McCOOK, Nebraska -- Several local individuals are successfully completing the educational requirements to become certified Master Gardeners. These volunteers have participated in live and recorded trainings on horticulture related topics since early February. They are now engaging in community projects to fulfill their volunteer hours to complete their certification.
The Master Gardener program is a horticulture-related volunteer training program based in many counties and has been part of UNL Extension since 1976. Master Gardener volunteers are trained by UNL Extension faculty and staff. They contribute time as volunteers working through their local Extension office to provide horticulture-related information to their community. More specifically, they provide education about sustainable horticultural practices.
Participants are required to complete 40 hours of training and 40 hours of volunteer service during the first two years of their involvement in the program.
Master Gardener volunteers retain their certification through annual training and volunteering. Some of the topics that have been covered are: vegetable gardening, weed basics, managing herbaceous perennials, soil properties and recommendations, plant identification, plant disease diagnostics, tree management, rain barrel construction and uses, among many more.
Master Gardeners will be available for consultation, free of charge, on Wednesday afternoons from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Friday's all day beginning May 11. Master Gardener volunteers will be available through the end of September. Any citizen with a horticulture related question is encouraged to take advantage of our MG's expertise, though Extension welcomes your questions anytime. We also encourage and welcome any invitations, ideas, or suggestions for community gardening projects that these volunteers can be involved with to obtain their volunteer hours.
The University of Nebraska--Lincoln Extension office is located in the Ag Complex on the Red Willow County Fairgrounds, 1400 West 5th St., McCook. The Master Gardeners may also be contacted by phone during those hours at 345-3390 or toll free at 877-674-6947.