Ever wondered what it takes to become a Master Gardener? I've been one since 2002 and just love it. A new class of Master Gardeners is trained on even-numbered years and the coordinators for the WSU/Spokane County Master Gardener program are currently accepting applications. The deadline is Oct. 31, 2013.
Here's how it works:
The training involves both classroom and online learning and covers all sorts of gardening topics: botany; soil types; composting; plant identification; growing vegetables, berries and tree fruits; and integrated pest management are but a few examples. There will be quizzes on each module and a final exam. Beginning in January, the classroom sessions will be held on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
After the training, interns work one 3 1/2-hour shift per month in the plant clinic which is located at Spokane County Extension, 222 N. Havana St. The plant clinic is open from March through October each year, and Master Gardeners are expected to volunteer 20 hours in the clinic during that time. The clinic is where clients bring in samples of plant problems or call in with gardening questions. I always learn new things during my monthly shifts!
They are also required to put in 20 hours annually of volunteer time in areas of the Master Gardener's interest. For example, Master Gardeners staff information booths at events like plant sales, the county fair, the Garden Expo, and the Home and Garden Show. Some MG's volunteer their time on committees that organize the annual Garden Fair, plant sale digs, after-school programs, or the adaptive gardening program.
After an intern's first year, all Master Gardeners are required to complete 10 hours of continuing education annually.
One of my favorite things about the Master Gardener program is that I can volunteer in areas that are my specialty or interest. No one ever tells me what I going to put my time into, so that's what makes it so fun. It's a great bunch of folks who all love gardening and who bring different areas of expertise to the table.
To learn more, and to find the application online, click here.