Winter 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 Nebraska Extension since 1976. Master Gardener volunteers are trained by UNL Extension faculty and staff and then volunteer in their community. 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 26-March 8. The schedule for the classes is as follows:
- January 26– Orientation & Landscaping in the Shade – Nicole Stoner
- February 2– Selection and Care of Evergreen Trees and Shrubs – Todd Faller
- February 9– Putting Perennials to Work – Scott Evans
- February 16– Basic Botany/Plant Identification – Stacy Adams
- February 23– Weed Identification and Control – Natalia Bjorklund
- March 1– Polarizing Yard & Garden Issues – Kelly Feehan, Tamra Jackson-Ziems & Nicole Stoner
- March 8– Efficient Landscape Irrigation – John Fech
This class will additionally be provided in Wilber following the same schedule on Wednesday afternoons from 1-3:30pm. It will run from January 27-March 9 at the Saline County Extension Office.
For volunteer service, most of the Master Gardeners in the area participate in management of many of the gardens in your community. Look around the landscapes in public areas the next time you drive around town, there are signs to show which landscapes the Gage or Saline County Master Gardeners help to manage. They do a great job and really help keep our communities looking nice.
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. Please contact me at the Gage County Extension office at 402-223-1384 to sign up for the program. The deadline for enrollment into the class is January 15, 2016.