County extension service offers master gardener class this fall

Friday, September 7, 2012

Can't tell a daisy from a daylily? A rose from a redbud? An iris from an igloo? A zinnia from a zucchini?

Anyone who has a passion for learning more about horticulture science and gardening and is eager to share that knowledge with others in the community might want to take Saline County Extension's Master Gardener Class this fall.

The course begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9, according to a news release from the extension service.

Classes will meet twice each week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 6 to 9 p.m. The class will take a break for the week of Halloween and will end Nov. 20.

The cost for the class, which includes the Master Gardener Core Manual, membership in the Saline County and Missouri Master Gardener organizations and a soil test, is $135 for those who register by Friday, Oct. 5.

After that date, the cost is $145. A limited number of scholarships are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Master Gardener Mark McRoberts of Malta Bend said the class is not for the casual gardener or students interested in learning only how to pot their own plants.

The class emphasizes the science of gardening and focuses on practical applications. A college degree is not required.

"It's a science-based class," he said. "It's the equivalent of college-level horticulture information."

"This is the good stuff," he added. "It's not just hamburger. This is prime steak in the horticultural world."

Course topics include plants and the environment, soils, insects, pesticide safety, vegetables and several others.

Beyond the class itself, master gardener graduates are expected to volunteer 30 hours to horticultural education or projects in the first year after graduation.

To maintain master gardener certification, graduates must spend at least 20 volunteer hours and attend six hours of continuing education annually.

Projects sponsored by Saline County Master Gardeners include landscape plans for the courthouse, the historical Native American garden in Van Meter State Park and the atrium gardens at Fitzgibbon Hospital

Class size is limited. For more information or to register, contact Saline County Extension Center at 660-886-6908.

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