run Tuesday and Thursday evenings through November 4. Registrations are due September 5 and the registration cost for the class will be $195 per student. There is also a non-volunteer option available for $550 per person.
This year’s classes include the following topics; soils, turfgrass management, vegetables, plant pathology and entomology, perennials, animal ecology, integrated plant management, landscape trees and shrubs, along with fruit culture and home landscape design.
The program provides selected volunteers training on many aspects of gardening. In exchange for training, Master Gardeners share their time and knowledge on approved projects within their local communities. Training consists of 40 hours of Web-based broadcasting and face-to-face instruction at extension offices and on the ISU campus. After training, participants must complete a one-year Master Gardener internship consisting of 40 hours of volunteer service. Additional volunteer hours and ongoing training are required in subsequent years to maintain the Master Gardener status.
Since 1979, the Iowa Master Gardener program has trained over 9000 people. Master Gardeners are highly visible volunteers in their counties. Master Gardeners may work at local gardens, schools, nursing homes, or other community beautification or education projects. Master Gardeners answer questions on the radio, give presentations at gardening seminars, and discuss plants at local plant sales. You might talk with Master Gardeners on the phone or via email or at booths at a local farmer’s market, county fairs, or home and garden shows. The Master Gardener program is unique both for its community emphasis and because it directly utilizes the broad research-based resources of Iowa State University.
Please consider Master Gardeners when seeking credible information about home gardening in Iowa. And if you are interested in becoming an Iowa Master Gardener, contact the Boone County Extension Office to find out more information about training in your area.
While spring seems far away, it is this time of year to plan your garden and educate yourself so that you are prepared when spring does arrive. Plan ahead and take part in the upcoming Master Gardener class. For additional information and registration forms, please contact the Boone County Extension Office located at 603 Story Street in Boone or phone 515-432-3882. You may also visit the Boone County Extension office on the web site at www.extension.iastate.edu/boone.