Near record temperatures make it difficult to think about gardening this time of year. Nevertheless, it is time to dust off the gardening books, warm the brain and head to class. If you have an interest in gardening and love to share knowledge with others, the Extension Master Gardener program might be for you.
The EMG program is a unique blend of learning and sharing. K-State Research and Extension-Douglas County provides horticultural training in all areas of home horticulture. In return, we ask that each EMG trainee volunteer time participating in Douglas County Extension horticulture programs.
Participants receive 39 hours of training. Topics cover all the basic areas of home horticulture. Instructors are K-State professors, local gardening experts and a staff of cooperating agencies. Subjects studied include plant structure, growing fruits and vegetables, flower gardening, lawn care, insect and disease control, indoor gardening, wildlife damage control and prevention, landscape management and design, and much more.
Training sessions take place at the Douglas County Extension Office, 2110 Harper St. Classes are held on Tuesdays beginning March 4 and run through May 27. They begin at 9 a.m. and end by 4 p.m. Educational talks are conducted in the morning and outdoor volunteer/learning activities take place in the afternoon. There is a $75 charge for the class that covers the cost of materials needed to participate.
Volunteers will take part in a variety of gardening activities that benefit the community as well as families, individuals and themselves. These include answering telephone questions on a Horticulture Hotline, maintaining a number of demonstration gardens that are used as outdoor classrooms, holding sick plant clinics at the local Farmers Market, giving presentations to organizations as part of a speakers bureau, and a whole lot more. Last year, 51 active EMGs donated to the Douglas County community almost 4,000 hours of time and energy.
If you wish to become one of the 20 new trainees for the Extension Master Gardener volunteer program, call the Douglas County Extension Center at 843-7058 and request an application. Completed applications are due by Feb. 14.
-- Bruce Chladny is horticulture agent at K-State Research and Extension-Douglas County. For more information, call him at 843-7058 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.