Register By Feb. 15th For 12- Week Education/Service Program
By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
With snowy weather just now besieging us and frigid temperatures nipping at our noses, it is not the season conducive to asking ‘How does your garden grow”. However, it’s not too early to begin thinking “Spring”! And certainly, the WVU Extension Service is doing just that while it makes preparations to begin this year’s Master Gardener program.
If you’re an avid gardener or perhaps just want to learn more to improve your skills, this educational/service program may be for you! Samantha Cogle, WVU Extension Service’s Agriculture and Natural Resource agent, is coordinating the program for both Harrison and Marion County residents.
“Attendees learn some of the science behind gardening basics during the 12-week course. There is a wide array of topics,” she said, “… everything from botany to entomology (garden pests), soil composition, vegetable gardening, ornamental landscape design, pruning and propagation, etc. For some, it may be all new to them, and for others, it is a way to broaden what they already know.”
Each week it is a new topic. Cogle herself will provide some of the teaching, but featured speakers will also be included – specialists from Morgantown and from the Department of Agriculture.
She said that participation varies, but last year there were about ten who enrolled in the classes in Harrison County. Enrollees are also a mix of all ages as well as skill levels – some being gardeners with some experience and others with not much gardening knowledge at all but who are eager to learn. All participants interested in becoming a Certified Master Gardener, however, must realize that it is more than just gardening education; they must understand that community service is also part of the program and they agree to offer 40 hours of service through either helping with community gardens, participating in the Spring Clinic that is offered in May, beautification projects, etc. when they initially become certified.
“Becoming a Certified Master Gardener reflects not only their level of gardening knowledge but also their sense of pride in volunteerism,” she added.
Classes will be held on Tuesday evenings from 5 until 9 p.m. Because the program is designed for those in both Harrison and Marion counties, the first half of the classes will be held at the Harrison County Recreation Center and the latter half of the classes will be offered at the Winfield Community Building in Marion County. The fee for the course is $95, which covers training, a Master Gardener manual, all handouts and class materials.
Anyone who is interested is invited to attend the first meeting which will include a discussion and full explanation of the program. Cogle said it is purely informational and will give those attending time to decide if they are truly interested prior to paying the class fee. This meeting will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 19th at the Harrison County Recreation Center.
If you are interested, please contact the Harrison County Extension Office at 304-624-8650 to request an application or to ask for further details.