The early part of the year tends to be less eventful than much of the rest of the year. The weather is too cold to go outside and do much gardening and we tend to have to stay inside and find other ways to occupy our time. However, this is a great time of the year to get some education, such as attending the Extension Master Gardener Program.
The Nebraska Extension Master Gardener program is a horticulture related volunteer training program based in many counties throughout the state. It has been part of University of Nebraska- Lincoln Extension since 1976. Master Gardener volunteers are trained by UNL Extension faculty and staff. They contribute time as volunteers working with their local Extension office to provide horticulture-related information to their community. Participants are required to complete 40 hours of training and 40 hours of volunteer service throughout the first two years of their involvement in the program. Master Gardener volunteers retain their certification through 10 hours of annual training and 20 hours of volunteering each year.
Each year the Master Gardener program is held throughout the state, including in Gage County. The programs are held from 6:30-9:00pm on Tuesday nights at the Gage County Extension Office. This year the programs run from January 27-March 17. The schedule for the classes is as follows:
- January 27, Orientation with Nicole Stoner
- February 3, Waterwise Landscapes and Residential Rain Gardens with Kelly Feehan from Platte County Extension
- February 10, Pruning Deciduous and Evergreen Trees and Shrubs with Kim Todd from UNL
- February 17, Insects: Beneficials in the Garden and Landscape and Vegetable Insect Pests with Natalia Bjorklund from Dodge County Extension and Nicole Stoner
- February 24, Wildlife Damage Management with Dennis Ferraro from UNL
- March 3, Technology in the Garden and Landscape Photography for Beauty and Diagnostics with Terri James and Jim Kalisch from UNL
- March 10, Preparing for Emerald Ash Borer: Identification, Management, and Treatment Options and Tree Planting Selections Now and Post EAB with Laurie Stepanek and Amy Seiler from the Nebraska Forest Service
- March 17, Topic to be determined by the class with Nicole Stoner
This class will additionally be provided in Wilber following the same schedule on Wednesday afternoons from 1-3:30pm. It will run from February 4-March 25 at the Saline County Extension Office.
The cost of the Master Gardener program is $160 for the first year, which includes a book, t-shirt, and nametag. For returning Master Gardeners the cost is just $10.